The Wallflower of the Party

Alien Outside Circle

I read this blog post today.

It resonated with me. A lot.

And yet, I’m not and have never been exactly like the writer of that post. I have never turned down an invitation, making up an excuse because I didn’t want to give the Invisible Reason.

No. I’ve always gone to parties and usually enjoyed them, although I knew I could have enjoyed them more. Because while I (perhaps stupidly) don’t worry about parties and other situations beforehand, I do give myself a telling off afterwards for not behaving as I would have liked.

However, there is much in the post that does describe me. Like this sentence:

We see people across rooms talking and laughing with people they met five minutes ago and we envy them.

Like the author of the post, the result of the loneliness poll made me stop and think. And feel sad. The questions was: “How often do you feel lonely?”

35% responded “Often”, 14% said “Sometimes” and only 5% answered “Rarely/never”. A whopping 46% (almost half) responded “All the time”.

Remember, “loneliness” doesn’t mean “being alone.” You can feel lonely in a crowded room. You can even feel lonely while interacting if you feel the real you remains hidden.

That brings me to the first line of the post:

There’s a widespread misconception that people with social anxiety prefer to be alone.

No, they don’t prefer to be alone. Not in the vast majority of cases. They are alone because of nasty experiences of socialising. Because life has taught them that exposure to society results in failure. If only they could have positive experiences to counteract those negative ones, they might venture out and even accept that party invitation.

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