We all in our own way make an impact on others, which is why I have such a hard time believing any of us is forgettable.
I’ve always considered myself a quirky person. Most likely due to the fact that at some point or another during a conversation, I blurt out nonsense. This is why I like to think (usually) that people will remember me. Either because I have an interesting back story, or because I say something so strange that it sticks out to them.
Hey, finally a benefit to having social anxiety!
So, it came as a complete shock when I walked into the massage parlor this week, that MY masseuse looked me straight in the eye and asked me: have you been here before? Say what?!
See, this was the FOURTH TIME in the span of two months that I found myself face to face with her, having a conversation.
Have you ever forgotten someone that you’ve talked to for FOUR TIMES?
I don’t think so.
And it’s not like I had plastic surgery, removed my eyebrows, or went blonde. No. Nothing about me changed.
I’ll be honest, it hurt. And it made me wonder, am I forgettable?
Because, here’s the kicker: my friend recommended me to her and I have a strong feeling that this masseuse we both go to on a regular basis remembers HER. It’s simply impossible to forget my friend. She’s that person, you know, the EXTROVERT.
And then I wondered about something else…would my friend say the same thing about me?
And lastly, does any of this matter?
Yes, and no.
If you’re at a job interview, of course, you want to stand out and be unforgettable. You want the damn job and everything that comes with it.
If you’re at a massage parlor, meh, it doesn’t matter so much (other than how much you’ll end up tipping).
The problem is if you take what you see and feel at the massage parlor, and bring it along to the job interview. You’re screwing yourself out of the job even before you walk into the room.
All this wondering I’m doing about my individuality significantly increases the chance of social anxiety tagging along in another (more important) encounter. Because here’s the thing: this masseuse planted a seed in my head that’s hard to root out. No one wants to be forgettable. Especially after running into someone FOUR times. Geez, I’m just going to keep reiterating that fact because it’s mind-blowing.
So now, I’m making it a THING in my head.
And this THING makes me feel inadequate. Boring. Plain. Unworthy.
But there is a way to break free from this train of thought. And you know, not awaken the social anxiety beast inside.
So, if you currently feel like this or at any moment in time will, here’s what you do.
Describe and follow one of these two paths (really, what I mean to say is, describe and follow the secure path). There, problem solved!
The secure and insecure paths.
SECURE PATH -> It’s on them
The idea behind taking the secure path is that you take away the power they have over you. You shift the focus back on them because THEY are the ones drawing a blank. Ultimately, it has nothing to do with you and how forgettable you are.
Create the backstory and place the burden on them.
Here’s me taking the secure path by describing my masseuse’s backstory. Heck, let’s even do several backstories for funsies.
Maria probably sees 4-5 clients a day, every day of the week. And has for years on end. At some point, she decided she didn’t want to make a connection with her clients since they were all unpredictable and eventually left town. She might even have been burned by getting too close with one. This in turn makes her oblivious to whoever lays on her table.
Maria’s had the worst week of her life. Everything fell apart at home, yet she still has to make her way to work. Damn. She hasn’t slept in weeks and couldn’t give any shit about who’s paying for a massage with her.
Maria’s one of those people I read about in psychology studies. She doesn’t remember faces very well. She has THAT syndrome.
As you can tell, you can make up an infinite amount of backstories to explain the said phenomenon of forgetfulness or any other exhibited behavior. This really works with any doubts inflicted by others.
INSECURE PATH -> It’s on you
Taking the insecure path means that you choose to believe there’s something wrong with YOU. There’s something (or nothing) about you that makes you forgettable. You’re just a sad little plain Jane, and that’s all you’ll ever be. That’s probably the nicest thing you’re saying about yourself.
Here are the other things you choose to tell yourself on this path.
#1: “Even after 3 conversations, Maria draws a blank, because let’s face it, there’s nothing exciting about me. Nothing stands out. I probably need to walk in here naked or painted like a dragon to make her remember who I am.”
#2: “I knew it. Who am I kidding? I’m always going to be seen as the quiet little mouse that no one pays attention to. Not like my friend, who seems to attract every single person she runs into. I’ll never be that cool.”
As you can see, taking the insecure path means projecting negativity onto yourself, as if you’re the problem.
At the end of the day, I’ll never know the real reason why she didn’t recognize me. What made me “forgettable”.
Just like we’ll never know why someone doesn’t like us, text us, or hires us, for example. All we can do is take control of the narrative and move on.
And what do you want to bet that taking the insecure path not only DOESN’T let you move on, but the more you find yourself on it, the more likely that you’ll actually become all those things you’re thinking? We are what we think (or was it what we eat?).
You know what I mean.
So do yourself a favor and choose the secure path every time.
As for me, I’m curious to see what session #5 will bring!