I just got a social ticking off. Am I a pushy failure or is she a bitch?

Dear Aunty B,

 

I went to a fundraiser last week. I had to psyche myself up to go as I hate walking into a large function where I am unlikely to know anyone.

 

I approached the first group nearest the door, which was a group of women and introduced myself. Then I asked one of the women what she did and why she was here, which is what I was taught to do in a workshop I did on social anxiety.

 

I was then told that I was pushy and it was very rude to “penetrate” a group and try to “establish a hierarchy”. Then she turned her back on me, leaving me standing there like a shag on a rock (my worst nightmare).

 

Is she a bitch, or have I failed to read the social signs once again?

 

Sam F,
Melbourne

 

 

Dear Sam,

 

It all depends on the context. If the fund raiser was for “Unemployed Mums” and you bowled up and asked a group of them what they did, then, maybe yes, that’s a touch insensitive.

 

But if it was a chamber of commerce function where you are all busily swapping business cards, then it is her – not you – who has misread the social signs.

 

No one likes to be rebuffed – and for your information, most people hate walking into a room where they don’t know anyone.

 

But you were. So what? You took a risk. You didn’t immediately talk about yourself but showed interest in the other person. So, good for you.

 

If you feel anxious next time you have to “penetrate” a large group, think of all the times you have gone into a social situation and your techniques have worked.

 

I do think that, no matter the context, she was rude. But may I make one suggestion? Before you launch immediately into the what and the why, why not try a more innocuous remark first.

 

Good luck,

 

Your Aunty B

Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch

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