Do you get nervous when meeting people?

Donkey years ago, while I was back in school doing my O levels, there was one part of the examinations where you were tested on your ability to speak. You were given a picture, describe it and then later you’ll be given a set of open questions where you are required to talk as fluidly as possible.

Class of 4E6, Bukit View Secondary

I still remember the advice that Ms Gopal, our english and literature teacher dispensed to us, the class of 4E6 :

Class! During your orals, talk as much as you can! Try not to let them prompt you because that means that you don’t have much to say!

And being the art class, as opposed to the pure science students, we were considered, and even expected to be talkative. Many of my classmates would be going about confidently. Talking? It will be easy! All you have to do is just to talk whatever bullshit that you want.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of these talkative people. Instead, I took a back seat and would just rather listen and process the information.

When the day of judgement arrived, I tried to find all the courage that I could.

O Level results

It didn’t start off well. The man who was invigilating me looked bored. He never smiled and looked stern. Already, I was feeling uncomfortable. I sat down and gave a nervous smile.

Please begin, he said listlessly.

I was freaking out. What am I supposed to say? Oh gosh, I feel so nervous! My mind is blank right now! I could not bear to look at his bored face, so I looked down in desperation.

And I saw that the invigilator had his shoe out and was dangling it around in boredom and that freaked me out even more. Am I so boring?!

When it all ended, I knew that I did extremely bad in my oral examination. A gargantuan feeling of upset was palpitating inside me and I rushed off to the empty guides room and cried my eyes out.

Now, donkey years later, I still get that feeling sometimes when I meet new people. Although of course, being much older, the years has made me grow better defences. Nevertheless, I still feel stunned when I meet people who gives that look. That is where I start to become mechanical.

I guess there are people who can’t help their body languages but I just don’t feel comfortable. I don’t feel like I can express myself well and give my opinion freely without feeling judged.

It makes me miss the chitchat sessions that I have with my good friends. Even if we have differing opinions, and not share the same thoughts, at the end of the day, we are still love each other.

Maybe I am thinking too deeply into this and I’ll just try to take each experience as a learning experience.

In any case, back to when I was a teenager, months after the oral examination, the results were out in the notice board. I looked at it nervously, fearing for all the worst. And I tentatively looked at the grade beside my name.



4 Replies to “Do you get nervous when meeting people?”

  1. No, I’m usually the one to start a conversation with perfect strangers. Not like the past, when you brought me to a colleague’s party, and I was acting so awkwardly around your students! Haha! It’s easy for me to talk to people since, with it being the first conversation, I find that both parties want to make the conversation last as long as possible to avoid the other person thinking that they are boring, or have nothing to say.

    Or… as Mak puts it, I am ‘terlalu peramah’.

    That’s never gotten me in trouble, yet! 😛

  2. I definitely do. I was probably one of the worst small-talkers ever. But for some reason in the recent weeks, or possibly months, I’ve gotten much better at it. My body language must also be getting better because people are approaching me more instead of me having to approach them first. But this is all very new and very recent for me, so I still have a long way to go to actually be a “social butterfly”. =)

  3. Diana

    Oh that took me a while to remember but I finally remembered which party you were talking about!

    Speaking of which, do you still have that duck plushie? Because I dont seem to remember seeing it around anymore.


    I’m really happy that you’re getting better at this because feeling awkward and nervous really is a horrible feeling. Yeah we’re in the same boat.

    I’m a lot older compared to when I was in school, but that feeling still is there when meeting new people, especially when we are not in the same walk of life :/

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