Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Three things I'm good at

At first I whined about this Reverb prompt because I am uncomfortable with talking myself up. That's unfortunate because sometimes it really is necessary, like in mid-year reviews. But I managed to come up with these three.

1. I'm a great traveler. I can pack just the right amount of clothes, mixing and matching top layers and rarely taking more than two pairs of shoes. I keep a list of essentials to check off when packing. I have all sorts of tricks such as putting my purse inside my backpack when boarding the plane so that it looks like I only have two carry-ons (backpack and rolling bag). I take a water bottle and I have a perfect one now with a Brita-like filter built in. I also am not beaten easily by jet lag. If flying to Europe, I try to take an overnight flight and sleep if I can on the plane. The first day sucks but if I make it to 8pm I'm golden for the rest of the trip. I remain calm when flights are delayed or the customs line is long. There is nothing I can do about those things, so why get my panties into a bunch over it? I learned a lot of my travel tricks from my dad, who was a pilot for TWA.

2. I am good at making people feel welcome. This is not the same thing as being good at small talk, although I'm passable at that when needed. I look at talking to people I barely or don't know as an opportunity to learn some interesting stories so I ask questions to get them started talking. It almost always works out. They feel welcome and I don't have to do as much of the talking. On rare occasions I will encounter someone who is also a question-asker and then the two of us will have a bit of a power struggle because of course you can't be rude and not answer questions politely asked of you. And you can't turn every question into a reverse question.

Great. Now you know all my secret tricks! (I will admit here that I have not always been good at this business of making conversation, but I have gotten much better at it in recent years and still could be much better but I do consider myself fairly proficient at it. I have improved my skills in this area by listening to some very good advice on the matter by my dad and my friend Catie, who coincidentally, is responsible for today's prompt.)

3. I am a good listener. This goes along with point number 2. You can't ask people probing questions if you aren't going to listen to the answers. And since I'm interested in the answers, it's not hard. Sometimes when having a conversation I am concentrating so much on what the other person is saying that I forget to have a follow-up comment after they stop speaking.

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