Every Friday night starts the pictures of friends who are out at parties and dinners and with more friends and strangers. I love to see them dressed up and happy but a tiny bit of myself looks at those pictures and feels like a loser because my anxiety disorder makes me run from crowds and there’s no way I could ever do what they’re doing.
It was worse when they still asked me to come with them and I’d beat myself up all week while telling myself that I should and could totally go and then I’d feel that lurch in my stomach and back out at the last hour. And I’d feel relief and regret in equal measure. Nowadays I’ve said no so often that I don’t usually get asked. Which is a great comfort and also a strangely bitter sadness. Some friends still tell me when they’re having a get-together, or invite me with a kind side-note of “I know you won’t come but remember you’re always welcome”. Some have given up on me ever coming to their parties but never give up on me personally and still make time for me in quiet moments, or house-calls when I can’t leave the house. Some text because they know that my fear of the phone will keep me from answering even when I want to talk. Some come to my room at conferences because they know it’s too hard for me to leave the suffocating but safe quiet even though I desperately want to go to see old and new friends just outside my window. And some are gone. They’ve given up on me and I can’t blame them because being my friend is not easy. It takes work and patience and sometimes people come to the realization that I’m not worth it and they disappear. It’s hard, especially when it’s someone you love. But as they drift away, others come into your life. Others like you. Others that aren’t like you but who appreciate having a friend who asks for so little time or effort. Others who will get on google chat with you so you’ll be less alone while you’re quietly playing solitaire. Others who live on twitter because it’s safer than real life…who will be there with you at 2am when you can’t stop the voices in your head. And that is a wondrous thing.
And then it’s Friday again. And the pictures start coming in of your friends out at clubs and concerts and restaurants, and I sit home and feel a perfect mix of glad and sad that I’m not there. And I play music that reminds me that I’ve chosen this life…or it’s chosen me. And that it’s okay. Better than okay. It’s good. Even when it stings a little. The sting reminds you you’re still alive.
I’m still alive. So are you. Find the life you want and make it yours without apologies. Whether it’s loud or quiet or filled with dancing or books, or a combination of each. And I will be happy for you when those beautiful pictures come into my feed of the amazing places you are. And I will try harder to be happy for me that I’m where I am too.
PS. This is one of the songs that I listen to when I start to feel bad that I’m never going to be comfortable in crowded spaces. It might help you if you’re the same:
320 thoughts on “Every Friday night. And Saturday night. And every night basically.”
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I always liked a quiet Friday night at home. Even way back when I was pretending to be a party girl, I was home by nine. And I had an important reason. “Dallas.”
You’re not the only one who’s more interested in spending a Friday night with a book/TV show/the pets. And I’m an actual extrovert! It’s just that sometimes it’s too much. And often there isn’t enough money to do anything else. And I’m tired, really tired.
And I’m OK with that. Besides, my husband is more entertainment that I could possibly need. Between him and the cats and dogs, I’m all set.
And Twitter. There’s always Twitter.
Ida Maria also has a really excellent song called “let’s leave” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXoOxpsz27Q
I love a quiet Friday night at home watching football and eating well 😃😋👍🖖
Yes. This. Thank you. I see you, Loser of Friday Night on the Computer.
I needed this song so much back when I was in my early 20’s and was always the dd at parties and ALWAYS wondered what I was doing “here”.
Omg- that is exactly how I feel right now because I am at home and don’t have the energy to go out and sit in a trendy restaurant or jgo jogging in expensive workout clothes and a face full of makeup like everyone else in this neighbourhood. Do you know of any online discussion groups for people like this? If I don’t have those energy to go out, I would still love to be social in a virtual world.
I would always make time for someone as beautiful and thoughtful as you. Thank you for reminding me to call some of my friends this week. I think I’ll do just that.
I’m sitting here thinking about the fact there’s a smallish gathering of KidLit writers and illustrators meeting up tonight, and even though I said I’d go, part of me is dreading it, and I’m trying hard not to totally chicken out.
Anxiety and self-doubt is such a bitch.
Sending you virtual, non-threatening hugs.
Quietly sending love and comfort to you.
Wild Things by Alessia Cara is the celebration of those friends that stay gold
I can’t do parties either. Or suspension bridges. Both absolutely terrify me and I don’t know why. I’m happy that my husband understands – he is a social butterfly and I live vicariously through him, where it’s safe 🙂
I have learned to label my dislike of public and crowded places as a “dislike” instead of a “disorder”. I dislike those things, so I avoid them.
NYE? Home. St. Paddy’s Day? Home. Happily happily home.
I skipped out on a weekly coffee date with friends this morning because I just couldn’t be social. I can’t explain it, but social and me weren’t mixing. And I decided to be OK with that and was able to go to work and talk to coworkers, but with the distance I needed.
What I couldn’t do was tell my friends why I wasn’t coming. I just said I wasn’t and left it at that. Because how can I tell my friends, who I care about, that spending time with them today seemed like too much? Too hard. Too draining. I couldn’t. I am trying to believe that I am still a good friend, even if I cannot confide that to them with confidence that they would understand.
I just finished reading Furiously Happy last night. You truly save me when I can’t save myself Jenny. Reading your books make me truly laugh out loud so much that my family thinks I’m crazy (which I am). I feel myself in your writing and you truly make me feel less alone. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your humour with the rest of us. I hope to one day be able to have furiously happy days like you do. Much love from Toronto Canada (PS please come back here so I can thank you in person. I won’t rest until I can tell you exactly how much your thoughts have meant to me)
AMEN!!! We could totes be friends.
I really needed this today. Thank you.
The friends I treasure the most are the ones who understand that I can love them from far away. I am great on email. I am wonderful via text. But I don’t answer the phone. I don’t go to bars. I don’t like big parties. Dinner with just you? Wonderful. A small dinner party with people I don’t know? Must we?
I can and do put on my social face when I have to. Work functions and such things. But I really really really would prefer not to. It took me a long time to realize that I’m not broken, I’m just put together differently than other people, and that’s okay.
So if that means Friday night at home reading The Bloggess? That’s just perfect. Even if it meant going to see her at Powell’s when she was actually in town was COMPLETELY out of the question. 🙂
My Friday nights mostly consist of knitting and listening to audio books. Good times! Thanks for the reminder that being me is perfect for me! =)
I love you. So much. You described me to a T. We are like twinsies… only I am a man… and in Alabama… And I’m 3 years older than you. Thank you thank you thank you for letting us peek behind the curtain. Thank you for letting us see that we are normal. Thank you for being you. And thank you for Beyonce’. Knock Knock Motherfucker.
