One of the problems I've always had is not feeling socially adequate. Oh, I learned to fake it pretty good, but I have serious anxiety issues whenever agreeing to attend any kind of social function, even where I know (and like) more than one person there. The most recent of these events was last night, when I attended a friend's birthday celebration with my husband, at her house. After RSVPing "Yes" last month, I began agonizing about it a week ago, trying to decide if I could get away with telling her I was feeling sick, or something unexpected came up, or my nine cats all died at once... you get the idea. I felt totally stupid and ridiculous, but I could NOT get around the terror. Finally, I looked up her invitation on FB, where I was able to see who she had invited, who had accepted, and who might come but wasn't sure. I found that I knew several people who were coming, and it was a smaller group than I had expected. I was able to calm myself down to the point where I could relax and look forward to it. But yesterday... again... the anxiety began screaming through my head. I told Martin that we would go at least as far as Party City, where I had to return something, and then we would decide if we went from there to the party or home.
We ended up deciding to go celebrate my friend's birthday with her, even if it was only for a half-hour. As soon as we parked and turned off the engine, I was FINE. We ended up staying for a little over an hour, and I did enjoy myself. It did help that most of her friends that I meet are pretty nice and laid back, and since we are both organizers in our meetup group, we know quite a few of the same people. My other friends also showed up, and it was great seeing them again.
WHY does this happen?? Why do some people have no problem at all being sociable with strangers at any type of event, while others would rather be run over and stomped on by a herd of stampeding wildebeest than go to a party for someone they know? And just as important, HOW can we overcome this seemingly ridiculous problem? I say 'seemingly' because there is absolutely nothing ridiculous or funny about it when you are feeling that way; it's demeaning and demoralizing, but never amusing.
(I'm an anthropologist, so you'd think I would know these things, but nooooo...)
So, how do YOU deal with this problem? And if you're one of those people who has no trouble socializing... Share your secrets!! Why are YOU so lucky????? ;-)