This morning I realized that perhaps the southern charm I inherited after almost a decade of living in the South may not always be appropriate. Or, rather be perceived correctly by those around me. Naturally, I am an out going person, starting up conversations with people wherever I go. And at the same time, hopefully able to read social cues when someone wants to be left alone. That being said, it occurred to me that the maintenance man who came to fix our long list of things not pre-done before our move in (i.e. blinds, doorstops, etc) may have thought I was flirting with him… It hit me suddenly when he arrived this morning for the second day of work and met my husband for the first time. He was not his usual chipper self and was acting “weird.” After some more reflection, several comments he made yesterday may have had depth to them beyond casual conversation.
I want to tell the maintenance man that he must look elsewhere for someone to flirt with, that I was naively just being me, which was apparently too charming for this northern culture. The sad thing is that I like being friendly, not flirty friendly, just friendly… A childhood in the North made me baulk at the South and its culture, but that is a story for another time. However, after years in the South I did grow to appreciate how you could make someone feel accepted by how you treated them with genuine politeness and friendliness.
This learning curve will be interesting, because I do not want to change who I am, yet at the same time, I need to be aware of how it is perceived. I am a very happily married woman and the only person I want to flirt with is my husband who I adore!
Funny thing, once you are friendly with someone (male or female) and realize that it was misunderstood, you tend to back off a bit to establish some boundaries, but sadly it typically screams “I was just pretending to be nice; I’m really a bitch!”
Well, I guess today a bitch I will be…