You are perfect and wonderful just as you are. Partying is expensive and meaningless. Me? I’d rather curl up with a good book and a glass of Pinot Grigio.
I am an extrovert, but I’m also an empath so parties are always difficult. I’m always super excited to go and meet new people, but I’m so spent after 30 minutes that I just want to go home. There’s a good chance a lot of those people in the pictures you talk about are smiling because there’s a picture being taken; but they may also be thinking “Man, I wish I was home in my PJs right now, watching bad TV and eating ice cream.”
By the way, your ex-friends are wrong. You are worth it.
I think a lot of us feel this way when we see all those pictures. I kick myself for letting it happen, because I know it’s dumb and jealousy is bad. I try not to let them make me feel angry at my own situation. I get it.
“Find the life you want and make it yours without apologies.” My new mantra.
My anxiety has left me home allergies weekend while my hubby and kids travel far to visit the in-laws for Easter. I won’t make them stay home because of me, but it is hard to keep the depression at bay when I am missing them. At least reading the Bloggess helps!
Thanks Jenny. – Anita
I spent my adult life in the public eye, first as a waitress, and then as a socialworker. I retired, and now my public appearances are only as a volunteer several times a week at the Food Pantry and Community Dinners. I’m good as long as I have a function. But, I so relate to the joy of time to myself! I have a few good friends and family with whom I can joyfully spend my time. Most importantly, I have finally learned to love and accept myself, quirks and all. Your sweet honesty comforts those of us who share your feelings. Thank you!
I totally get it. Thanks to anti-anxiety meds (and a lot of self-soothing), I’m able to poke my head out of my shell occasionally, but it’s still a struggle to know what to do with myself once I’m out. I’m like an awkward, naked, turtle without a shell. Oh, and my go-to introversion songs are “I Am a Rock” by S&G and “Things The Grandchildren Should Know” by Eels.
I’ve lost a fair number of friends this way. It’s hard not to grieve their loss. I also have ones that stuck by me, and I’ll never stop appreciating them.
THIS. So much this. I really needed to hear it today. I love you (in a non-awkward way).
“Find the life you want and make it yours without apologies.” – I love you Jenny Lawson. 🙂
It’s a double-edged sword, isn’t it? In the old days (like our youth) there was no FB or Twitter or Instagram so we only HEARD about the great parties and whatnot, we didn’t actually see them. On the upside, thanks to technology I’ve met SO MANY awesome people who are like-minded; people I would consider “friends” even though we’ve never met in real life. People I would have never met otherwise. Hooray for technology making our lives better! (Seriously. I can’t stress this enough).
I try for a balance between being alone and in company. Being there for friends and asking for them to be with me. Giving, taking, and sharing. Sometimes we each need to be one of those longer than we might like, but then the balance shifts and, in the end, it evens out. You are there for and with those friends who really know who you are. And they are with you. And that is real is love and real life.
This. I was off from work and classes today and went out by myself, thinking I could catch Batman v Superman, but then I realized there were other people out and about and now I’m going back home.
The more I read your stuff, the more I know we could be besties except we’d never see each other because neither wants to leave the house and we’d never talk because neither will answer the phone. However, we’ll always have twitter!
I am a perfect mix of glad and sad, too, so we can be perfectly mixed together! I live with a chronic illness and battle depression right along with it. Some of my friends understand while others have given up on me. I cannot adequately express how much your blog means to me and how much your words resonate within me. You bring hope to and help so many of us mixtures who are floundering around thinking we are alone in this world when, in fact, we are all together right here on your blog. Thank you for providing this forum for us.
Just wondering is glasad a word???
Tales from the Cabbage Patch
I do not suffer and I can’t even begin to understand. Our pastor recently wrote a book – How to Live in Fear – Mastering the Art of Freaking out. His name is Lance Hahn. It helped me understand what those I care about feel like. He talks about what helps him and his family, but also agrees that medication is part of the answer, something I hadn’t heard in most religious settings. He was very real and open about how to work at enjoying life in the midst of what is happening in your brain.
YES. Not only for the weekend photos of people doing amazing things, but because I’ve been torturing myself over a film festival coming in May. I would have to drive an hour to see some of it, and I could interview people and watch panels and it would be good for my writing. But I’m terrified and I don’t want to spend $75 on a pass when I might be too scared/freaked out/hiding in bed to go.
I’m a little older than you, and I’ve finally hit a point where I don’t feel the “sad” when I miss Friday night and Saturday night socializing. I’m gloriously fine with staying home (with or without hubby here). I don’t feel like I’m missing anything at all. You’ll get there. And it will be awesome.
And in a related note, I hope to get you to sign my copies of your two books at next week’s Erma Bombeck conference. You know… if I actually leave my room at the hotel. Because I’m pretty sure I’d feel sad if I missed any of THAT.
(I can’t wait to sign them. And I will be hiding in my room too so we’ll match. ~ Jenny)
I wish I had friends who would remember me.
I so hear you. Thank you for putting words to these things. You are truly a blessing.
i took my husband to see batman vs superman last night and it was terrifying. it was dark and loud and full of strangers and it was terrifying. the strangers kept getting up and walking up and down the stairs and in and out of the theatre and it was terrifying. there were people sitting two seats away from me and behind me and in front of me and it was terrifying. i couldn’t breathe and i didn’t think i was going to make it and it was terrifying.
i took my husband to see batman vs superman last night. and he loved it.
(THIS. Also, Victor finally gets that I will happily go to the movies with him but only if I can sit on the very end of the row so I can escape whenever I need to. If we go someplace that doesn’t have end seats he doesn’t even push it. We just leave. It’s sort of lovely. ~ Jenny)
This sounds so much like me. I want to do things but don’t want to go out. I want to see places but don’t want to deal with the people. Sometimes when I want to chat online there is no one to talk to or I feel like I’m burdening people by just existing. I’ve been starting at this for almost 10 minutes because I don’t feel like I should post it. Like why would anyone care? Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone in this. I think we would probably make great friends.
(I care. I’m glad you’re here. ~ Jenny)
I’ve always had quiet Fridays. I was never the girl that got invited to parties in the first place, but I love my books and I love my family, so it all works out. I played “Here” for my 15 year old DD who’s upbeat and funny, but shy in groups. “Yes!” she said with fist in the air when she heard it. Too many people think everyone else wants the frat party every Friday lifestyle. There are a lot of us who love our quiet lives. That’s a great song.
This is a perfect post to see as we wend toward the weekend. I sometimes feel sorry for myself that I am not one of the people in those pictures. Then I remember that I could be – if that was the life I wanted.
“Find the life you want and make it yours without apologies.” Words to live by.
