Socializing toward the middle

From Medium authored b:


“I am constantly aware of how much space I’m taking up, the people around me, and more than anything else, their reactions to me. It can be exhausting. As a result, like many women, I’ve found myself down many an internet rabbit hole, poring over articles that promise to imbue me with the confidence to burst into a conference room and speak my mind, nary a “sorry to interrupt but…” or, “I just wanted to say…” in sight. I’ve tried power posing, and I’ve tried leaning in, all in the hopes that I’ll one day be able to stroll into a room without caring what other people think of me. Thus far, however, I still find myself plagued by a variety of mental gymnastics, trying to parse people’s facial expressions in real time whenever I give a presentation, share an opinion, or offer advice.

While this perpetual awareness of the people around me can be exhausting, it’s also gifted me with a valuable skill — empathy. Because I’m aware of the others in the room, I’m picking up on how my words and actions are affecting them, and have the opportunity to change my behavior accordingly. I’ll be the first to say I don’t disagree with articles that tell women to stop apologizing for taking up space in a room, and for asserting opinions. I’ve learned a lot from them. However, I don’t think teaching women to stop apologizing is the solution, or at least, not a complete one.”

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