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  • A friend called FOBI

  • Bookworm

    September 22, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Hi all!
    I’ve written this piece in all seriousness that I am so confused that it came out humorous! I hope I am not making fun of anyone and if I do please forgive me, because that wasn’t my intention! I wrote down my very own feelings!
    Hope you enjoy and I would appreciate feedback!

    Do you know what FOBI means? Sounds similar to FOMO, right? You guessed it! It starts the same way: Fear of… Fear of what? Telling you in a second! If you are rather introverted then you could guess it! Let’s say, you walk into a wedding hall and people are standing around you, chatting and laughing. Then this uncomfortable shower of chills is running down your spine. No one is looking at you or turning their head towards you. And you know, you are wayyy too shy to approach anyone, because it just happened to be, that all your good friends are not attending this wedding. As you stand there, you get to think desperately: How am I going to make it through the next few hours?? Who is going to sit with me at the table? Who is going to chat with me? Is anyone even going to look at me? As you are finally settling into a chair at a table with girls who you more or less know, you start thinking how you could start a conversation with the girl sitting next to you. (Naturally, you took a seat at the end of the table so you can run off to the restroom whenever you can.) You start thinking with which question you should begin: Ok, so she was in my high school a few years ago, should I ask her which Seminary she’s been to? No, that could get awkward because she might not have been to Sem so the conversation will be finished before it even started… Maybe I should ask her for the time. But that won’t work either because cleverly, just today, I didn’t forget to put my watch on. Whilst you are thinking and re-thinking of questions that are appropriate enough to ask, you’re unconsciously watching the other girls at your table carry on chatting. Again, this chill comes over you. Why does everyone manage to start a conversation so easily, and I am the one who is sitting here? Alone. And awkwardly quiet.
    I am sure you guessed by now that FOBI means Fear Of Being Ignored. I don’t know if this is a term which officially exists, but as a feeling it definitely does! Those who are sitting quietly at a table at a wedding, in a classroom or at work usually don’t want to be left alone. (But please don’t judge those who sit at the end of a table at a wedding!) So, if you are the outgoing, conversational and a person with a heart, (which everyone has, so no excuses for that!) then please don’t let these people be drowned by their thoughts of FOBI, but take it away by looking at them and start speaking to them! You won’t regret it and you might be saved from FOBI one day as well! Chas Veshalom, you should never get into these situations but if you happen to have to go to your mothers’ cousins’ neighbors’ aunt’s daughter’s wedding, and you might not know many people there and the only one you really know is on the other side of the Mechitza, then FOBI might, just might, come by and say hello to you! Because at that moment he sees that nobody cares and as soon as he sees that, he wants to care! So make sure that he won’t have to care anymore! And in your Zechus the last place of the table at a wedding will always be empty!

  • Anagrammer

    September 22, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    So, so true! When in these FOBI situations, you have to remind yourself that back at home/at work/etc, there are people who know and like you, and you are very much not ignored! And you are still the very same likable individual, whether you are around the people who know that about you or those who unfortunately don’t. Thanks for sharing, Bookworm!

  • Brocha

    September 22, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    So real!

  • PassionforWriting

    September 22, 2020 at 9:46 pm

    Love it, Bookworm! I also feel those awkward, out-of-place feelings, like I’m just going to stand tall, smile, look pretty and hope that no one catches any hint of awkwardness on my face! I know it sounds funny, but it’s not… lol.

  • Writer123

    September 23, 2020 at 2:39 am

    I found this so relatable and validating!! I have been in this situation way too many times because I am a major introvert and it took me years to be able to accept that this is who I am.

    Thank you so much for sharing, Bookworm!

  • riva pomerantz

    September 23, 2020 at 1:50 pm

    OMG, Bookworm, I LOVE IT!!!!! Love the writing style and the topic.

    Being a natural extrovert, I am so saddened by the thought of anyone feeling ignored that I have kinda made it my personal mission to ferret out the FOBIs and make them feel welcome whenever I can. So if you and I end up at that wedding or the park together, I sure hope I’ll go over and greet you :-).

  • Chaya’la

    September 23, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    Bookworm you hit it on the nail! As a writer I can totally relate. I find myself in this island where only fictional characters and situations exist and when I climb out of my pleasant reverie the reality just hits me hard… Truth is always stranger and more complicated than fiction.

    So as a natural introvert (Riva I hope we can still be friends ;)) I encounter FOBI more often than I would like… So hats off to all those welcoming extroverts at weddings and parks that make me feel at home!

  • Sury

    September 23, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    Bookworm, thanks for sharing this! As a fellow introvert I fully relate to FOBI (love the name!). Weddings can be overwhelming like that, so one needs to step out of their comfort zone sometimes and hope as well that someone will be kind enough to include them.

    Also, I always have to keep reminding myself whenever I feel self-conscious, that everyone is thinking about themselves, how they look/act etc. and not really putting in too much thought into how I look/act. And so do I …I know it’s selfish but it’s a fact of life, don’t you think? And it makes me feel slightly better!

  • Writer123

    September 24, 2020 at 2:11 am

    Sury, I do the exact same thing! Every time before I go out, I look in the mirror and tell myself “Nobody cares! Everyone’s focusing on themselves! Just go out and be comfortable with who you are!”

  • Bookworm

    September 24, 2020 at 9:06 am

    Thank you so much everyone for giving such detailed feedback! It really warms my heart!
    It did take me a while until I realized that being slightly introverted is not a problem but it’s just how I am. It’s good to know that I am not alone.
    I have a question: Is this piece publishable? I asked someone, and she said I should submit it somewhere, but I am not so confident about it… Could you please tell me your honest opinions?

  • Anagrammer

    September 24, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    I’m thinking yes – go for it! Why don’t you try the “My Take” column in the AmiLiving? Hatzlacha!

  • PassionforWriting

    September 24, 2020 at 5:50 pm

    Yeah, I agree that I think My Take in Ami Living would be a good idea. All the responses are very heartwarming and it’s especially helpful to know that others experience the same feeling! Writer 123, that is a really good idea to tell yourself that no one is concentrating on us specifically.

    But the one caveat is that the heart ❤️ should know it too! 😉

  • Bookworm

    September 24, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    Thanks Anagrammer and Passion for your suggestion!
    We’ll wait and see what happens…

  • PassionforWriting

    September 24, 2020 at 10:52 pm

    Sure! Let us know!! 🙂

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