The other phrase that has saved me? “Pretend you’re good at it.” Thanks for sharing that.
That song is the introvert’s anthem! And I saw myself in every word of your post. Thank Goodness for friends who never give up.
I can relate, but the only thing is I would add “for them” to “sometimes people come to the realization that I’m not worth it” because we are all worth it to somebody and not let ourselves use the excuse of one friend leaving us to push away the others.
I skipped out on an Easter Egg Hunt party yesterday for this reason. I parked at the playground and realized I just wasn’t strong enough to go meet new people. I’d have much rather done something like that with a couple of close friends or not at all. This whole weekend I’d like to just stay quietly in my room and watch Netflix and not deal with people period.
Jenny. Do not feel bad for allowing yourself to live as you feel is best for you. I have a very mild anxiety disorder nothing compared to yours but I hate to go to parties. They are boring. So people stand around drink and talk. I find that exhausting. See your friends when you feel up to it. Your friends understand and will still be there for you when you feel you can reach out.
Me too I have always hated parties. I love that song Here. It’s exactly how I feel in groups.
I had to learn to forgive myself for not going to long-standing Friday night dinners at my friends’ house. When they lived 1.5 miles away I almost always attended, but when that became 4.5 miles I found myself often exhausted and calling to beg off. We compromise with occasional Sunday breakfasts that are far less taxing on my hibernating ways.
I would love it if you were my friend! 🙂
(I am your friend. 🙂 ~ Jenny)
I married someone who seemed to have an active social life, perfect, right? Not so much. It turned out that he was faking it and never wanted to go anywhere again after we got hitched. Our only friends are/were co-workers and since we’ve been retired, I have been a lot like you. Funny how a person can be lonesome, even with someone else in the house. TG for pets!
I get every single word of this. Friends will ask me, “So, what are your plans for the weekend?” They then look at me confused when I respond, in genuine excitement, “Absolutely nothing. I don’t even have to leave the house.”
Firstly, this song is me ALL over!! I just heard it recently and I love how it describes me. secondly, you are not alone. I would much rather be home with my dogs and a movie than out facing strangers, noise and the anxiety they bring. I started a job as a dog sitter because I feel much more comfortable around animals than people, and because it’s something I can physically do with my two chronic pain conditions. I have a few friends who I allow into my bubble, and they’re the ones who understand that I’m not faking the anxiety and pain, and who are willing to meet me on my own turf. To be honest, the ones who don’t understand and who are less than accepting, aren’t people i want to have around anyway. I recently started therapy, and it is helping with some issues, but when she suggests pushing the boundaries of what I find safe and comfortable, I get anxious. Who wouldn’t tho, I guess. I don’t think I will ever be a social butterfly? Or someone who is comfortable at parties, or someone who even wants to go to parties. To be honest, if I can’t find an animal to cuddle at a forced social gathering I usually go fetal on the couch, escape to the bathroom, or if I can, leave. We are not alone, we are all in this together, clinging to dogs and cats, and praying people don’t talk to us…
I’m here at home, too. I’m glad not to be in the pictures, even though the invites still come.
I’m glad you’re here, talking to us by the magic of the Internets. gentle hugs
I’m a horrible mother. I’m feeling sorry for myself because I’ve had to cancel yet another sitter & my plans. My 8 yo’s OCD/ anxiety is off the charts d/t Easter & our incoming spring break trip. He gets very aggressive & angry when OCD/Anxity is a “10”. I pray every day that he’ll be able to enjoy life like other children. I hate anxiety!!!! Ok, I’m done….cheers
Our Fridays and Saturdays are spent at home. Our whole family are introverts. We are all perfectly happy to watch tv, read, surf the web, or just be wuth each other. You are not alone.
So, yeah… I moved here 6.5 years ago and aside from my housemate I really still know no-one here. This is not at all helped along by the fact that I pretty much never leave my apartment (self-employment plus one shared vehicle plus housemate that works nights and thus said vehicle is unavailable). And I love what I do and my apartment is nice and most of the time I don’t mind the being alone but sometimes “alone” is sad and I miss having friends.
I would totally be friends with you. We could have wine slushies and watch movies or just sit and read or maybe I could get you hooked on coloring sweary adult coloring books (yep, it’s a “thing” and I love it).
I don’t even have any close friends anymore. Before it was just work friends, I saw them there and we talked and it was good because I felt safe there. I was there for 20 years then the company went out of business. Boy did that rip a hole in me. I don’t believe I will ever get that back. Where I am now its just work and thank goodness that I am pretty much alone most of the time. It has been so hard and all I want to do every day is get home to my safe place. The only people in my life are my husband, my son, his wife and my grandson. They are my world and at this point I’m OK with that. Do I sometimes wish I was able to do all the things? Yes, but I know that’s not me and I know I can’t. I have tried and it is painful. So I do what I can when I can and know that it’s OK.
Thank you – I completely understand. I wish I’d known that more people felt like this when I was younger. I would have spent a lot fewer tortured nights out in my 20s trying to be someone I’m not (and feeling badly about it).
I’ve never felt bad for not wanting to drink someone else’s cup of tea.
I understand. My friends are embarking on a girls’ weekend to Nashville in July, and the entire thing caused anxiety from the start. I know they want to bar hop and party and I just can’t do it. I would be miserable and I know I would make them miserable as well. So, I backed out under the guise of “too expensive”. I will miss them, and catching up and getting away from life, but I know I would be anxious and uncomfortable the entire time. To quote Dr. Seuss, “You are you, and no one is youer than you!” Embrace it, don’t apologize for it.
I’m usually the effervescent party gal when at gatherings with friends. Large functions with strangers are another matter, and another story.
When you were scheduled to appear in the city near my town a few months ago, I kept telling myself, “I will go to this. I will go to this.” Every day, I planned to go. I marked it on my calendar. I even asked about bringing your first book along to be signed along with the new one. As the date drew closer, I told myself, “I’m going to this.”
I didn’t go. It tore me up. I felt so guilty. I rationalized, thinking, “She won’t notice I didn’t show up. She has hundreds of fans there, and I wouldn’t be a blip on her radar anyway.” But I still felt like a heel.
Reading this, I feel a bit better, knowing that you of all people would understand.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. I understand.
So much this!
I can relate. I used to get invited out and there was no way I could go. I’ve lost friends because of that. But the few that stayed get it and make the time to see me.
My anxiety got to the level where I had to delete my Twitter account.
It got bad one night. I felt so panicked and judged that I locked myself in the bathroom, sat cross legged in the tub crying and deleted most of my social media accounts in an attempt to become invisible and well not me. While I very much miss your tweets, I look forward to your blog and Instagram posts. And I have your books to turn to.
