I went to a Chinese New Year open house recently. There are only two reasons I go there every year: the food and the ang pow (red packets). It is Dee’s rich friends and I do not know anybody there.
I do not enjoy going to parties or events where I don’t know anybody. Dee, much as I love him, is hopeless as company because he forgets his family when his friends are around. He wouldn’t bother if I have a place to sit next to him at the table, knowing how shy and antisocial I am. He wouldn’t even call me to sit next to him when there’s an empty seat later, knowing that I was sitting at the next table alone with strangers.
You might say, I’m a big girl now and I shouldn’t be clinging to my dad. I should mingle! Like how this uncle (in Malaysia, any male or female adult who isn’t related is also called uncle or auntie) chided me for reading my book at the open house that day. He sarcastically asked, are you praying? And me, being rather slow, said uhh, no. Then he ordered me to put away the bloody book and talk to people.
I found that very offensive. I recognise him because he goes to the open house every year too, but I don’t think I’m that close to him to be talked to like that. Also, who was he to order me like that since he’s not even the host?
By the way, newsflash: in my blog, in certain places around the Internet, I am one of the most friendly people you can ever know. Outside, I’m so shy and timid you wouldn’t believe that I can actually talk that much in my blog.
You might say it’s not a good ‘attitude’ to have, because as human we are social creatures and are bound to be in some social occasion or another, therefore I must develop some social skills.
Now see, I am going to disagree with two points.
One, I don’t think I should mingle for the sake of mingling. These people are all here for the food too and perhaps for the hosts, not to get to know me. And even if they showed interest in me, it’s pretty pointless because I have nothing in common with these uncles and aunties. They all rather talk to each other and do actually have things to talk about with each other. I mean, I don’t even see these people except this one time every year, so really, I don’t see the need to bust my gut trying to look friendly and sociable when really, I am not.
Two, I have different objectives for attending the open house. I went there solely for the food and to collect some ang pow. I did not go there for point number one. So since I’m very clear of what I want out of the open house, I don’t see why you should be bothered if I was reading a book while eating my bowl of ais kacang. What does it matter to you if I’m behaving in a terribly gauche manner? What should it bother you when it doesn’t bother me?
See, I know I’m shy. It used to bother me that I’m shy because people see it as some sort of character flaw. In some ways it is not an advantage to a situation, but it is me. I am shy, shy is me. And honestly, I’m okay with it. I don’t want to act sociable because people want me to be less shy. I don’t want to be sociable with people I would only see once a year or never after that, because I rather be really sociable with people who know me and can appreciate what I have to say.
So yeah, don’t take me to parties.