Schmoozing

I finished up in the shop last night at about 6pm and made my way into the city to meet with a guy I had contacted a week ago. He’s an acquaintance I’ve met up with for the occasional beer over the last few years. I first met him at a course he was running, at which I was a student. He’s one of the leading experts in the world in his field. He’s a clever man, driven in his humble way, but an introvert with a big idea he has yet to fully capitalise on. I contacted him thinking he was someone I could utilise should the job being dangled before me eventuate.

I was running late. Just as I was about to leave the new owners had popped into the shop, and I’d had to spend 10 minutes with them answering questions. I got to the bar – Transport – in the end no more than 5 minutes late. For the occasion I was wearing a collared shirt and suit jacket.

We had a beer, caught up on the news, then I set about telling him about the opportunity.

There was a whole lot in this combination of things that made me unconsciously uncomfortable. I get told I have a strong personality, but my general preference is to sit back and listen. I like to riff now and then, but for the most part I like to absorb what people are telling me. I find though when I’m with quieter people that I tend to fill the space. I become a bigger version of myself. Rather than being the natural me, I assume a role.

Now it’s perfectly understandable and occasionally necessary to assume different roles for different circumstances. What I find odd is that with introverts the parts of me that come to the fore are those the opposite of theirs. I am more extrovert sure, but also the more urbane, polished, cosmopolitan, etc, aspects of my personality push their way to the front. I feel uncomfortable even as this is happening, and will even occasionally say something sympathetic to them, as if to suggest I’m really more like you than I seem. It feels even more accentuated when the man opposite me is small and conservative in appearance – I feel my comparative size, the extra flair in my person seems highlighted.

I think this is largely self-perception. I don’t know if I actually act too much differently, and certainly it doesn’t cause problems. For the most part it is feeling.

So there’s that, and then you combine it with the fact that I’m there trying to sell a job to him. I feel like the entrepreneur, the guy on the make. I find reasons, justifications, easy words slip from my tongue.

I don’t really like trying to persuade people. I don’t think I believe in it. I have the general philosophy of take it or leave it. You want to do that, fine, come along. If not, that’s your business. The only exception to this really is when I’m trying to seduce someone, which is delightfully playful persuasion. In all other circumstances – nup, leave it to the salesmen I abhor so much.

As it happens I didn’t labour it too much. I painted a picture, speculated on best case scenarios, and told him where I saw him fitting in. I left it at that – nothing definite, so can’t do more regardless. He’s cautiously interested, should it eventuate. We catch up for another beer soon.

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