I have a friend with the same anxiety condition and your posts about how it makes you feel help me reach out to her so she never thinks that I am going to disappear or forget her.
Thank you for this! This song is me completely.
Me too! Jenny, you nailed it with the mixture of feelings when it comes to this stuff. I’m at peace with my quieter life, but at the same time I feel guilty that I might be a boring mom and not making weekend plans like so many others.. but I really just don’t have the energy. I need to recharge. In the quiet of my home. And I HATE answering the phone. What’s wrong with just texting??
I’ve earned the Idiot Introvert Award this week. Decided it would be fun to have a few lavender streaks dyed into my naturally gray hair. Looks awesome, and it’s really fun — except now strangers feel the need to talk to me about it. Everywhere I go. I failed to consider the attention-garnering aspect.
Also, people comment way more about my purple hair than they ever did about any of my tattoos.
Once again you are a great voice for us. My depression and anxiety have been under control for years and then the last few weeks it exploded. I don’t know why. And now I can’t even tell if its better or if I got used to it. It scared the crap out of me, but I have great friends and family and I remembered you and realized I’d get through it, somehow, just like you do. Thank you.
The fear of answering phones is a thing? I thought I was the only one. My fear of crowds and idiots are keeping me from experiencing a once in a lifetime event today.Hubby couldn’t take time off to go with me. I feel like shit because of it. Tonight is gonna suck balls.
Thank you. I’ve been dealing with some pretty cotton-mouthy anxiety over the last two years. So many friends have written me off because I’ve backed out and stayed home. Sometimes I just can’t do the noise, lights, crush of people, multiple conversations all at once, and sitting in the corner, alone, watching everyone else’s over the top laughs. And it never seems like my friends get this. They just think that I’m being unsocial or rude or any multitude of other things and I’m just trying to breathe in and out. So, round about, thank you for putting it into words. For letting all of us know that there are others out there that sit at home and feel bad (and sometimes a little guiltily happy that you’re at home and comfortable with your re-runs and tea)
On of my favorite phrases is “quiet Friday night at home.”
This. I really needed this years ago when I felt the worst of the sadness. High school and college were really hard. I still need this, to know that I am not alone. I have accepted the need to stay home, though it doesn’t make it hurt less always. One of the reasons I work weekends and nights. People cant argue with work.
Can we make a group of Friday night Twitter party for those who want to stay home? Tweet me folks: @writeandrescue
I don’t go out much unless I’m on my own because my husband doesn’t want to go out. I just about have to drag him out to friends. He isn’t anxious, he is just antisocial. He would rather spend the night in front of the computer than visit friends so I go alone often.
I’m with ya every Friday night, me and my dog, Diesel! 😂 I used to have my hubby with me, but he passed away in 2002. He was my protector and my shield from the outside world. Since losing him it has been an uphill battle, but with the few understanding friends and my equally understanding sons, I’m doing ok. When I freak out and need my hubby but know he isn’t here physically, I listen to the Dixie Chicks, Cowboy Take Me Away, helps me every time😘
Here’s to all us Friday Freaks hanging out together….in different houses😂🙌🍷
Thank you for this! Tonight I’m not going to a birthday party of someone I like, but there will be lots of people I don’t know there, a sure recipe for anxiety. This helps me feel better about my decision and myself. We are good people sitting at home, together in our not going outness.
The first time I heard that song, I started laughing to myself, feeling like the song had been written just for me. Hang in there and know that there are so many of us out there that enjoy our Friday nights at home in our pjs, with our favorite book in hand or movie on the tv.
I keep thinking how much I want to make a friend. We moved to a new state and my husband doesn’t want to hear all of my “girlfriend type stuff.” I’ve even made it out to two of those MeetUp type events. But I can’t connect. I’m afraid to. The people in my life who are still my friends now after many years know all of my quirks and weirdness and haven’t ditched me. A lot of people have ditched me over the years, people I’d invested time and trust and energy into, and I’m tired of trying anymore. I’m afraid of more rejection and disappointment and insecurity and feeling stupid for believing once again in something that wasn’t worth my time. There are very few people who come looking for me when I hide. Most are too busy with their own drama to care.
My anxiety has made my home my sanctuary. I have to go out to work but I LOVE being at home in the quiet, which only happens when my husband is not home! I don’t miss going out because I don’t want to in the first place. 🙂
I have “friends” who live 10 minutes away who won’t come see me, so I don’t bother. In the meantime, I have friends on the other side of the country who drop everything if I message them that I’m sad.
Too many people have replaced social interaction with social media, and it’s not the same thing.
I know this only to well. It’s Friday night and I’m happily binge watching Cold Case and reading twitter.
Yep, yep. Can totally relate to this. I’ve always been a homebody, even when I was a free-wheeling 20-something with an awesome income and no kids. Still just wanted to watch TV under a blanket and not interact with anyone. So, just remember that I’ll be joining you… separately. 🙂
You are the Queen of the world you’ve made, and when you are Queen of your world YOU NEVER HAVE TO SHARE YOUR CROWN. I bow to you, Queen.
Oh how I can relate. I’ve chosen a life of solitude. Just me and words mostly. And wow! She has a great voice.
P.S. Jenny….I do care and think of you. Would love to reach out and chat. I met you in Wichita…. Awesome…. To jar your memory….I made you the spoon handle n sunflower necklace. What’s the best way to stay in touch? You mentioned Google plus and Twitter.
“sometimes people come to the realization that I’m not worth it . . . ” No. No “realization”. They may have concluded so, but that is NOT reality.
I understand this SO well, mostly because I am a bit of both. And when my introvert kicks up and takes center stage, my extrovert is hurt and sad, and vice versa. Can’t I just go out and do all of those fun things and be all of those fun places without actually having to leave home or socialize?
You’re lucky that you have people that will do all of those things. I’m jealous, since I don’t have any friends. They all gave up or I pushed them away.
since “knowing” you & Cakewrecks Jen, I feel less guilty about my preference to stay home. I realize that it’s just one of many kinds of normal. Thank you for that.
I’m mostly extrovert, but I’ve also lived through suffocating anxiety years that kept me from even wanting to talk on the phone. Or be in a crowd. Or get strapped into something I couldn’t control (amusement rides, anyone?). Most of the time I guess I’m an extrovert, because when I see my husband talking to a neighbor in the yard it’s all I can do to not sprint out and join the conversation. I leave nostril marks on the window as I try to decide if I’ll look like a desperate wombat dashing out there. Nowadays, health issues have narrowed food selections and even the level at which I can laugh/talk/function. I sometimes feel like the girl in the bubble. So I’d totally chat with you anytime on gtalk or twitter. I totally get it.
