July 28, 2013

The real me

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:56 am by Erin

Being socially awkward and insecure is a bad combination. Really bad. There is a woman I know through a group of moms who I thought was right at that border of acquaintance and friend—you know the type who seems nice in group settings and you’d like to get to know them, you have some good conversations that go into some depth, kids have been to each others’ birthday parties, and you’re thinking that you’re at the point where you’re ready to hang out one-on-one. Apparently, I WAY misread that one in the wrong direction. 


There are some women with similar characteristics of this woman that I know online. They were in town and I thought “Hey, they’re at a local restaurant that’s only a few minutes from my house—I’ll go over and say hi for a few minutes!” This was not totally unexpected, since when they posted where they were, I said “Hey, maybe I’ll stop by for a few minutes” and a couple said “OK”. I didn’t invite myself over to this woman’s house (a mutual friend did so earlier today and it seemed perfectly nice, so stopping in at the restaurant didn’t seem like an idea that was too-far-out). I did not invite myself to dinner. I showed up at the restaurant about the time they were finishing dinner, literally planning to spend maybe 15-20 minutes there while they had dessert and paid, just enough time to say hi to this woman and a couple of others that I had actually met, and the ones I only knew from online. 


Wow, talk about me cursing my impulsiveness! When I got there, the other women I knew were fine—casual, but it was nice to see them. The ones I knew online, well, that’s always a little awkward but it was OK. This one woman, though. The only place to sit happened to be next to her, which seemed fine at first. I happened to ask how they’d all met and she said “They’re my best friends. They’re not just some moms who have (this one characteristic).” Clearly implying “That’s all you are.” Ooooooooookay, then. I tried a couple more times to talk to her but it was incredibly awkward and it’s pretty obvious that’s the last time I’ll be seeing her, unless it’s in a crowd.


Then I drove home feeling lousy about myself. Why didn’t she like me? Why weren’t the other people pleased to see me even when they’d been so pleased to see the mutual friend who’d stopped by earlier? What had I done? And beating myself up for…well, nothing.


These are not friends of mine. They weren’t before I went (since I obviously misjudged this one woman). I went mostly out of curiosity to meet some people I only knew online. Why do I care what they think? They’re not people I hang out with. They’re really just people with whom I share this one characteristic. Even “casual acquaintances” is beyond our actual relationship. Why do I care what they think?


And a part of me recognizes that it wasn’t a good idea to go in the first place. I had thought that it would be fun, to hang out with some women and just chat about frivolous things for a few minutes. This particular restaurant was a bad place for that anyway, and I had a weird feeling as I was driving there that maybe I shouldn’t go. I thought it was just nerves since I’m really bad in social situations, particularly meeting new people. Sometimes I feel like I should force myself. Sometimes that works. Tonight, it bombed miserably.


But I don’t need to beat myself up too much. It sucked but it also helped clarify things. It was awkward (from this one woman, almost hostile) and I was clearly interrupting their night out. I shouldn’t have done that but even accounting for that, it helped me figure out where I stand and where I want to stand. It turns out that I stand well outside that circle and it turns out that I’m OK with that, and don’t really have a desire to reach out and try to join it. I thought I did before tonight but now I really don’t. The insecure part of me still wants to know why I’m not in the circle. The rest of me, which is what I’m trying to strengthen, knows that it doesn’t really matter. My circles are strong and fulfill me. I don’t have to be part of every circle.


1 Comment »

  1. electriclady said,

    You know who’s the awkward one here? THAT other woman. Obviously you weren’t trying to crash their night or you would have shown up way earlier. There was no call for her to act like that. You shouldn’t feel bad about yourself (which you already know). SHE should feel bad about being such a jerk for no good reason. I mean, seriously, “They’re my BEST FRIENDS.” How junior high is that?

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