Probably like a lot of people out there, I tend to become quite awkward, shy, and unsure of myself when in a social situation. When going to a (rare) party, I tend to stand around watching others chat away, interacting with each other, and wishing I could just go up to some stranger to start a conversation.
Or wishing someone would start a conversation with me.
It’s not really anything new for me. I’ve always been a shy person when it comes to meeting new people, even if it’s in an environment I’m somewhat comfortable in or if I’m with a friend. I just never know what to say.
The funny thing is some people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m shy and have trouble meeting new people, especially those who know me in a different (non-social) capacity. They’re usually shocked because they see me one way – engaging, talkative, well-spoken, and such.
But the truth is I become anxious when surrounding by those I don’t know, or only know in passing.
A great example of this was this past weekend, when I attended a birthday party for a mate and his partner. Their birthdays are quite close to each other, so they decided to throw a joint party for their friends and family.
Although I know both of them somewhat socially, I’m only really friends with one of them (won’t go into details about that ‘friendship’…), though I know the other one enough to chat to a bit.
Anyway, despite my fear of social situations, I made myself go to the party in the hope that I’ll meet some new people or make a new friend.. or even meet some cutie.
Probably not the best reasons to go to a party, but oh well…
To be honest, I spent a good part of the evening standing around watching these little clusters of people enjoying the party. I did my best to not look like I was miserable or lonely, and tried to keep my mobile in my pocket so I wouldn’t look anti-social.
For the first hour or so I’ll be honest.. I barely spoke to anyone, other than wishing the boys a happy birthday, and found that I had polished off a bottle of wine in no time at all.
I eventually started talking to a few people here and there, mostly thanks to one of the birthday boys, but it wasn’t easy. Most of the guys there seemed to already know each other socially or personally (*ahem*), so it was a bit awkward for me.
But a part of me deep down thinks it shouldn’t have been awkward for me. I’m always complaining how I don’t go out that often and never get invited to parties, so I should have been bursting to chat up a storm.
Instead it was in little spurts throughout the night ending with me heading home alone, despite a bunch of them heading off to other parties or clubs.. Not that I could have afforded to go out clubbing anyway, but that’s another matter.
Hmmm.. perhaps I’ve just isolated myself too much from the social side of life over the past couple years (it’s not cheap to be social these days..). It’s like I’ve forgotten how to be social with a group of people unless someone else is taking the lead or ensuring everyone is being included.
I think as well part of it is my own insecurities about where I am in my life. When I was unemployed, I purposely stayed away from social gatherings because I didn’t want to talk about how hard job hunting was or the difficulties I’d gone through since the redundancy.
But I find even now that I’ve been back working for about 8 or 9 months I still don’t want to have to discuss that part of my life because of my own frustrations about how I’m not where I want to be job-wise.. wherever that is.
Oh well.. At least I got out there and tried. And hopefully it won’t be as hard next time I’m in a similar situation.