Sunday, January 31, 2010

vicarious

I may be pretty fucked up at the moment emotionally and psychologically but I am encouraged by how much better I feel when I witness other people's happiness. I love to see friends happy together, it genuinely makes my heart lift. Seeing strangers exchanging affection brings a smile to my face too. I'm encouraged that I've not become one of the bitter at the world types - those who don't have what they want and hate seeing other people happy. There ought to be more joy in the world, I celebrate anyone who finds it.

That said - yes, the wedding yesterday was not fun for my poor introverted self. I very nearly didn't go due to a mild anxiety attack at having to mingle. But forced myself and even had a good time. Eventually.

But I wasn't the best company. I got into a couple of fights with friends: I hate that when feeling this way I can hold a light conversation with acquaintances/strangers (for a short time..) but those I'm closest to suffer the brunt of my surliness and hypersensitivity. I have some apologies to make tomorrow - and I fear at least one person is sick of them.

I have to learn how to deal with this - the hatred of being in crowds and having to interact with people. Small-talk fills me with a special kind of fear and loathing. The anticipation of the situation is one of the problems - I dwell on it and the anxiety builds and feeds on itself, crippling me even before I get there.

And, yes, the situation with never-to-be didn't go too well. Being that she's in the unenviable position of knowing me best she copped much of the bad. Which she dealt with well: not letting me get away with being a prick at all. I hope one day to be able to be in a social setting with her and conduct myself with equanimity. Yesterday, however, was not it.

Perhaps on Wednesday - when I have to endure a pre-birthday dinner in my honour...

11 comments:

y said...

Mmm.

I remember a time, 4 or 5 years ago, when I invariably flaked on every social commitment, big or small, because I feared I had 'nothing to give'. That's how I phrased it at the time anyway. I suspect the feeling must be similar to your present anxiety. It's bloody horrible.

But it passes. Like all things.

fishboy said...

That's pretty much what it's like. And I've done the retreat & hide thing in the past too. But this time I'm determined to sort my shit out. This isn't right. I need to change.

PS It makes me very happy to read your blog updates :)

y said...

Ha.. it makes me happy to write them..:-) so far, so good. I never thought I'd be able to do this dating thing and yet!
x

Jen said...

I found that at the retreat this weekend I didn't want to talk to everyone and the 'sharing' irritates me. In listening to the conversations around me I figured out that there just wasn't enough time to weed, finagle out the few I wanted. It seemed like every conversation was, at the beginning, a recognizing that what needed to be said would never be gotten to, that there were too many words around those things for the time we had and so all the conversations I had were unsatisfying.

I'm looking forward to spending enough time with you that there's no nagging uncertaintly that our conversations can't be natural and flowing to get where they need to go. 6 more weeks!

Jen said...

oop! and I actually wrote a blog post while I was there. However, I'm doling it out for a bit just in case it was a temporary returning.

fishboy said...

I know what you mean about group 'sharing'. It always seems like a nice idea but ends up being fairly insubstantial and facile - I guess it's really only for building camaraderie, but I find that almost alienating.

I prefer more detailed, in-depth communication with one person - or at least very few others. I like to feel a connection and get a real sense of someone else's personality - and feel like they are 'getting' me. But then I've been told before that I can be too intense.

Hope you manage to get what you want out of this retreat babe, it sounds pretty interesting. And I'm so looking forward to your visit :)

eroica said...

i've been thinking
(oh no, not again you groan)
i've been thinking about the general malaise i've been feeling of late. and i've also been thinking about what you're going through. in particular your thoughts about the happiness which comes from seeing happiness.
my mission: to seek out joy.
give the cynical bitch a holiday, and become joyous. it's doable, right?

helena said...

I hate social situations. I hate them with a vengenance and a passion. I hate walking into a room full of people, I hate being in the room when people arrive. I hate the way my face aches from smiling and I hate having to pretend that I'm interested in what people say, because (in a social situation such as a wedding) I'm not interested at all - small talk is small I don't do small. Plus, I loathe the "and how are you?" "what are you doing now" sort of questions that people ask me, because I always feel that if they were really interested then they'd keep in touch during the interim times (and quite cheerfully ignore the fact that I make absolutely no effort at all to keep in touch with them).

Give me a bottle of wine and a couple of like minded people and I'm happy to talk and to laugh. Give me a large room with at least 10 people "I must talk to" and I want to (metaphorically at least) scratch their eyes out. So such social situations are a trial to me and before I go to them I have panic attacks, consider faking my own death, make horrific character judgements (and often not only to myself) about whoever will be there and am in a bad mood with the world for days.

Then, when I'm there I have to fight against being boorish and ill-mannered and biting people's heads off which I try do by wildly overcompensating my niceness, affablity and well-manneredness. Which makes me loathe myself even more and so the cycle repeats.

My mum's birthday party at the weekend(of which I'll blog today/tomorrow) was a perfect example of this.

Unfortunately now that I've my own business I have to get out there and attend networking meetings and talk to strangers or else I get no work. I can do it. I have to do it. But I hate it.

fishboy said...

eroica: I hope so babe, I'm giving it a go..

helena: Good god - did you just extract that rant from my mind? Well, it was much better written than what's in my head, so probably not. And there wasn't nearly as much swearing as I'd do.

Thank you so much for that! Seriously. I'm overwhelmingly encouraged that it's not just me that feels this way. I've been feeling like such a fucking freak...

And I'm sure I can do it too. I won't like it but I know I can get better at hiding the hate :)

Anonymous said...

You didn't take my advice and stick to the kids and old people - did you.

I think people who are introverts have every right to be introverts and stop apologizing to the extroverts for not doing great at these megasocial events. Make the extraverts come to YOU ... on YOUR TERMS.

Another good strategy for these things is come late, leave early. If you are a businessperson or professional, have someone page you with an emergency that calls you away. Or a parent who left kids with a sitter - I've used that one before. (It wasn't planned - but it worked like a charm.)

Leave them extraverts lusting for more of you than they can ever have. Let them be the anxious ones.

You Don't Know Me

fishboy said...

Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to socialise with the kids - and there weren't any old people. I think it's a pretty wise way of doing weddings tho and will try that next time.

I did arrive late - almost didn't make it at all actually. Just as I was nearing the venue I had an attack of the fear and took a walk up through The Rocks to try to calm down. Didn't work really, but I gained enough courage to actually go along.

And somehow I feel that extroverts/'normal' people just don't really notice if you're an introvert. They just think you're rude or a weirdo. Which, to be fair, in my case is also true.