The fact of the matter is, my personality is the perfect storm of insecurity, shyness, self deprecation and confidence.
I can more clearly explain a few of the facets of my personality with a totally awesome Venn Diagram.
Okay, so let's break this down. A bit socially awkward when I meet new people, situations arise occasionally where I have difficulty engaging in conversation. If the person to whom I'm newly introduced is warm and gregarious, I have an easy time bantering and sharing clever quips. If the person is standoffish, dismissive or otherwise demonstrating traits of disinterest, I quickly clam up and lose any stream of conversation.
This probably isn't an unusual reaction for most people.
The problem is, I am actually shy and lukewarm out of the gate. This gives some folks the impression I'm aloof. That first impression couldn't be farther from the truth. (See the "bad" traits in red in the above diagram.)
With my closest relationships, I am really quite self deprecating, honest and even a bit bawdy (the good traits in blue above). I'm a brazen broad who's told a dirty joke or two and even sworn like a sailor on occasion.
Sue me. It's what happens when you work in the news business for about a decade.
An interesting thing happens, though, when you mix the company of my closest, most trusted relationships and several new faces I've never met.
The confidence and overly revealing tales that my friends enjoy have a way of sullying the impression I'm making with new company.
Some of my best loved qualities are the very traits that turn people off.
I've spent the past few years volunteering and aspiring to leadership opportunities in our community, and those experiences have given me the chance to polish my "public persona," similar to how a TV anchor has an on-air personality and one for the newsroom.
That public persona has been scrubbed down and streamlined into a caricature of myself - uber polite, fast friendliness, measured confidence.
It's the girl you see when I'm "on."
Beneath the veneer, there's still a girl who likes to sometimes say the F word and toss out double entendres with a raised eyebrow.
And more and more, only my closest allies are getting a chance to see that girl. With my trusted friends, I know they won't judge me for the things I say, do or think.
But strangers - they only get to see Miss Manners, and maybe a quiet Miss Manners, at that.
So. You want to get to know the real me? You want to get past the exterior of brief hellos and sheepish smiles?
Give me something to work with. Be open. Be a little bit gregarious.