I once knew a man who would look everywhere but at you when he was talking. He would initiate a conversation, seem interested in what your response would be but his body language would tell a completely different story.
He would be constantly looking over your shoulder, wouldn’t meet your eyes and the conversation would dry up. I’m not adept at small talk anyway so any discussion was ultimately doomed. It felt as if he was just passing time with you until somebody better came along he would rather spend time with.
At the time it hurt my feelings. I was young and insecure and felt not good enough. I soon came to realise though that his pattern was repeated with other people also.
I admit it changed my opinion of him. I went from liking this person to having an unflattering opinion of him that wrote him off as shallow and unlikable.
Even today insincerity is one of my pet peeves. I can’t stand it. I can deal with the fact people may not want to interact with me. I’m not everyone’s cup of tea or coffee but if that is the case why make social overtures in the first place?
Once again however I’m convicted by the fact that the qualities I dislike in others are those that are prevalent in myself! On occasion I am insincere. I dread to think it but I know it’s true that sometimes I treat people the way that man treated me.
I have not seen this man for many years but now I am able to view those conversations more sympathetically. I can give him the benefit of the doubt. I can see that there might have been more than one scenario going on.
Perhaps this gregarious man was not as full of confidence as he appeared. Perhaps I didn’t know him as well as I thought I did. Perhaps he too suffered from insecurity and his body language was actually a result of that. If that really is the case then I empathise with him because I know the daily agony of living with insecurity and feeling everybody is good enough apart from you.