Party Anxiety but still being social.

I don’t know that I have many friends, and definitely not of the TV sitcom variety, but who does? If you say you do, you’re either lying to yourself or me. So let’s acknowledge that no one is sitting around a bar or coffee shop, gets together every day for breakfast before work or hangs with all the residents of their apartment building. But maybe we would like to spend time with others rather than be alone. I get it and one tip I have as an introvert is to forgo any large event fear you might have and control your environment.

I have a few friends that I share a limited amount with but for the most part keep my personal thoughts and insecurities to myself. It’s not for fear of ridicule as some who might focus on “the way men should act”. Who believe all men my age were raised by Neanderthals who when we stood in front of the TV with a football told us, “you make a better door than a window, get out of the way and get me a beer while you’re at it”. I didn’t have a father, so work that into your narrative of who I must be.

For years I’ve hid behind my relationship with my son. I didn’t arrange ‘bro outings’ or go on the annual fishing trips my wife’s brothers and in-laws went on. Instead I focused on doing those things; skiing trips, bike races and the like with my boy. And my daughter for that matter. She and I would take many days to go do the things she enjoyed or went on weekend camping trips. Now don’t get me wrong, these things I loved. I wanted to be with my kids, but it honestly did make it easy to tell people I couldn’t make it.

And then there is the large parties or gatherings. They exhaust me. I feel like I have to be on and keep being interesting, which I naturally am not. I often get too drunk to soften the anxiety, then potentially share something I would rather have not. Irony not lost on me.

And as usual, after the event I’ll wake up the next day wondering what kind of an ass or how boring I must have been the night before. I do tend to throw a good party interestingly enough. And I actually enjoy it. The reason behind that is I get to be too busy tending to the needs of event that I don’t have to be part of the actual party. Invite yourself over for dinner one evening and see how much time I actually spend at the table with you. I promise, you’ll enjoy the food and my wife is a wonderful person to sit and have a conversation with. But as for me? Yeah we wont be talking much. And if I do spend time with you at a party you can expect me to exit conversations regularly to go check on my youngest son. And if we’re at my house, I’ll just have to be the one who reads and puts him to bed.

I keep promising my wife that I wont pull into my shell. We moved to a great little town in the middle of nowhere, we’re surrounded by a close group who have embraced our family. She shouldn’t be the only one who maintains those relationships. And I really do like spending time with people. I think it’s me that I have a problem with.

As a social introvert, I have always struggled to enjoy large events. They seem so loud and crowded that it’s difficult for me to feel comfortable in the space. That being said, there are many people I like to spend time with and get to know better. And small gatherings where I can at least somewhat control the narrative let me do that. So tonight we are having a few people over for dinner. Nothing big and the dinner I’m cooking is all pre-prepared so I will have no choice but to sit at the table, eat drink and be merry.