Often I describe myself as "socially awkward." I like this description for me because it doesn't mean anything in particular. I am awkward in social situations. That is all. Because no other word seems to work perfectly for me.
My new boss thinks I am being vastly unfair to myself. "You are not at all socially awkward," she said. "You are really outgoing."
And the thing is that I am - I am a rockin' social butterfly, but I am also really shy and absolutely not outgoing. I don't like to step outside of my box and talk to people. I actually avoid it like the plague. I am an inside girl. I don't say "Hi" to my neighbors and I don't know any of the names of my kids' friends' moms. I don't gravitate toward social situations or have any real desire to do social things.
But once I'm there and I have met a few people and gotten rolling, I am a hurricane. I am talkative and story telling. I come to life. The problem isn't that social things are hours and hours of torture for me, it's that preparing for them and thinking about them is.
I get sick to my stomach and I start to make up reasons why I can't go. I've literally made myself sick before and then said how sorry I was that I couldn't make it, all while thanking pants that I couldn't go inside my head.
The worst part is that I don't know why I do this to myself. I've always said that I like individual persons, but I hate people en mass. And that's entirely true, but knowing that I like individuals should ease the stress of going and talking to them, shouldn't it?
And even once there and in my groove and having a good time, I will tend to avoid anyone new or less familiar. I will tend to crawl inside my own head and hide, trying to blend into the wallpaper or slipping off to the restroom for a inordinately long time.
This is part of the reason book club is so appealing to me. Book club does not equal socially awkward to me because I know all those people. I mean, sure, it's awkward for the first meeting and even now there is one woman in my book club who joined late and my weird crazy-pants head won't let me remember her name. I think, because then I could talk to her.
Book club - saving me from hermitage since 2006.