This past weekend, my significant other introduced me to a couple of his friends for the first time (we haven’t been dating long so note that I’m still working on becoming completely comfortable with him as well). It was a really casual arrangement, we were just going to hang out at his place and play some video games for a few hours. I was totally fine with it leading up to the actual event and even in the car on the way there. Getting there and sitting down was apparently the only trigger I needed.
I could barely talk. I felt like my throat was closing up and I didn’t know what to do about it. His friends would say something funny and I’d allow a laugh to escape, but that was about it. I had no clue what kind of humor would be funny to them so I didn’t dare try to make any jokes. Thank goodness his big, fluffy dog came over so I had a distraction for awhile. Dogs are my lifeline in weird social situations. No one can judge you if you’re just petting a very happy dog for half an hour, can they?
I think the crux of my situation was that I don’t actually know how to play video games, and though he gently tried to get me to join, doing something new and possibly embarrassing myself in front of people who I don’t know scares the heck out of me. Don’t get me wrong, I do like trying new things, but only in situations where I know the witnesses aren’t going to judge me. I hate not knowing what buttons do what or how to get the special features to work. I don’t care about losing so much as not knowing what to do in the first place. I couldn’t wait for the excuse to leave the house with my significant other to grab a pizza for the group. But that brought on a whole new problem.
Eating. In front of strangers. Nope, uh-uh, not going to do it. This is not happening. I know, I know, I sound like a crazy person. But I am not the neatest person in the world and although I’d never consider myself a slob, I don’t dare take the chance that I’m going to drop the damn pizza on myself (like the klutz I am) and end up running out of the room in tears. Yes, I get THAT anxious around new people. Random strangers on the street I don’t care about, but people that I’m actually going to be seeing a lot more is a different kind of stranger, aren’t they? In my mind they are.
Eventually I got comfortable enough to play some really easy games they were playing and was able to have some fun, but it took me like 3 hours to get to that point and I am really trying to get to the point where I’m comfortable within the space of an hour. I think that may be a bit of a lofty goal but hey: go big or go home, isn’t that the saying? Does anyone else have these problems meeting new people? If so, please drop me a comment! Over and out my friends.