The last few weeks, we have spent more time being social than we've probably been in the last year. Birthday parties, nights out on the town, random visits to family in the middle of the week...lately, it feels like I'm away from home more than I'm here.
Typically, even after one such event I would be stressed out and ready to lay in bed for a week to recover. Ok...maybe not *that* bad, but social situations have never really been my thing. I was the girl standing alone in a corner at parties and dances. Sure, I had friends, and I loved hanging out with them, but for some reason more than five people in a room at once tended to render me mute and socially useless.
On Sunday, we had gone to a birthday party for one of friends' sons. There were over 30 guests...and only about 14 were adults. I knew all of the adults, at least from meeting them at similar functions over the last few years. But (and this isn't an excuse, but really my train of thought) it was REALLY hot in the house, my boys were outside playing, and there was not really any place to sit without displacing a mother holding a baby. So, I said some hasty hello's and smiled as I booked straight through the house to the backyard. I came in a few times to try and "hang out," since all the ladies were in the house but, really, it was just so damned uncomfortable in there. I went outside and played with the kids. Somehow 20-some children all under the age of ten are way easier to handle than standing in a hot room with 5 adult females and their babies.
Yesterday, while having dinner with some friends that were also at that party, I got a not-so-subtle suggestion that I work on my social awkwardness. I guess it was a wake-up call because I never thought that my problem was so obvious. My friend just casually mentioned that "maybe" I should "try" to come out on ladies' night to get better acquainted with all of the women in my social circle. Then, perhaps, "you won't feel so awkward at birthdays and baby showers and stuff." It was an attempt at subtlety, but this friend doesn't really have a subtle bone in her body, so there it was, like a slap in the face. The unspoken part was, "everyone noticed you ran from us like a deer in headlights, and we're all a little concerned."
The really sad part about the whole situation is I had been looking forward to that party all week. I was actually excited to get out and hang out with friends. I was especially excited because all of those women are mothers, and it is sooo easy to find something to talk about when other people are parents, too. I felt mentally prepared to interact with other adults and maybe even have fun. But, oh, how terribly I failed.
I suppose it's just something I'll have to keep working on. Perhaps I really will go to ladies' night next week and practice my social skills a bit. Or maybe I'll just crawl back under my rock and pray that we don't get any more party invitations for a while.