We were at dinner Sunday with a new couple that we met at church. It was a great evening, and then things got awkward - for me. My husband started saying something that made me cringe. He was trying to give me a compliment, and he is always very complimentary.
What a crazy concept: my husband says something nice about me and I get uncomfortable. I am really flattered that he thinks so highly of me. I find it very endearing, but I still don't like it. Public compliments always have a way of backfiring, or at least in my experience they do.
In this particular instance, he was commenting on my amazing eye for decorating, and general ability to make things beautiful. I don't see what he sees. That may have something to do with his upbringing that didn't include a lot of creativity, and mine where there were many failed attempts at creativity. But we kept trying and occasionally things turned out.
Here we are sitting in the living room of a home that is beautifully decorated and accessorized. The hostess was obviously very talented and knew how to group items, colors, textures like a pro. Her DIY projects actually turned out looking like boutique quality wears, whereas mine are more like elementary school art projects. But I have fun.
My husband pointing out what he thinks is a talent of mine was like comparing apples to oranges. Or saying that just because I drew a couple of stick figures that turned out fairly well that I was also an artist. Or saying that I play the piano because I took lessons 25 years ago even though I haven't played a note in the last 15 years. Or that because one of the thousands of pictures that I took I thought was actually good enough to frame, makes me a photographer.
I do not like it when he talks about my skill sets in the presence of those same skills which are obviously at a whole other level. I know that it is probably because of my own insecurities. In my mind I could imagine them thinking "I would love to see their house", (after all it would be a doctor's house) expecting to be delighted, and all I could see was my house. No paint, no draperies, very few pictures on the walls, not much furniture, and our living in the "make do with what we have phase" of our life. These things are not going to change during the time that we know this couple so there would be no way to recover.
It sounds like the problem is more mine than my husbands, but that still didn't stop me from asking him, when we got to the car, to refrain from making my abilities sound more amazing then they actually are. What if they wanted me to help them with something, or play the piano, or take their picture? See where I am going? That would be humiliating to have them expect something I couldn't deliver on. I'd prefer to set the bar low and let people draw their own conclusions rather than having it set too high.
Please tell me I am not the only one. Then again, you are probably justifiably awesome :-) Wait, never mind I think this is the PMS talking - I will be fine next week.