People By Numbers

My ideal number of people is the fewer, the better.

Place me into a large group of people and I’ll slowly edge myself out of the group, until I’m on the outskirts. Chances are, once I’ve done this I will tune out entirely. Anecdote time: University tutorials tended to be around 15 or so people, and a lot of the time I’d freeze up when called upon.

Break this up though, put me into a group of three or four and I’ll probably contribute a handful of things. I do recall working like this in a number of classes: one class I had, had four people. Contributing was easy, made more so by the fact that the other girl was friendly and the two guys were non-intimidating. I find packs of people intimidating, there’s always more people around to judge you. Then again I haven’t been in a crowd of people since May, so I could be wrong. I do know how to play to people, being demure or funny or serious as the situation requires; I just don’t have much need of it right now.

However, I’m not always suited to being one of two people, because then I’ll just sit silently. Staring. Maybe at you, maybe at my book, maybe I’ll find my iPod deeply fascinating. Whichever way you dice it, this is the scenario that sees me running a long list of Clever Things to Say, but they’re the things that don’t get said. Actually, in this scenario I can be one of three ways: I could monopolize the conversation, I could hand it to you, or I could be an equal contributer.

Really, it all depends on my mood, the topic, and how I feel about the other people around me. These factors are the vital ones.

4 thoughts on “People By Numbers”

  1. I understand this post completely, and found myself nodding as I read this. I don’t like large groups–especially when the majority are women. Apologies to my fellow females, but that’s just the way it is. I’m much more comfortable in a group that consists of mainly men. I guess this stems from the fact that in my formative years I related better to my father than my mother.


    1. Yes, I know what you mean – I can get along with women, but I’m always a bit worried about being judged. I always related to my mum (still do) but generally I suppose I’d rather be in a group of both men and women.


  2. I am the opposite of you – I thrive in front of a group (as long as I know the subject, of course) because I do not have to give individual attention to anyone. However like you, I have issues with talking one-on-one with a new person. I shake inwardly, I get tongue tied and my mind goes blank. In fact, someone once told me that I was a fire brand when I was speaking at the pulpit but very quiet on and individual basis. I took it that she thought I was boring.


    1. That’s my issue in a group: how do you know who to give attention to? How much attention? One-on-one, you can drift in and out of the conversation or focus completely. I’m like you, either way I have to know the topic or I’ll rattle on about nothing in a fairly awkward manner.

      I suppose in a group you have to be louder to get attention, unless you’re the designated speaker, and so individually you can be much quieter.


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