I was flipping through a magazine the other day and came across an article featuring a roundup of fashion picks for a girls' night out. I lingered over the photos of cute dresses and chunky necklaces and thought about how my typical wardrobe consists of yoga pants and a Humane Society t-shirt featuring an unfortunately boob-centric cartoon hamster design on the front.
I also thought about how my last girls' night out was seven months ago, when I went to BlogHer in San Diego. The girls' night out before that? BlogHer 2010, I think.
I don't get out very often, is what I'm saying. Or more accurately, I don't socialize much outside of my family. Or more (humiliatingly) accurately still, I have virtually no local friends whatsoever.
This isn't really by choice, although it's true that I'm shy and socially anxious and introverted and I have a nearly pathological fear of rejection that makes it very difficult for me to reach out to people or even accept their overtures. It's also true that I'm great at making excuses! If you need more: I have an isolating work-from-home job, everyone I know in Seattle lives at least half an hour away, and a tiny yet deadly robot has been programmed to follow my every move and thwart any burgeoning friendships I may attempt.
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(I admit I have no actual proof of that last one, but it sounds better than admitting that I utterly fail at Adult Human Contact 101.)
This feels like one of my more embarrassing confessions, and believe me, I've gone public with more than a handful of personal shortcomings. It's just, you know, what kind of loser has no friends—at 38 years old?
It's been so long since I've struck up a relationship with someone outside of the Internet, I wonder if I haven't completely lost the ability. At school pickups and dropoffs, everyone has the faint Do Not Disturb vibe of impatient passengers at a bus stop. At playgrounds, I can't imagine inserting myself into a group of chatting moms in order to join the conversation. At the grocery store, I'm too focused on corralling my feral aisle-rampaging children to bond with another adult over the deliciousness of Deli Rye Triscuits.
More excuses, really. The fact is, I keep to myself, and other than offering a quick smile, I never approach other people or say hello. That's just my nature, and it's not because I'm purposefully standoffish, it's because I find it nearly impossible to overcome my inherent shyness.
I wonder, though, if I also created this loner existence because I've come to value alone time so much. I'm surrounded by so much noise and chaos on a daily basis, my idea of heaven is an silent hotel room, a pile of trashy magazines, and zero obligations to fulfill. Do I choose to live a life that's devoid of girls' nights out because I recharge by solitude instead of socializing? Or am I missing out on important relationships that would provide some much-needed balance to my parenting-centric life?
I'm honestly not sure. Ironically, the thing that makes me feel the most alone is thinking I'm the only one who's like this—generally happy, busy, and surrounded by love ... but completely lacking in the friendship department. It makes me wonder, sometimes: is there something wrong with me?
Can you identify with this at all? Or have you always had a thriving social life?
Image via Flickr/alexfrance