It Sounded Good at the Time

“How ’bout that rain, huh?”

Does that sound like a good ice-breaker? I suggested someone try that last time it rained. We waited six months for some form of precipitation so it’s at least worth a comment, right?

An onlooker slightly shook his head. No, this was not sound advice. After a nine-year silence, a more interesting topic would need to breach the iceberg that has formed between “Guy” and his neighbors.

Well, fine. Maybe it was bad advice. I silently thanked God since one of my neighbors introduced herself within a month after I moved in. I remember lots of nodding and agreeing to be a Mary Kay facial model at her next meeting.

I wouldn’t want to be Guy, the Silent Neighbor. Extending yourself in conversation with people you have seen for so long, but have never spoken to sounds as delectable as going surfing in a whirlpool.

Conversations are a two-way street so I hope Guy doesn’t feel too awful about it. He’s worried they think he has something to hide, but they’re not serving up any weather comments either.

I thought about adding tips here on how to meet your neighbors. The most surprising one that I read was to place an ice pick in front of each neighbor’s front door with a small card that invites them over to break the ice and to also leave a large block of ice in front of your door.  Let’s hope no kids will spot the ice picks before the adults.

No matter what you do, it will probably be better than how I first met my next-door neighbor. I’d been living at my place for about three months without ever seeing her. After pulling into my space one day I noticed she was still in her car, parked next to mine. Panicking (I get social anxiety, it’s weird, I know), I quickly exited my car and went straight to my apartment.

Now, I did not technically run away from my neighbor – she was still sitting in her car, after all. But, I felt really awful about it anyway. What a terrible first impression, right? Of course, I was eager to make up for that, so what did I do? What was my great redeeming ice-breaker?

I stole all of her groceries. 

Just kidding! But, it may have looked like I was. She is a bit older than me and we live on the second floor, so when I noticed that she parks her car close by to carry her groceries to the foot of the stairs and then drives to her designated space which is further away, I decided to snatch (I mean pick up) her groceries and take them up the stairs for her  – all without first introducing myself.

We met after I finished and she seemed to appreciate it, but I realize that was one of my worst ideas in a while.

What if I had damaged something in one of the bags? What if she really thought I was stealing from her?

Well, we both survived the experience and are friendly now, but I won’t do something like that again without being asked. Awkwardness must have its limits, after all.

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