Thanks, Jenny, for giving so many like-minded souls a tribe to belong to. You, Twitter, and other blogs like yours all help when the FaceBook happiness explodes in our faces like a slap of cold water.
Most of my friends have arrived at an understanding that social gatherings are unlikely, but there’s still a straggler or two that can’t seem to understand that the same applies to telephone conversations, too!
In-person — and I consider on the phone to be in-person — interaction with other humans is simply too draining. And usually just plain annoying. A lot of annoying. So so annoying.
Interacting by text, email, etc allows me to slow it down, keep the energy vampires from sucking me dry.
I wasn’t always like this. But I am now. And the only time I have a problem with that is when I have to try to explain, make an excuse, apologize …. ach! Bless the happy Tiggers of the world, for surely they are what keep it spinning, but curse their blind spot when it comes to dealing with Eeyores!
I have a personal mantra: Why Be Normal? By society’s standards anyway.
Yes, I am my own mix of wild and joyful, out-of-the-box woman, sometimes terrified of what will be, sometimes sad, but more often content with quiet and solitude and the space to create…(sometimes I just create messes, but other times, tiny masterpieces…)
I think we are all fiercely fragile, and like the Japanese technique of repairing broken things with gold, I believe we too are more beautiful with our patched together flaws.
Thank you! I wouldn’t say I have anxiety among crowds but Dear Husband and I loathe going out and socializing. We are homebodies to the max. Plus I cannot drink for the next ten years while on cancer meds so being out with others who are likely to be waving cocktails in my face doesn’t appeal.
Took me a long, long time to accept and then make peace with my introverty self. Fighting it made me miserable. So much more content now.
I have finally reached peace with my anxiety disorder / agoraphobia / introvert self. I look forward to Fridays because it means that I have three whole days when I don’t have to open the front door. The bliss that this realization gives me is astounding. I have friends that don’t get it, but not many anymore. Good friends know what it means when I reply to their text with “nonverbal.” I rarely post here, but still count you among my friends, Jenny. You helped me get me and who does that if not a friend? ❤❤❤
I never go out anymore at all. Well, not that is a lie, I do sometimes go over to my mother-in-law’s if we get a taxi there, and I get to leave the house when my parents come to visit, and on good days (ie when there is no wind) I go into the village centre and go into real shops – there are real things in there and you can touch stuff (well, some stuff, and you do get funny looks at times).
None of my friends live near here. The ones in London understand why I can’t come to see them anymore. My friend in the West Country understands why I can’t go to see him. My other friends are in America, so they don’t mind that I don’t go out with them. Not that they go out much either anyway, so they totally don’t mind me staying in. So I hang out with them on facebook, or go into the online game I play and run around and explore and not have to actually talk to anyone unless I want to. And that is fine by me. The people who get I am ill are the ones I want as friends, and the ones who don’t believe I am ill, well they are the kind of friends that I don’t want.
I think what I am trying to say is that staying in is the new form of going out, and long may that last 🙂
This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I’m a quiet nights at home all the time, too. And I’ve lost friends over my anxiety, and even a few family members, sadly. But then I find people online who are not only home at night like me, but are posting about the same weird, geeky things I am, reading the same books I am, watching the same shows (over and over) I am, and if I need some excitement, I can always make a fort with my kids and watch My Little Pony. Because friendship IS magic, even if it’s only online.
This just reminds me how incredibly difficult it must have been for you out on your recent book tour. Thank you again for putting yourself through that for your fans (and for some Rory go-time).
Jenny, this post was so much like me, I could have written it. Every word resonated. I haven’t been out of my house since September of last year. (I even rescheduled my doctor appointments for later in the spring. ) Thank you for being you and for sharing your life with us.
Real friends never give up. I’m lucky enough to have found a few of those too.
I’m at the point where my kids are grown and gone, one has a wife and children, one has a steady girlfriend. The problem is, when they left, the part of me that had to be social enough to pass for a good mom, just went away. Now they give me maybe one day’s notice of when they’re going to be by, or need babysitting, and it just makes me cry because it’s an impending “too much” with not enough preparation. Does that even make sense? I’ve got to get it through their heads that i love them dearly but I need more notice when they need my time. Ativan is my closest, dearest friend.
Thank you, Jenny. It is amazing how much guilt I feel for turning down fun activities. Unfortunately, most of the people in my life are not very understanding about the whys and ways of me. They know I would love to go, but are still full-on pissed when I cancel or decline the invite. This is when I am so glad to have my fur baby. And Jenny Lawson.
About the people who “come to realize that I’m not worth it”….it’s “…who realize that I’m not worth it to them”. You ARE worth it. Period. End of story. That you aren’t worth it to them only points out what buttheads they are. And, they can be buttheads if they want but they will always have a Jenny-sized hole in their lives.
You are worth the effort Jenny. Always.
Sending a hug but only if you want it.
PS. I sit on the end of movie rows too. It’s the best place 🙂
The first time I heard this song, I thought, oh my goodness, this girl gets me. This….this is MY “party” anthem. What the hell am I doing here? I don’t want to be here. Can’t we be somewhere quiet, just a few of us. Even when we are being silly and loud but it’s intimate and not intimidating. Which is why I don’t go to parties/bars or clubs. Some bars, maybe but not sit at the loud bar, sit at a table where I’m not completely surrounded by strangers. And I think, this must be why I’m a single 37 year old female, because if I don’t go anywhere, how can I meet someone (especially when the online thing hasn’t worked out). Then I think if I did meet someone at a party or club they probably wouldn’t be the type of person I would want to be with anyway, unless of course it’s their one night out of the year that they concede to their friends and go begrudgingly outside their comfort zone. Sigh.
Yup. The really draining things for me in group social settings are the superficiality of the conversations, people talking “at” each other rather than with, and the inevitable person looking for attention with something like “I’m SO tired. Ron and I just got back from PARIS (France, not Texas) two days ago.
My friends all refer to Friday night as my “hermit night”. After a week of dealing with people at work, it’s always been my one night to stay home alone (or with my significant other) and just totally veg out. Any time we have social obligations that bring us out on a Friday night, I dread it with a fierceness and often end up in tears and then canceling anyway. So we don’t make Friday plans anymore, lol.
All of this is familiar to me. I’ve been called a liar and a disappointment when I told people what was going on with me. The relationships with those people (family) are now irretrievably broken, in spite of the civility and fake happy smiles when we’re forced to interact. I do not go out, and I used to do the backing out at the last minute thing, but now people don’t invite me either.
