I have been asked on many occasions by my coworkers if I’m up for grabbing a bite to eat after work with them, and on almost all of these occasions I’ve said no. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m genuinely not trying to be mean or distant or unsociable because I really am trying to break my current boundaries in that area. I WANT to be able to just go to a resturant with my coworkers last minute but doing that means opening up a whole new can of worms. Last minute plans in general tend to freak me out because they leave me no time to mentally prepare. Let me explain:
When I make plans with friends, it’s not like I just can pick a place and a time and not think about it again until the day of. No, I analyze the crap out of it. Where am I going? Time to consult google maps and print out a hard copy of the directions, just in case! What am I going to do when I get there? Let’s do thorough research online about what food they serve and what each dish is called so I don’t pronounce something wrong accidentally. What else do I have going on that day and how will it affect what I am going to wear? What’s the weather going to be like? Can a person predict traffic patterns a week ahead of time? How should I act? Do I need a shoulder bag or should a clutch purse suffice? The mental list goes on and on like that for days until the day of pure anxiety actually arrives. All of this goes through my mind pretty quickly but it still takes a lot of time to process it all. This is why I can’t do last minute dinner plans. Over preparing and worrying has become a regular part of my routine at this point, but if I’m not given ample time to do that my anxiety goes nuts.
In the few instances when I have agreed to last minute dinner plans with my coworkers, I’ve regretted it because I ended up having zero fun. I never have anything interesting prepared to say so I just never say anything at all and end up getting left out of the conversations because of it. If we’ve just come from work I’m worried about being in my gross work clothes and how I didn’t have time to brush through my hair or pre-check out the menu so I’m going to take more time deciding on what I want and it just becomes really stressful. It’s generally gotten to the point where people have stopped asking me to hang out after work now but they just expect my answer to be “no”.
The ironic thing is, even if I’m not planning on going with them, I still want to be invited. I feel like that makes no sense but my anxiety constantly tells me that they don’t invite me anymore because they hate me when in reality it’s because they think I just don’t want to go. Sometimes I wish I could make them see that it’s not that simple. I wish that they could see that there is more going on than what they are seeing. It can just be so hard, you know? Over and out my friends.