Social Ineptitude

So one of the things that holds me back from living my life is I am socially inept. I don’t know how to make small talk with people and when I’m standing around in a crowd and not talking to anyone I get very anxious. I have naturally very pale skin and I turn bright red with little or no provocation. So I have this image of myself standing in a crowd with my hands in my pockets looking around the room with a stricken look on my beet red face, breaking into a sweat and wishing I could shrink away to nothingness. I hate it.

I have this friend, an Unsvelt Girl Who Runs – her words not mine, who has asked me to go out with her and her husband on Thursday evening. The three of us all listen to the same morning radio show and they have regular after hours events they call “Bar Nights”. To quote a favorite movie line, “I like a name that tells you what it is”. Anyway, I don’t normally go to these events but the location is fairly convenient and I’ve sort of already agreed to go. Unsvelt Girl Who Runs and I have been work friends for a long time. I’d like to think that we’re more friends than that, but we don’t really have a lot in common as far as things to do together outside of work.

The last time I decided to go to an event for the radio station with UGWR and her family, I changed my mind at the last minute and M&M and I decided to go to a comedy club to see DL Hughley instead. Seemed perfectly reasonable and innocent to me. UGWR on the other hand was very upset with me and said she’d never invite me to anything ever again. Needless to say, changing my mind now is not an option.

Thursday, is my birthday, which means very little to me. In fact I tend to prefer to pretend it’s not even happening, but I stupidly made a comment about how nice it was for the radio station to throw me a birthday party and UGWR said, “Yes it is. You should come and I’ll buy you a drink for your birthday.”

But there’s more. UGWR’s husband has a degenerative muscular (I think) disease and is in a rather large wheel chair. Through no fault of their own, they are a significant spectacle no matter where they go. I know her husband and he is a nice guy, but I don’t really have much to talk to him about. He’s all about Cal Berkeley Football. I couldn’t care less about any sports, let alone football. The only other thing I can think of to talk to him about is his disability and his chair. Doesn’t really seem right. She also has a Tag-Along who goes everywhere with her. An old friend form Arizona who moved to California a couple years ago and has done nothing but alienate people and make UGWR miserable. I actually think, she likes being miserable. Well, as I’ve learned in therapy, “likes” may not be the right term. I think she is comfortable with being miserable. It’s familiar.

So I’ve committed myself to going to this big socializing event with one person I don’t like to be around, one person I have nothing to talk about with and one person with whom I have to walk on eggshells – sometimes – while being in the middle of a large crowd of people who I do not know but who will be seeing our group and I’ll be wishing I could shrink away into nothing. I have butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it.

I want to go. I really do. I want to be part of the “in crowd”. I want to work on being a more social person. I’m certainly not going to be able to live this “new life” I’m talking about if I don’t. But I’m scared. And it would be a lot easier to go home instead. I hate this aspect of myself.

Along these lines, I’m never going to be able to live my life the way that I want if I don’t find ways to get out into the world and meet new people. Something my therapist, Deb, and I have discussed is that I should meet new people and give them the chance to know me and be OK with the real me, in order to help me feel better about being the way I am. That seems backwards to me. Seems to me that I need to be comfortable acknowledging my sexual orientation for myself, before I can put myself into new situations and feel comfortable telling people, “I’m gay.”

I’ve tossed around some ideas of what I can do, and one of the first things that comes to mind is volunteer work. The problem is I’m lazy and a home-body and I don’t feel like I can fit it into my busy schedule of over-sleeping, “working” late, going home and watching TV. There are a lot of things I don’t feel like I can fit into that schedule. Like exercise, eating healthy, drinking less alcohol (although in fairness I’ve cut back a lot) and generally making healthier decisions for myself.

I guess it’s something to keep working on if I’m going to be successful in living this new life and if this blog is going to be worth reading.

One Response

  1. As someone who also has difficulty being a social butterfly, I completely understand your struggle to become social with the world around you. I, too, often come up with excuses to stay home so that I don’t have to go out. In fact, I’ve tried going out to clubs and bars…none of which interest me in the slightest. So, I decided to start chatting online and writing more often about my life, which has helped me tramendously in starting my social networking. Perhaps you can start chatting with others online in your area, eliminating the face-to-face pressure and the desire to run for the corner.

    Hopefully this helps.

    Good Luck!

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