Though usually I don't get on board with memes (mainly because this whole site catalogs every silly thing about me that you didn't want to know), I thought this one from Sarah was interesting.
5 Things I Am Good At:
1) Remembering details. Names, people, dates, works of art, quotes, song lyrics, colors, every contestant from Top Model or Project Runway, what people wore, the sounds of voices, nuances of language, and basically any bit of information which interested me sticks in my mind whether I want it to or not. It gets really crowded in here because I'm pretty fastidiously interested in well, everything.
2) Writing. This blog may not be evidence, but my academic writing is always praised for being exceptional (and recently, also called exquisite). I do well on exams because I am mostly good at the aspects which surround writing: I have sickeningly neat handwriting, I have an expansive vocabulary, and I express my thoughts in strange but engaging ways. Also, I type upwards of 120 words a minute, so I am physically "good" at writing and am able to concentrate on my words.
3) Paying sincere compliments. On more than a few occasions, I've supplied "the nicest thing anyone's ever said about me" to my friends and loved ones. I don't give empty praise: I really think about what I'm going to say and express it with specificity and honesty. I believe when people in your life mean a lot to you, it's important to let them know, and it happens that I spend a lot of time thinking about how cool my friends and family are.
4) Planning and starting creative projects. I really love making stuff, and I'm uniquely skilled at gathering and organizing supplies and rushing into the process. Finishing is another story.
5) Learning new things. I tend to catch on to techniques and ideas quickly, so I have picked up a lot of hobbies over the years. I think that being open-minded really helps keep my mind flexible because I don't put up walls or limitations on what I believe I am capable of. I also research obsessively and get interested easily, and I think an engaged mind is a productive one.
5 Things I Am Bad At:
1) Housekeeping. Miserable, dreadful failure, in every way. I technically know how to clean, very well (the OCD thing helps there), but the actual discipline of seeing cleaning as a priority and making myself do it is absolutely out of my grasp. I can always think of a thousand other things I'd rather do.
2) Graceful socializing. If you want a heart to heart or an intense talk, or if you are a perfect stranger I have no insecurities around, I'm all over it, and we will have memorable and wonderful conversation all night. But if you are a semi-stranger at a party, or someone whom I vaguely know I must make a good impression upon, consider me the world's most awkward deaf-mute. I am so dreadfully bad at socializing that my mom actually just lent me a book on how to work a room. If my career depends on me being able to make cocktail party small talk, expect this blog to be written from a cardboard box in the very near future.
3) Not Procrastinating / Finishing projects. I am one of those people who embodies the expression "If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would ever get done." I put everything off so far beyond reasonable expectations that I frequently wonder if I have some kind of disorder. For this reason, if a creative project doesn't have a set deadline, it will likely never get done, and it's not by accident that even with cooking, I often serve dinner after midnight.
4) Managing Money. It's not so much that I don't know how to make a budget and track expenses, nor that I don't know how to organize bills and payments (I did work in A/R for close to two years and was responsible for hundreds of accounts). It's more that... I'm afraid to check my account balance or to even open my bills. I either think I have an abundance of cash and spend it without thinking, or I fear I owe money all over the place and don't know how to fix it. Either way, my avoidance of the truth could drive a person mad.
5) Concentrating. This is not something I'm bad at all the time because when I am finally able to force myself to concentrate, I fixate like a person possessed. It's a question of eliminating the wrong distractions, but putting in the right ones (my mind wanders terribly) and physically making myself sit still to do something. I like to divide my attention among a bunch of things at once (thirty or more knitting projects, a couple hundred paintings juggling, I read nine or ten books at the same time, etc), so focusing all my attention on one thing is immensely difficult to me. This probably contributes to some of the other things I'm bad at, like socializing and finishing projects, but yeah, I can't even concentrate enough on this item to stop writing about it.
I think a lot of people are good at the same things I am, but I hear all the time that they struggle to remember names. Since I can't share whatever idiot-savant thing goes on in my brain, I can give a few tips for remembering names:
- When you hear someone's name in an introduction, repeat it back, as in "Allison, nice to meet you."
- If it is an unusual name or one prone to multiple spellings, clarify how they spell theirs. Maybe this is just self-interest, because everyone spells Vicki wrong, but you will form a verbal recognition of "Allison with two L's" and it's helpful for future reference. Be careful not to be patronizing, though, especially with names of a descent different from yours, because you never know if you're insulting someone by asking how to spell "Siobhan."
- When a class or business group is introducing themselves, write down their names in the order they gave them and try to visualize where everyone was sitting.
- Really look at someone's face when you learn their name and if possible, remember what color they were wearing. Notice a specific detail, like earrings or the design on a tie (i.e. Allison is the woman with brown hair, green eyes, silver earrings shaped like orchids, and a purple shirt). When you try to remember Allison's name later on, you'll form a more concrete visual of the time you met her and always be able to put her name with her face.
- Don't be afraid to use names once you've learned them. Address people by name, refer to them by name "Allison just said the funniest thing!" and if you reach a rapport, give them a nickname "Well Allie, you're right, one more whiskey probably wouldn't hurt."
- If it helps to associate them with someone of the same name (i.e. Allison, cool, she has the same name as my sister, but spelled with a second L), go for it, but be careful because it's easy to confuse people that way. My favorite example is my father associating an employee with one of his cousin's dogs, both named Natalie. Every time he looked at her, he thought "Mel's dog," but then worried that that couldn't possibly be right, so he was afraid to call her by anything. Also above all, don't tell them that association, because there is nothing more tedious than hearing how you have the same name as someone's old neighbor every time you see them. (To my Irish-German-Welsh blonde haired, blue-eyed parents: "Is Vicki Italian? The other woman I know named Victoria who went by Vicki was Italian. No? You're not at all Italian? Well are you sure Vicki isn't?")
So there you have it. I imagine this meme didn't actually mandate whole paragraphs of explanation, but it was interesting to think about this outside of a job interview.
I'm really interested in what my friends and readers have to say about themselves on this one, so please do let me know if you make a list!