I know I am not the only Moodscoper who struggles with social invitations. For some with crippling shyness, making an effort to be sociable will be sheer torture. Others like me may actually quite enjoy themselves, chat away easily with strangers, only to have a brain exhausted and scrambled for days afterwards, with impressions, conversations and embarrassment. Was I too loud, opinionated, drunk?
The worst thing is agreeing to attend something, then as the day gets closer wish I had declined. Depression, insomnia make me crave solitude, but I have an event looming over me.
I am however getting better at spotting the invitations that could-indeed should-be dodged without a scrap of guilt.
Twice in the last week I have spoken to others struggling to get out of something they don’t want to go to.
Reading the mail for an elderly blind friend I told him there was a wedding invitation. He put his head in his hands “Oh no! Not again!”
This was from his 40-ish granddaughter. She is addicted to getting married. Not actually staying married, just the big weddings. This was to be no.4. Locations for the nuptials get more exotic each time. There has been a Scottish castle, a chapel in the Vatican (she is not Catholic) and a West Indies beach. This time it is in India at an ashram, to be followed by another ceremony in the U.K. Close family are expected to attend both.
“I told her I can’t go again, but I’ve been told she will be terribly hurt if I don’t” he told me.
I should add that he is in his 90s’, blind, nearly deaf, diabetic. Apart from anything else, these weddings are a real drain on his modest finances. This is all one big vanity project for her.
Another friend loves coming to a doggie event with me every year, but this year a niece is getting married the day before. ”Between the travelling, the standing around and the panic attacks I will need at least a day to recover” she said. She hates parties of any kind. The couple have lived together for years, bought a house and have 2 kids, but the “terribly hurt if we don’t go” lever has been applied.
I have been to coffee mornings for “close friends” that turned out to be Tupperware parties, leaving parties for people I barely knew, told afterwards that they relied on me to put some money behind the bar, even asked to pay £40 each entrance for my partner and I to attend a Pagan wedding in a field with a bring-your-own food and booze picnic. I politely declined.
A friend told me she was once excited to get an invitation to a dinner part with posh neighbours, only to end up as sous chef and general helper. She never got caught again.
Call me an old cynic, but if you really cannot face going to some social event, ask yourself this - will it really cause “terrible hurt” if you stay at home? What about the hurt to your mental state, and maybe your pocket too?
A Moodscope member.