One evening, we had people over for dinner. I had set up all the food buffet-style on the island, but we hadn’t yet asked for everyone to gather to say a blessing on the food. No one was sitting down at the table or at the island. We were all visiting on the couches. Yet, one of my kids started going to town and chowing down on the food. I was annoyed and frustrated. I blurted out a little loudly, “Read the room!!!!”
My kids didn’t know what it meant, so I had to explain it. “Read the room means to look all around you. You can figure things out based on that. Are other people sitting down at the table and island? Are other people eating? NOPE!” This is just one example of teaching my kids how to pick up on social cues.
Read the room is now one of my favourite things to say. It’s applicable to many situations. So, I am going to ask you this: do you read the room regularly? Are you self-aware? I’m aware of the need to be self-aware. Haha! I’m trying. I fail sometimes. Recently, during church, I sat near a friend and we visited off and on during sacrament meeting. By visiting, I also mean laughing. My husband kept giving me side-eye, trying to get me to see that a reverent sacrament meeting wasn’t the most appropriate venue for a gab session. I did not read the room. (And I am not good at whispering. My whisper is other people’s inside voice. 🙈) But I do succeed sometimes, like when I can tell I’m talking too much so I stop and give space for the other people to also add to the conversation.
It’s fascinating to watch people at buffets or pot lucks. Some people are not self-aware. They aren’t aware of the many people behind them who haven’t dished up yet, and they go to town, piling their plates up. To that, I want to yell, “READ THE ROOM, BUDDY!”
I remember talking to my therapist about the struggles I had with an individual. He asked me if I knew what a shadow personality was. I didn’t. He went on to explain that often the things that irritate us the most in other people are a reflection of some quality we dislike in ourselves. Boom.
My mom loved people and genuinely loved getting to know them. She also genuinely loved talking. We called my mom a walking encyclopedia because she knew a lot of information. It was a blessing and a curse. She wasn’t always able to read the room. She’d still be talking as people would be side stepping to get to their vehicle, or moving closer to the door to make their escape. My momma loved to talk. (What I wouldn’t give to hear her tell me random information. What I wouldn’t give to hear her go off on long winded tangents about all the celebrity gossip. My mom had a vested interest in certain celebrity relationships. I remember she left my sister a message on the phone, saying how devastating the news was that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman were breaking up. Man, I miss that mother of mine. It is funny how the quirks that sometimes annoy you are the ones you miss the most.) This tendency of my mom’s would irritate me sometimes. But now, I’m trying to look deeper in my irritation, to be more aware of this shadow personality business. Looking back, maybe I’m irritated by this tendency in ME!
Self-reflection is a good thing, but I do think we can take things too far and question everything. I’m not saying to do that. Moderation in all things!
So friends, I’m writing this all to give me accountability. I’m also wanting to share these epiphanies I had. Maybe it’s something you needed to hear. ❤️ It’s nice to know we are not alone. So to everyone, including myself, I say…RTR. Read the room!