Which Social Gathering is the Scariest? Seriously?

I’m not usually an Envelope Pusher–my risks tend to be more calculated and I’m not really one to feel the need to push someone’s buttons. I’m not terribly shy, but I don’t rock the boat very much, either (most of the time).

One of my jobs is as a peer writing tutor, so I’ve gotten quite used to being amiable with a stranger right off the bat. The one-on-one is no problem, especially if there’s an agenda for tutoring which we need to follow. That helps a lot. It’s the larger group of people that can make me freeze up. Some examples of when I do push my limits include when I help coordinate events and when I attend bigger parties (so that’s social envelope pushing for me). I just went to a Thanksgiving party last night, and it was much more difficult than I expected it to be. Why? I had been in a social gathering earlier that day which had not been nearly as hard. I’m an introvert, but I’m still trying to figure out what sets me off and what doesn’t.

I think it may have been that I was not in some position of power. I use “power” loosely, to mean that I had more to do besides socialize. For the first gathering yesterday, I was the student coordinator for the group so I had some sort of purpose for being there. I needed to talk to other people to get/pass on information to them and make sure people were talking and stuff. That’s all good. It’s a little difficult for me, but it’s gotten easier with time as I’ve gotten to know the group a little more. I also feel a little more indispensable. Maybe I just like my ego to be stroked a little at these sorts of things… another factor is that the church where it was being held is like another home space for me. I’ve been attending for a solid three years (I don’t count freshman year, because I was an on/off attendee, still deciding where I wanted to go to church).

At the second gathering, it started out alright. We were some of the first to arrive (at an apartment I have never been to before, though it was a lovely one), so the group was small. I felt just fine for the most part. Then, as more people began to arrive, I started getting lost. I felt myself retreating, getting a mite scared. I had little flashbacks to the time when I thought I could be on a basketball team in middle school: we were told to get into groups for drills, but once the groups had evened out with the appropriate number of members there was always one left over. Just one. And I felt like I was making an unwanted intrusion in the group which I had to ask to join. They wouldn’t make eye contact with me until I forced it by asking to be a part of the group. And then it’s like they know. They know that you don’t have any friends on that team so it feels like they’re being the better and very generous people to allow you to enter the group. It happens in more places than the basketball court, though. That’s big envelope pushing for me.

Anyway, the party wasn’t really to the same level of difficulty as the basketball team: I was in a big group of friends and new friends, and they were all people who wouldn’t feel burdened by talking to me (I think). So why did it feel so hard? Maybe it’s that I realized that I might be closer to some people than I thought I was, and I wondered if that was only for the party’s sake that they were being so friendly. Or it may have been that I found that wasn’t as close to someone as I thought I had been. Or perhaps it was the collection of moments when I seemed to be the only one outside of an inside conversation. For these reasons, I’m so glad that I had my boyfriend with me. He’s so good at making friends and interacting with new people that I love being able to ride on his outgoing coattails sometimes. He definitely helped me feel better about being there.

Don’t get me wrong: it was truly a wonderful party! The food was delicious and the atmosphere was joyous! We were all reuniting after a long parting, and laughing with memories and inside jokes. These are wonderful people. The obstacle is just me (though it’s really not as bad as it sounds). I was in a room full of good friends, but I still stalled like a deer in headlights. Hopefully it didn’t show too much while I was there, because I would hate to ruin the night with my own pitiful insecurities. I’m still working on getting through them, which is what’s happening in this post. If you’ve gotten this far, wow. You’re a trooper! Thanks! Maybe you kept reading because you saw something of yourself here in this post. If so, nice! I hope it helps some. If you stopped reading after a paragraph or something, I understand. This is an opening-up post and not everyone is into those. But thank you for stopping by anyway. ❤

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