I think the most important realization I ever had was that it wasn’t me being sad because I wanted to do the thing and couldn’t. It was that I didn’t even WANT the thing. I THOUGHT I wanted the thing because society told me I should want it. But fuck that. No, I DON’T want to go out. I DON’T want to be social. I DON’T want to answer the phone. FUCK THAT. Life is too short for me to hate myself for not wanting what society thinks I want. Yet another reason I avoid Poisonbook like Ebola. I don’t want to see that shit. And frankly I don’t care what other people are doing.
I have 5 real friends, counting my husband. And that’s it. I can’t handle more, and that is okay. I’m a lot of work, too. These are the few people who think I’m worth it. I’m grateful for them. I’m on new meds now, due to a combination of factors. Self-harm, serious psychotic episodes, etc. These are the people who do not judge me. Who support and love me, fucked up as I am. And they don’t love me in spite of my fucked-upness. They love ALL of me, including that. Unconditional love is the most difficult thing in the world to find. I love them just the same way they love me, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.
I like to say I don’t have FOMO, I have FOBI (fear of being invited). : )
Meh. I choose to stay home Friday and Saturday, and really most other days. I’ve discovered all the interesting people are home hiding behind their computer screens.
Over several years, I’d got to the stage where I was quite social for someone who’s basically afraid of humans. The last five months, that’s gone. Dealing with an avalanche of stuff happening, good and bad, I’ve been exhausted and anxious, and my regular nights out have gone. Now things have got quieter, I keep /almost/ going out, but faff around at home until “oh look, I’ve missed the bus. And the next bus. And the one after that. And now it’s 1AM.” Have to remember that even when it’s fun, it’s hard work for me.
Sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t. I can’t do big crowds, events where I don’t know many or anything past 9:00. I can do small parties with good friends most of the time, although I will still think of ways to get out of them right up until it’s time to leave. I married an extrovert and this year, I told him I wasn’t going with him to a convention where I won’t have any support system and I was going to spend most of my time in the room. I know he doesn’t always understand that even at parties with our closest friends, who love me, I get nervous and anxious, but he didn’t push it, he’ll just go by himself and probably have a better time, because he won’t be worried about me. Have a happy Friday night and cuddle the animals
I’d send you pictures of my Friday night but it’s usually me sitting on the couch catching up on the shows I’ve DVR’d all week. 🙂
This struck such a chord with me. I never figured out how to socialize sober. Spent way too much of my life just shy of blackout drunk before I figured out a way to live without alcohol. Unfortunately, when I stopped drinking, my tolerance for crowds went right out the window. My definition of “crowds” varies from day to day – hell, sometimes from minute to minute. There are days a crowd is anybody besides me. On good days I can comfortably interact with as many as 5 – 7 of the people I love best. Other times, I’m afraid to answer the phone or even check the mail. It’s so good to know there are people who understand that.
After 50 years I finally realize I am an introvert and not a freak! I still feel inferior for not being “exciting” or exhausted by all the things we do. Sometimes just doing normal tasks is exhausting. Thanks for being there to let us know we are not freaks.
Now go away.
I waitressed/bartended almost every Friday night for 15 years. People are almost never having as much fun as they would like it to appear that they are. Friday night tempers are short and people are hungry, tired, and cranky. Now, I teach special ed. and take myself happily home on Friday nights and eat takeout with reruns of “Bones” and my favorite fuzzy blanket. I cannot envision a better way to unwind and welcome the weekend. Sometimes I’m still awake at 9:30 pm!
I can look like I’m having the time of my life while I’m freaking out inside. I hate it and yet when people look at me they say “But you’re so good at parties” and “you looked like you were having the time of your life.” Key word is ‘looked’.
I can so relate. Often facebook and Instagram make me feel like I am missing out. One of the reasons you inspire people like me is that you know what is best for you and act accordingly. I appreciate that. I’ve spent most of my life dragging myself places to prove I can do it and then suffering. It’s good to know your limits and embrace them. You have an amazing life and it goes to show that when you fully embrace who you are, you are rewarded with other gifts. Your lovely family and friends and relationships all grow from that place. I am so glad that you share your experiences with us. I am better for it and I thank you.
I’ll be thinking of you when I’m home this evening. Making pizza for my family and having a glass of wine, quietly at home. I don’t choose to be an introvert, and I don’t have extreme social anxiety, but it’s enough to make me wish I didn’t sometimes. So many things would be easier. But here we are. My little introverted, somewhat anxious family, staying home each evening. Happy, but very, very quiet. I know what does help–knowing there’s a whole bunch of people kind of like me! All out there supporting you and all of us.
Thank you for this. I am sitting here just crying. I love people but am so uncomfortable when I have to be out in the world. It continues to grow worse. Most people are shocked when I tell them that. They see me differently than I see myself.
It is so exhausting because we try to be “normal” (whatever the heck that is…) and “fit in”
so we won’t just immediately repel people, It’s so much work, it just drains you. It does help to know its not just me. Thank you for all your inspiring, intelligent, sensitive and so funny words. You are a bright light.
I just downloaded about a hundred free books to my Kindle. Because it’s Friday night.
“sometimes people come to the realization that I’m not worth it”
Bullshit! You ARE worth it, you are SO worth it. Perhaps they come to feel that you’re not worth it, but they are wrong, and you are worth it. So it’s not a realization that you’re not worth it, but a realization that they just don’t want to try. And that’s fine, but it’s on them, not on you.
It’s always nice knowing I’m not the only one who enjoys being at home where it’s quiet and safe. I feel lonely for my friends and family, though… It’s a strange feeling of “come here, go away”. Makes me feel like such a loser, but I can’t seem to help it. The guilty feelings really go to work on me….
A lot of social pressure would be eliminated if we brought back the concept of and the word itself: acquaintance.
Oh how I love it when you tell the truth, and your truth is mine too, and I have an a-ha moment!! You are like fuckin’ magic to me!!
This post hit me so hard. I’ve been feeling the exact same way. My reason is a bit different — I have chronic migraines — but in so many ways it is the same b/c it is an invisible illness that most people don’t understand or don’t believe. My world has gotten so small because my headaches are unpredictable and I end up breaking plans a lot. I had one friend I thought understood, but a year ago she told me she couldn’t be friends with me because I couldn’t put in the same effort she does. That killed me b/c I’m also an introvert, so it took a lot of courage for me to even tell her about my headaches and how they incapacitate me. So now I’m afraid to open up to people plus I’m really housebound by multi-day migraines. That’s why I come here! Feels less alone. xoxoxoxox There’s lots of us with you, Jenny. We may not all share the same reasons, but we know how it feels to be isolated and alone.
