The mess of a socially awkward mind in a social situation.
|I look in the mirror. I like what I see. I look good. I feel confident. This may finally be my day. Making new friends, maybe flirting a bit, yeah I can do it, I look good, I look interesting. I check out my smile. Yeah that’s going for me too today. A nice friendly approachable smile, yes, I’m feeling good about this.
Walk into the room. It’s not a big crowd, just a few people, maybe ten. Scan the room, no one I know, I mean, there are a few friends of friends, faces I can match to names from facebook, but no one I really know. No one I know well enough to approach, say a few things to, and latch on to awkwardly till the night evolves into the fun one I had hoped for.
I pretend to be doing something important on my phone. In a corner of the room. But I feel like everyone is looking at me. Silently laughing at how awkward I look, or worse, feeling sorry for me. I can’t do this. I slip into the kitchen. I desperately text my friend, demand she tell me where she is, how long it will take her to get here. She tells me her location. I calculate in my head, it will take her at least fifteen minutes. I feel like the world is collapsing around me. I want to be at home watching ‘New Girl’ in my pajamas. Or at least could the floor open up and swallow me. At least.
I hope with every bone in my body that no one will come into the kitchen and see me here. Please. No. I feel so awkward and out of place and just want to be unnoticed. A part of the furniture maybe. I text my friend again, location update again? I ask her to hurry up, I’m angry and annoyed, why is she always late for everything? Why am I always on time for everything? I consider just leaving, I can walk up the road, get a cab and go home. The temptation to do so is overwhelming. But I still have that hope and longing burning inside me, the need to meet new people, get a little attention, feel validated. So I wait. And wait. It feels like forever.
Finally she arrives, my friend, the life of the party. I’ve explained to her what it’s like to be an introvert in these kinds of situations, my social anxiety esq feelings about being in public. What I had hoped for is that she’s understand this, and I secretly hoped she’d spend the whole night introducing me to everyone, being my wingman in my endeavor to speak to people and have fun in the minimum. She greets me, I latch on to her side. I’m so desperate I forgive her instantly for being late. Maybe the night has hope.
Everyone wants to talk to her. She’s one of those vibrant personalities, social to the core. I envy her so much. People gather around to talk to her. Introductions are not made. She has no bad intentions, she’s just meeting these people after a while, and there is so much to catch up on that my needs are forgotten. It’s one of those situations where the circle is not quite big enough for you. You stand awkwardly, half edged out, and try to follow the conversation, pretend you find the inside jokes funny as well.
Maybe if I had a drink. I go get one. The half space that I had in the circle has closed. I'm too shy to edge my way back in there. There is a chair in the corner, I go sit there, try to look like I’m doing something on my phone, smile at the blank screen, pretend. I try to look pretty in hopes that someone will come talk to me. I sit up straight, and push my hair behind my ears. I wait. No one comes over. They’re all busy enjoying the company of the people they already know, the ones they have things to talk about with. And people they have just met, the ones who actually know how to make conversation. People who aren’t me. I feel ugly, I feel lonely. I blink back the threat of tears.
I decide I want to leave. I decide being social just isn’t for me. I convince myself that alone is happy, alone, watching TV can be fun, alone, enjoying the show can be fun. Alone. I think it’s what I’m destined for, and that I may as well enjoy it.
I get up. Say goodbye to my friend. She is genuinely sad to see me go, but she can’t do much about it. She has her own life to live and her own worries, she can’t be worrying about me. At age 23 I can’t expect friends to mollycoddle me. I know I can’t expect it, doesn’t mean I don’t still wish they would.
I get home. I feel to numb to cry myself to sleep. I sit in bed picturing every moment of the night. How stupid I must have looked, playing in my head over and over what people must have thought, how they must have been laughing, whispering.
I look in the mirror. I don’t like what I see. I don’t feel confident. I feel ugly. I feel unapproachable. I feel alone. I try to tell myself I don’t care, but who am I kidding, I do. I care so much. I care too much.
I tell myself never again, that I’m not social and that I won’t put myself out there again. But really, it will just be a few weeks before I relive this all again.