Apart from the five people sitting at our table there are no more diners at the stylish restaurant. Standing three steps behind us, two cute waitresses are whispering behind cupped hands. The food is delicious, the service top notch, the expensive wines are chilled to perfection.
It should to be a wonderful evening, but I can only describe the business dinner as excruciating. The situation is very uncomfortable since we have all been forced together by the customary, which dictates that after a day of doing business, we should all get together and spend a ”relaxed” evening together.
The problem is that none of us really want to. We would all rather put our sweat pants on and curl up in the sofa with a glass of cheap plonk. Instead we have to continue to converse stiffly over how well the fillet of beef has been cooked and how delicious the Châteauneuf-du-Pape is.
I am speaking for myself of course, but judging by the facial expressions of my company, everyone is feeling more or less awkward. After each: ”Oh, what a fantastic meal”, the atmosphere is getting increasingly more uncomfortable and I, who get nervous, verging on loopy, from long, embarrassing pauses, start behaving like a circus horse: I trot into the ring, prance about and bend over backwards to ensure that the conversation continues.
I almost sigh of relief when I realize that one of the dark suited men has a penchant for deep sea fishing, and start to pester him with questions: What is the biggest fish he’s ever caught? Which sea does he prefer and what about fly fishing? Is it as exciting as I imagine?
Mr Big Fisherman respond politely, but briefly. He doesn’t ask anything about my possible hobbies, which means that after each of his given answers the conversation die down. I am really struggling to make it live past the posh pudding.
Afterwards, I’m exhausted and completely drained. I long even more for the sofa, sweats and bag in box-wine and I promise myself: ”Never again”, although I normally see myself as an extrovert person.
Or am I? Susan Cain, who has written the bestselling book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can not Stop Talking and whose TED talk on the subject is one of the most watched ever with 10.6 million views, has designed a test which will give you a clue to your true personality.
When I take the test, it turns out that I’m not nearly as outgoing as I imagine. On the contrary – I am apparently a pretty quiet sort, according to Cain. Maybe my circus horse behavior is more the result of my upbringing, than an acknowledgment of my true nature? If that’s the case, it’s time for me to come out of the closet, and keep stumm during the next awkward business dinner.
Without going loopy.