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… no punchline!
I may have told you this before, but I am socially awkward. I’ll bet everyone else thinks they are too. And maybe they are, they’re just better at hiding it. Oh sure, there are times when I am full of confidence and sunshine, but that’s generally when it’s a one-on-one situation, or the party’s for me. But throw me into a room with a bunch of strangers and I shrink like a slug in salt!
Last night I went to a party that I had no business being at – it was really just an excuse to get out of the house and not have to put the kids to bed for a change. It was a nice party at a bar, but it seemed like everyone there new eachother. There were clumps of people with their heads together, eating and drinking, chatting and laughing. What were they talking about? Probably fascinating topics like work and jobs and bosses and politics and technology. I watched in wonder, with a fake half smile pasted on my face in case someone noticed me. They did not.
What was I doing there? Seriously? I didn’t know the hostess – I walked past her 5 times before I knew who she was! And she didn’t care at all who I was – she had invited 50 thousand people! She wasn’t obligated to know (or greet) everyone who showed up! The crowd ebbed and flowed, but at the busiest I’d say there were about 80 people. A surprisingly poor turnout for someone so popular, especially since it was for charity.
Within the first hour, I was ready to leave. I had to wrestle my own car keys out of my hands! I had paid to get in – I had every right to be there and eat the lovely appetizers (which the friendly staff were so kind in offering me every time they walked by!) Besides, if I left NOW I’d be home in time to put the kids to bed – HELL NO!
But I had to go plug the meter. I desperately wanted to jump into my van and drive away, forget all about the party, and go somewhere else. Anywhere else, actually! But instead I plugged the meter and promised myself to give the party another 1.5 hours (the time on the meter). I returned, bought an arm’s length of raffle tickets, and sat at the table. This time I took the chair next to the wall so I could lean back comfortably while I watched the crowd. Which I did between scrolls – I basically sat there and watched Twitter. Not in a way that would imply I was unapproachable, but in a mildly-amused, nonchalant way. Or so I thought.
The evening dragged on. I had another drink. Some more canapes. And finally the draws happened – I was going to leave as soon as they were done! Ten prizes and nada. One person won 3 times. As soon as she moved onto the silent auction prizes, I hurried toward the door. But not so as to draw attention to myself – just briskly enough that no one would try to catch my eye (though they couldn’t have, I kept my eyes downward and forward, with my eye on the prize – the door!)
I have rarely been more excited to see my van.
While I am proud of myself for putting myself out there and braving it alone, I am kicking myself at the same time. Why didn’t I make more of an effort, just walk up to some strangers and strike up a conversation? Sure people were engaged in their own conversations, but there must have been some way to break the ice with someone.
Or maybe I’m just a stay-at-home Mom with nothing to offer but a list of radio contests.
Verbal compliments make me uncomfortable, but simple gestures are lovely. A retweet. A Like. A smiley face. A thank you.
GUEST BLOGGER: Anne Bruin
Anne Bruin is a 49 year old mother of a 9 year old daughter and a 5 year old transgendered son. She lives in Vancouver, with her husband who owns his own business. They are on the poor side of life but always looking on the bright side!
Featured image via.