I had pretty much given up on the idea of ever having a social life again, I just couldn’t imagine how this would be possible when I can’t physically be outside of my home, associating with people for more than 15-20 minutes before my chest got heavy, my heart started racing and I was coming up with some off the wall excuse which would explain my sudden need to leave so abruptly.
I met my some of my neighbors about 6 or 7 months ago, we were always friendly when running into each other, we would chit-chat for 10-20 mins about whatever random life event was occurring at the time & then say our goodbyes and go on with our day. They were friendly guys, I met one of them first, the single dad, then he introduced me to his roommates which happened to be his brother & his brothers partner. After several quick, casual conversations we exchanged numbers & made plans to hang out.. But in the back of my head I knew it didn’t matter how much i wanted to commit to hanging out, it probably wouldn’t happen.
They are all awesome guys, and I can relate to all 3 of them in different ways but they continued inviting me over, trying to include in plans, making every attempt to see me outside of the “hallway chit-chat spot” and of course, I made every excuse to politely turn down the invitation without giving away the fact that I was just freakishly terrified of meeting new people.
After going through my normal routine of turning down every invitation to hang out, I felt bad because they were genuinely trying spend time with me because they enjoyed my company and I didn’t want to give the impression that I did not like them or didn’t want to hang out because that was so far from the truth. So I decided to share one of my blog entries with them, one that explains my social fears, I hoped it would show them I wasn’t a bitch or a flake and it wasn’t anything about them that made me say no each time they asked.
Sharing the post with them worked and they fully understood the madness behind my unpredictability. I thought to myself, wonderful now they wont ask & I wont have to say no and we will all live happily ever after while never socializing past the hallway.. Much to my surprise, they didn’t stop asking, they didn’t stop requesting my company, they didn’t drop me like a bad habit. What did happen was very different from anything what I was accustomed to in this situation (I’d been in the same place many times before). They accepted my social awkwardness, adapted to it, even embraced it in a way and I slowly become more and more comfortable hanging out with them, so comfortable I now find myself a little sad when one of them is not around to chill with.
I am thankful for having such good friends that are always pushing me outside of my comfort zone, while staying close by to make sure I’m OK, they use fun and exciting ways to help me conquer social fears while being fully aware of limits and never crossing boundaries. Friends who see me & immediately sense that I need a vent session or a quick escape from reality and the repetitiveness of life. True friends, people who include me for the simple fact that they enjoy my company, people I trust who aren’t using me for something, people who are genuinely concerned with my progress and well-being, this is what true friendship actually feels like and it feels great.
Today I found myself down at the pool for 11 straight hours. I talked to people I knew mostly, but also a few others that I had just met. I did all of things everyone else was doing, I relaxed, I swam, I smoked, I ate lunch, I sang out loud to all the songs that I knew lyrics to and I spent the entire day in my bikini with no makeup on. I felt more comfortable in my own skin today than I have in years and I went the entire day without freaking out that I said the wrong thing or get overly paranoid that people were judging me. I was engaged, interested, and actually able to carry conversations with people I had just met and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my day.