Recently, my bf commented that he thinks I still have an overwhelming tendency to behave receptively, rather than actively. I took this as a criticism, although I suppose it doesn’t have to be taken as one. Probably the fact that I interpreted it that way says more about me and my attitudes to receptivity.
After struggling for a long time to understand how I felt about the whole active/receptive thing, I think I’ve gone so far in the opposite direction that I now think it’s bad to be receptive.
Of course, I don’t really think that on a rational level, but my knee-jerk reaction suggests otherwise.
I think my bf’s comment bothered me especially because I feel like I have redressed the balance a lot and I am much more likely to take the initiate than I used to be. In fact, I would say that these days it’s my default behaviour.
However, his comment was in response to situations when we’re together with his friends and for various reasons I don’t contribute much to the conversation, those reasons being: that I’m by nature more introvert than extrovert, I’m not that interested or knowledgeable in the topics they discuss, and the whole thing is in a foreign language that I’m not entirely confident in speaking.
My bf’s understandable response to my excuses was that if I’m happy with the situation as it is then that’s fine. But he got the impression that I wasn’t entirely happy and he’s probably right.
I am a pretty sociable person, despite sometimes being shy with people I don’t know too well, and it does bother me when I don’t feel like I can really relax and enjoy myself in a social situation.
The comment about receptivity came up in the context that I don’t have to just passively let other people choose the conversation topics and go along with whatever they’re talking about; I can introduce my own topics of conversation: things that are interesting to me. Also, he suggested that I can always switch to English if trying to speak Hebrew is proving to be a barrier to me joining in the conversation.
I agree with what he says. I’m not really happy with the situation as it stands. However, it is hard to go against my nature and be more extrovert and initiate conversations, especially when I don’t feel it would be appropriate to always do it in English (and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with it either). I guess this is really what this goal is about: getting over that fear of putting myself out there in challenging social situations and not being afraid of looking silly. It’s hard work and it takes a lot of energy but ultimately I think it is worth making the effort.