I tried to marry an extrovert. I thought it would balance us. After 16 years, he left. And even though I still miss parts of our life, I really don’t miss the pep talk (and nap and caffeine) I’d have to give myself to prep for A NIGHT OUT!!! WHOO-HOOOOOOO!!!! Until 2-3am!!!! — No. I don’t miss that. Not one little bit.
We all have bits of our life that sting, even if they aren’t all the same bits, and we are all together in that. Wishing you a peaceful Friday. I can’t wait to get home and chill on the couch with my pets. 🙂
It’s even harder when you’re an extrovert and your body fights against you. I live with constant pain, so I’m always afraid that I’m going to get a migraine or have a flare. I’m the supportive friend that’s there at 2 a.m., and I haven’t found the one that’s there for me. It’s a very lonely place to be.
Xi am the king of the last minute cop out. It hurts to know that if I would just go I’d be alright. Book recommendation; “The Disapearing Spoon…” By Sam Kean. Hope you have a good Friday evening.
My husband is in treatment for anxiety disorder that’s threatening to progress into agoraphobia, which his mom has. I have my own issues with bipolar disorder. The struggle has been so very hugely real for him, for us. My heart to yours, Jenny. I hear resignation in your writing, although I’m not sure that’s what you intend. Regardless, the “fight” needn’t be relentless. We need to live on our own terms sometimes, maybe always. Inch by inch, as the Prophets say. (That’s totally a bogus DS9 reference … we’ve spent much of our weekend nights in rewatching Star Trek series and, actually, Chiller Channel B-horror movies — not that you’re looking for recommendations.😉)
I have a ticket to Bonnie Raitt tonight. It’s just me. I’m sitting here trying to will myself to go. And wishing I could just stream in.
Wow. I am continually grateful that you can be brave enough to say this stuff out loud. This is something I struggle with too, so very much. One of the worst parts, for me at least, is how lonely it can make you feel. That’s why it’s so awesome reading this, because it reminds me how very not alone we actually are. Thank you, Jenny, you rock!
This is beautiful Jenny! We’re okay just the way we are, here with our words on a Friday night! 🙂
Hella yessss. It really sucks when people realize that I’m too much work to be friends with but hey I don’t need the haters right? Got enough of those in my own head. Love the song and you and everyone here 😘
If I didn’t stay in on Friday night, how would I watch Grimm? 🙂 At the end of a long work week, I’ve come to really appreciate a quiet evening in front of the TV or a book (or my laptop, or my smart phone). Going out means my husband and I going to our favorite diner and having pancakes for dinner– not exactly the lifestyle of glamour! But I’m ok with that. Parties aren’t always what they’re cracked up to be (coming from the girl who can usually be found in the corner, talking to the cat). Don’t let the curated lifestyles of others color your choices!
I am good with Friday nights at home. I love Friday nights at home. Fridays nights at home are the best. Plus I have booze.
Great post (and brave)! Friday nights out are over-rated, my friend. I’m sorry that you struggle with anxiety. My prayer is that one day you will be able to step out and into one of those somewhat crowded places without fear. We all have a cross to bear though. We also have talents, gifts, and abilities that others wish they had. Keep your head up. There’s always hope. 🙂
By the way, I love your writing style. 🙂
I used to be social and had friends, but it took such a toll mentally and emotionally to wear that mask, I finally gave up the pretense. I have backed out of so many invites at the last minute that I no longer have friends. Even my fiance gave up on making plans. Now if we do something it’s only because I decide I can Right Then. My family accepts the way I’ve become and don’t pressure me but I feel guilty all the same. But no matter how alone I am, I’m not alone in the world because you’ve let me know it’s ok and there are others.
Argh this speaks to me on a deep level. That mix of glad and sad, I know it so well. That initial relief of cancelling a plan or saying no which is then quickly replaced with frustration and sadness, I’ve felt that more times than I can count. This post is very comforting and lovely 💕
This post hits so close to home. I used to love going out and hanging out with friends. Now it’s a huge struggle as I’d rather be at home because it’s safer. When I do go out with friends or such, which may only be a few times a year, I count down the minutes until I can leave. Not because I don’t love my friends (or what I have left of them) but because I’m terrified I might say or do something that I regret. I went out to a club last night, first time in 4 years and I spent all morning apologizing to my friends because I can’t stand to think of the fact that I let loose and it must have been awful for them because I’m such a mess of a person that it had to have shone through when my guard was down.
The song ‘here’ is my favorite because it’s how I feel on a daily basis. You are not alone. Anyone who is worth anything in your life will still be there even if you’re not able to get out, because your friendship is worth so much more then making dinner dates or going to clubs. The best nights I ever have are when my bestie comes over an we watch movies all night sitting quietly on my couch not talking to each other because we’re just so comfortable with each other that we’re happy just being in each others presence. That’s what friendship is, she knows that’s all I can manage to do and never asks for more.
My health keeps me from going out most days and all evenings so it’s a good thing that I’m a loner who has never been lonely, someone who enjoys solitude, books, and her own company. I really do love my friends who have stuck with me, and who (despite growing used to the fact that socializing is not on my agenda) continue to issue invitations with hope. Still, if I were to miraculously become well, I’d fall back on the myriad of excuses I used prior to this state of affairs.
that song is perfect! i think i would like it if friends still invited me places and tried to include me with understanding, but they’ve all given up on me. except this one couple we go out with a lot, and she isn’t really supportive. i texted her once so i could get some support because i was feeling really bad, and she said something like, “you should talk to your doctor about that.” and didn’t even offer any sympathy or caring. it was like i was talking to a stranger on the street. or an uber driver.
Perfect song choice. The first time I heard it I had to google the lyrics,and play it for my husband. I felt like it was written for me. In my single days friends were always trying to get me to go out on Friday and Saturday nights with the claim I would always be single if I didn’t put myself out there. I ended up sitting alone in the corner people watching. I learned that wasn’t how I socialize best, so I joined E-harmony and found someone who totally gets me.
At least you have friends. Be very grateful for that. But I do feel your pain. I am socially inept and have borderline personality disorder, depression, general anxiety, and social anxiety. I have no idea how to make friends or connect with people. It is a lonely life but I hope with some counselling I can learn to not loathe myself and learn some social skills and maybe one day I will be able to make lasting friendships. Always keep the hope alive!
I used to work graveyard shift and that was my excuse to avoid parties and such. It was a convenient blanket to hide under. Once I moved toward a more normal set of hours none of my issues changed. I’m still introverted with sides of social anxiety and depression. I’m mostly happy alone but it would be nice to have someone that isn’t obligated by marriage to talk to me even if it was just by text or email.
