I’m complex. I think others might be, too. Particularly with the social scene. As a writer and thinker (probably more than many), I tend to stay in my head more than not.
It’s weird. I want to have a few close friends (which I do have, just not locally) and feel the need for acceptance. I think we all do, to some extent. But I’m an introvert. This does not mean I do not appreciate being invited into something or actually have the opportunity to participate. It also does not indicate that I have nothing to offer those who might invite me to participate in something. But to not reach out to see if I really want to participate and if I am unable to, what I might need to make that happen.
I have a friend who, last year, told me of a retreat he was hosting. Several guys I knew were being personally invited by our mutual friend. The extra push to make it happen (the fact that it took place only 300 miles away) was actually a private FB message from one of the guys in South Carolina telling me that he wanted to meet me (we’d talked before). Not only did we meet at the gathering, but we were assigned as roommates so we could hang out a bit more and chat after everyone else went to sleep.
So, yes, while I want to be invited and included in things, I have some challenges of social awkwardness to overcome. And it’s one reason I’m not generally up for hosting. It’s my crap and has nothing to do with the others. My friends know how I am about these things and the challenges I face. And, in the event I need to decline (and I’m honest about it), I do not feel any less invited or accepted after my response than when the offer was extended.
I’ve talked to a few people who ‘get me’ and understand this phenomenon. They appreciate the invitations and ‘check-ins’ and the fact that they aren’t pressured into attending if they aren’t up for it.
If you’re one of the awkward folks like me, how do you manage your social struggles? If you’re not, how do you work with people like us who want to be invited and accepted and struggle to do so? How do you see the event when we state we are unable to join/attend whatever soiree you’re throwing? I’d love to know – and I’m sure others would, too.
In the meantime, thank you for letting me just be myself for a few minutes of your time.