Social malfunction

No post yesterday (weird how I posted for the Ides of March but not St. Paddy’s Day!), but that was because I spent most of the day either at work or celebrating with some friends and their friends.

Now, I’m admittedly a quite socially awkward individual. I don’t “get” a lot of social situations. Like, for instance, the barbecue last night. I spent a lot of time sitting/standing around and staring because I ended up in a room with people talking about subjects I either didn’t understand or had nothing to contribute to. And I didn’t know how to go to the other room where the other half of the group was chatting because, like, wouldn’t it be rude to be sitting there and then just get up and walk away for no reason? Or how do you cut into a conversation to say “Hey, no offense, but I want to see what’s going on over in the other room.” Like, I’m pretty sure that would be rude, too. Wouldn’t it?

The true irony? I was mainly among geeks, some of whom I’ve known for a while, some of whom I’d just met, but geeks = family, in a way. I don’t know if non-geeks can understand it, but geeks tend to get me better than the average human. Many of them understand social anxiety and such. So none of the people who knew me would probably have minded if I’d just randomly gotten up without a word and wandered off. And I certainly hope they didn’t mind me not participating in the conversation much. Or kind of awkwardly playing with my phone. Or trying to subtly cover my ears when the overload of sensory input from several people talking at once at a rather high volume got to be too much. I really didn’t want to cover my ears–I’m 99% sure that is rude–but sometimes I just can’t deal. It’s hard to explain.

Another irony: I had a major panic attack on another St Patrick’s Day several years ago due to that same kind of sensory overload. I was at a game shop playing Pathfinder, and there were several different tables of people playing different Pathfinder scenarios (as well as a couple other games going on). The volume levels of the voices were high and the overlapping conversations, and I freaked the fuck out. Too many people talking at once too loudly. I had to close my eyes to focus on the voices of the people at my table so I could keep playing, but it finally got so bad that I had to leave the game and go out to the car and cry for a bit because I was just freaking out too much. It was kind of embarrassing, but my husband was super cool about it and didn’t give me a hard time.  He understood because he knows me so well, so he let me have my moment of bawling and covered for me.

Last night I wasn’t quite at that point, but it was a close one. I really really really wanted out. Like a fight-or-flight response kind of thing.

Why are social situations so goddamn hard? There should be, like, a manual or something. Come to think of it, there probably is a manual. There are self-help books for damn near everything these days.

But I fucking hate self-help books. So I’ll just suck it up, buttercup, and get over myself.


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