This morning I was talking to someone while waiting for the train when a third person arrived on the platform and struck up a conversation with the same person I had been speaking to. I know the two of them are friends and not wanting to particularly be involved in the conversation I slightly backed away and removed myself. I tend to do this frequently as I despise being trapped discussions I have no interest in but today I had an odd thought as I stood there.
“The adults are talking.”
I realized what I had done was the same thing a child would do. The adults are talking so I’m going to go somewhere else and be invisible for a little while. I then realized that I rarely every feel like the adult in the room and that includes when I’m in a room with children.
Now to clarify that last point, whenever I’m with children I try not to talk down to them or overly simplify a conversation. I believe that is a disservice to them and their growth. I tend to have more of a kinship with children and try to be more actively engaged with them. Perhaps I’m lowering myself while elevating them and creating a balance. I don’t have children of my own so I infrequently need to be a disciplinarian which I think helps to be able to create such a balance. Things might be different if I was the one needing to lay down the rules and structure.
But when it comes to being in a room with other adults I’m a bit more passive. I have no need to dominate the environment and tend to yield the floor to those who do. Sometimes this is done subconsciously and it’s not until time has passed that I realized that I’ve done it. It may be that I was brought up to respect my elders and I don’t really view myself as an adult. I’m a firm believer of the adage “grow older but not up” so I’m not sure if that’s ever going to change.
There’s also the fact that some people have dominate personalities and others more submissive. With that I feel like a flip back and forth depending on how comfortable I am in the current situation. The more comfortable I am the more confident I am and therefore the more apt to take over a situation.
So the real question in acknowledging this would be “is it a problem in my life?” I don’t have an answer. On one hand I’m sure it hasn’t helped my professional career but on the other I’m sure it’s kept me out of conversation I didn’t want to be a part of. Knowing this and being self-aware of it will allow me recognize when I’m doing it and utilizing that to my advantage.