I love flowers.
I love how they brighten up a room just by existing. And wallflowers are particularly beautiful, being so determined to shine subtly from amongst the blandness of the grey rock or rust-coloured bricks they are so often surrounded by…
Ok so that’s not quite how others see them, but it’s how I see them. 😉
Then you have the idiom ‘wallflower’, as described on Wikipedia..
"A wallflower is someone with an introverted personality type (or in more extreme cases, social anxiety) who will attend parties and social gatherings, but will usually distance themselves from the crowd and actively avoid being in the limelight.
The name itself derives from the eponymous plant's unusual growth pattern against a wall as a stake or in cracks and gaps in stone walls. 'Wallflowers' might literally stand against a wall and simply observe others at a social gathering, rather than mingle. This could be due to anxiety, shyness, lack of social skills or self-esteem."
Sigh… I think I need spend some quality time updating Wikipedia pages instead of standing against walls at social events..
Look, I won’t deny having clung to the outskirts of the room when I’ve turned up somewhere and didn’t know anyone, or if it’s getting later in the night and I’m all talked out, or in my more recent sobriety, everyone's had a few 🍺🍷🍸🥂, and heading down the ‘telling the same story for the 5th time in an hour' road, and I just can’t muster up the energy to laugh at it convincingly again.
And sometimes I am actually more in the mood to observe the networking than take part in it. Watch
- the sparks of innovation,
- the joy of connection,
- the recognition of old friends,
- and the possibilities of new collaborations.
So when I heard someone a number of years ago tell a large room full of women, as the final comments of an event which was specifically (and ironically) aimed at ‘helping women be more confident’, that we should all “pull those little introverted wallflowers out of the corners of the room and introduce them to everyone”, I nearly choked on the sausage roll I hadn’t even eaten yet!