So I went to a Kerry fundraiser yesterday. I made a large donation, and as a perk for big spenders, got to go to the pre-fundraiser, where we
got to hang around in a small group (around 25 people) with Barney Frank.
Barney Frank is my congressman, and from everything I've read that he's
written, seems like a really great guy, who not only fights the
good fight on a lot of issues in congress, but is a smart, witty, friendly,
person who it would be fun to get to know personally. So I was looking forward to this opportunity.
But when I actually got there, I was overcome by paralyzing "what
should I say?" shyness. So I didn't even try; I hung out in the
other room, and talked with my square-dancing friends instead.
Eventually the conversational groups shifted, and we got Congressman
Jim McGovern involved in our conversation, and he was cool to talk with.
But I'm angry at myself for not managing to take the opportunity
to strike up a conversation with Barney Frank.
I'm way less shy than I used to be, and am much more comfortable
than I used to be making conversation with strangers. But
if they're famous strangers that I admire, I'm as shy as
ever. I had the same inability to cross the room and start
conversations when I was recently in a social setting with Will Shortz,
and before that with John Conway. Anyone else have this problem?
Any suggestions on how to overcome it? It just feels weird and
almost presumptuous to make small talk and
"talk about the weather" with a famous person. And if I try to
talk about their work, I'll say something about how great they
are, they'll say "Thank you", and I'll again be at a loss for
words. I'm sure that once a conversation starts I'll be fine, but
I can never get myself to start one.