Yesterday, at party number three of the weekend, I asked one of our guests, "So, how are things going for you in Denver?" She looked at me blankly and for a freak moment, I wondered if she wasn't the one who lived in Denver. After all, I'd just called a 17-year old girl by her 13-year old sister's name, so it was very possible that I'd gotten cities mixed up too. It turned out, however, that I did get the city right and therefore, I plunged ahead and said, "I was in Denver in May. I thought about giving you a call but there wasn't really time." More blank stares. So I skulked off to the living room where my brother and J. were hanging out.
"I think my conversational skills are lacking," I told my brother.
"Why is that?" he asked.
"Because I just asked S. about Denver and she looked at me as if I'd suddenly sprouted horns and had green skin. Lately, I don't seem to be able to talk to people properly."
My brother considered and then said, "Have you thought that maybe the people you're talking to aren't giving you anything to work with? Maybe they're the bad conversationalists."
My New Year's resolution, therefore, is to not automatically assume everything is my fault, that failures and mistakes can often be shared. That's not to absolve myself of responsibility, mind you, but often I kneejerk apologize and let the other person off easy because I'm so often falling all over myself to say sorry as many times as I possibly can. So maybe that's really two resolutions: 1) Fault can be shared and 2) Stop being the first to apologize.