This is how we cope at parties.

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People often don’t believe me when I tell them that I am really quite shy. I’m learning how to navigate social affairs so that I look less inept, but really, I’m just searching out a quiet spot to sit and rock while looking semi-sociable. In fact, I had a session with my amazing therapist just this week about finding ways to do parties and such. Which was just in time, as my beloved and I had a big one to go to last night.

A 50th.

Yes, I have reached an age and relationship status where I attend significant parties such as 40th and 50th celebrations. My own 40th is still several years away (thank you very much) but I am anticipating more of an online party, where people can sit safely behind their computer screens and smart devices and quietly poke me or similar.

Anyway, anyway, I prepared for the party in such a way that it resulted in this unique tidying up after dinner with The Bear:

Image by my drunken cohort, The Bear

Image by my drunken cohort, The Bear

Yes. That is salt put carefully away in the fridge.

My beloved picked me up and together we travelled to destination: 50th.

This site, as we pulled up, filled me with dread:

There's a light... Image by The Naughty Corner

There’s a light… Image by The Naughty Corner

Most people would look at this and think “What’s the big deal?” or “RIPPER!”. For me? My thoughts went like this: “Ohmygodohmygodohmygoooooooooood!”. But I pressed on, and with my beloved by my side we marched into the party. The people we were going to see are all great. Yes, I know the logistics – no one is going to be expecting anything from me, I don’t have to “be” anyone or anything. Just have a good time. Relax.

Pfft!

The second we arrived, we went inside and I headed straight to the loo. A nervous wee and I’d be fine, I reasoned. This little plan went well. The weeing part did, anyway. But then I realised that I had done something that really, only I would manage to do. I had LOCKED MYSELF IN THE TOILET.

I was locked in the smallest room of a house I had never been to before. I could hear people singing and chatting and yelling and laughing. I could smell the BBQ and the fire pits and the baking. I could hear the Wii and I could hear kids. But for the life of me I could not get that fucking door to unlock.

Terror. Sheer terror. Image by The Naughty Corner.

Terror. Sheer terror. Image by The Naughty Corner.

Upon realising I was trapped, I did what anyone would do: took a photo of the lock that had foiled me. Then I rang my beloved. She was surprised to receive a call from me while I was supposed to be weeing. But to be honest, I’d been gone for some time now. WHERE WAS SHE? I explained the issue to her and she LAUGHED. Then sent help.

I was set free and laughed at for some time.

This did wonders for my confidence.

Actually, it helped. I’d dashed any conceptions of me being a capable adult, which meant the pressure to behave as one was GONE. Sadly, so too was my plan to hide in the loo when I started to feel anxious. Because I will never, ever wee in this particular toilet again.

I met people, chatted, laughed, drank and was merry. Honestly. I really was. As I said, these are good people. Which made me realise that all of the people I choose to spend time with are essentially good people. Which I must think more about before freaking out over the next party.

This was a onesie party. Apparently the birthday boy had been spotted striding along with the wheelie bin one night in his skeleton onesie, which glows. The party theme was born. Best onesie of the night? Minnie Mouse:

Image by The Naughty Corner

Image by The Naughty Corner

Guess what: I had a really good time at the party.

This is a BIG thing for me. Usually I make friends with the woodpile or the resident dogs because my anxiety about it all just goes through the roof. I usually take photos like this:

Hello, Woodpile. Image by The Naughty Corner

Hello, Woodpile. Image by The Naughty Corner

But friends, here is a photo with actual people who were at the party, and who knew I was taking their photo!!

Onesies a-go-go. Image by The Naughty Corner

Onesies a-go-go. Image by The Naughty Corner

I’d call that a win.

Over to you: Do you like parties? How do you deal with anxiety at social occasions? Any tips or hints?

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6 responses »

  1. Good for you!! I’m glad you had fun. How embarrassing would it have been if you misread the the invitation and no one else showed up in a onesie?? I HATE parties, too. I guess I usually have fun at them by the end, but it’s been so long that I really don’t remember. I really don’t like small talk and find it very difficult to break into a group of people who are already talking together. A lot of the time they look at you and then just carry on. Rude. Also, I have had to go to a lot of military functions over the years where protocol is very important and people love to point out any missteps. Obnoxious. And military people like to brag a lot about their careers or their husband’s careers. When we showed up to our final duty station, my husband informed everyone who needed to know that yes, he was married and that no, no one would ever be meeting me. I was done! PS…your fridge is very empty, it looks like mine! Also, love the way you locked your self in the b-room. That is panic inducing. 🙂

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    • Gosh I love your take on life and parties! So true though, people make it really hard. I wonder if they know how hard it is, or if they’re just playing the game better than us? I was actually one of the very few people who didn’t wear a onesie. They’re not built to contain some greatness. x

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      • My take? Women can be very catty and mean spirited. Excluding people makes them feel powerful and gives them a sense of belonging. The men are pretty open to having a newcomer join the group, but if you go around talking to the men…well, then the ladies are really ticked off. Joy to the world!!

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  2. Can’t remember my last party. I usually just don’t go. Haven’t even got to any gallery events/opening nights for a long time. Maybe we could have a party just for people with social anxiety….
    maybe not.

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