Thanks for putting it out there. I think of you as very brave. I try to embrace your statement that “depression lies”. It’s really hard for for me to reach out to socialize, even with people I know well. I was having a conversation over E-mail with a friend. I took a deep breath and said that it would be great to get together and chat. The friend responded to the general conversation we were having, but did not pick up on getting together. I was so sad. There’s a line I read somewhere I quote loosely “One persons diversion (going to a party) is another persons supreme test”.
I relate to this a lot. I very rarely get invited out which I guess has to do with the fact that I have social anxiety/am introverted/highly sensitive/don’t drink and thus am not much fun at certain kinds of events.
Then those pictures start coming in on Facebook and I get intense FOMO/feelings of inadequacy and I have to remind myself that I wouldn’t actually enjoy myself if I was there. I grew up with the idea that large events with loud music are THE ONE AND ONLY WAY to have fun and hang out with other people, and the fact that I can’t hack it has made me feel bad my entire life.
So it means a lot to learn that others feel the same way.
Thank you for this , we are ok and so are yiu😊
I LOVE being home all weekend. Sometimes I hear crap about not going out, but why do stuff I don’t want to do??? That’s what is bananas… all the people doing what they think they “should” be doing even if they hate it. Screw that.
I keep hearing that song on the radio, and though I don’t really care for the tune I usually listen to the words anyways. Because they’re so true. But I love having my friends over at my house (it’s my safe place) and even though it’s exhausting and draining and I feel like sleeping for awhile afterwards, it’s still worth it because I can cook and feed them and talk and laugh. I’m just happy that I’ve realized my boundaries AND that my friends (a lot of extraverts) put up with them even though they don’t have the same issues.
Thanks Jenny. I’m sitting here at 10.30 on a Friday night, went to bed at 9 because that’s the latest time I can bear to be in a room with my family at the moment without getting itchy and twitchy. I go out for appointments, I’ve managed 2 social things in the past few months that included anybody who doesn’t live at my house. I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, because I managed to alienate the one person who kept me company online when my anxiety levels grew too big to cope with and then my brother was talking about the wife of his friend and said people make depression last to suit their own agenda. So tonight, I was sitting wondering how to make myself normal for those people who don’t cope with who/how I am right now.
I’m grateful everyday for my dogs and the people who care and understand me. And I’m grateful to know that I’m not alone, that there are other people who have similar problems, much as I also hate that. Thank you brave people for sharing yourselves.
Quiet Friday nights at home with my husband and a bottle of wine help me survive my weeks. We have, forever, not scheduled anything for Friday’s. And the rare time something does come up, we will generally try to avoid it. Who wants to be social after a whole week of having to be a grown up?
I tend to be glad when I see those pictures on my FB. Loud bars are not my idea of fun, so I have zero desire to go out and do any of that. Sometimes I feel lame on the weekends, but other times I don’t care that I’m going to bed at, like 10pm. I had to get up at 5:30am for the day job and I’m tired!
I thought nobody would/could ever understand and it’s so nice to know others do even while wishing we didn’t have to have that circle. It helps, to read your words. I wish more could “get me/it”. Thanks for helping through the grayness.
I thought that I was the only one with phone anxiety, thank you for letting me know that I am not. Your books and blogs give me much happiness and a lot of laughs!
Well, Jenny -we Also have THIS in common…I always use a disclaimer when I receive an Invitation – if my health permits. My friends are used to hearing me say, ” I really WANTED to be there, I just couldn’t make it.” 😔 because, anxiety. Also, paralyzing Panic attacks, for which I have Xanax to save me. My chronic fatigue & Fibromyalgia usually conspire & make me Miss most of the things I wish I could do. This post touched my heart because I know EXACTLY how you feel. And, when we Overcome, & Do Leave – go and return home, the pet are Right there saying, ‘welcome home, missed you’ 💜. I am curled up in my bed Now, KNOWING I am supposed to be getting ready for celebration dinner @Church. It’s Good Friday. Bless you, your family & all your pets, & Thank you for making me feel not-so-alone.
I thought that I was the only one with phone anxiety, thank you for letting me know that I am not. Your books and blogs give me much happiness and a lot of laughs!
Bill Mahr is a perfect antidote. The same thing happens when I see all the wonderful vacations posted. Is there a song for that?
You just summed up my life in one blog post. Besides we would much rather hang out with our animals because truth be told they’re better people then most of the humans I meet. I hope you have a wonderful Friday night.
I so totally identified with this. Largely in the days before Facebook, I would sit and wonder what everyone was doing but at the same time inclined to decline invites, sometimes at the last minute. That mix of relief and regret you’ve illustrated perfectly. Now days I’m able to force myself to be social by giving myself a time limit – if it really sucks I’ll make an excuse and in 30 minutes be back to my books and music.
I wish I could express this in my own words. So instead, I’ll just share. Thank you.
I hear you on the phone anxiety, and losing people who don’t get it. Oddly enough, I can do crowds, parties, anything and everything – alone. If I am with someone, I have to talk and be pretty and be ON. Which is a big Nope.
Who decided everyone has to look Instagram-fresh every freaking minute anyway? How come adults don’t have parties where everyone shows up in jammies and eats messy finger food?
I really needed this today. A former coworker who I haven’t seen in almost a year is passing through town, and she and all my beloved work peeps are having a grand reunion over Mexican food and margaritas, while I’m home saving up my spoons for another friend whose mom just died (a friend that I frequently bail on because, y’know, crazy, so that’s a whole other perpetual guilt trip there).
And while I am proud of myself for showering and putting on fresh pajamas for the first time in two days, even if I had the spoons to spare, I’d still be in Hermit Mode because I’m transitioning off old meds and the new meds don’t seem to be doing anything yet and the prospect of simply choosing a Netflix show to binge on seems vaguely overwhelming…
All this to say, I’m glad you guys are here.
I found your books through a friend a couple of weeks ago and I feel like I’ve finally found my tribe. I too, know the happy/sad of Friday nights. I’m just trying to be ok with who I am most days.
I’ve dealt with it by not having any friends. I am friendly with my co-workers, but there is no one I talk to on a regular basis about anything, except my boyfriend. So that solves the party issue. I don’t get invited so I don’t have to turn down the invite. Although sometimes I do go out with coworkers for a beer. I just don’t do it every time and I’m petrified they’ll stop inviting me. But sometimes I’m just too tired, you know?
Even as a student, while I had lots of acquaintances, I never really had friends. I’m standoffish apparently and unapproachable (I guess) and cannot ever make the first move.
I wonder, though, how many of those people posting pictures of their good times would really rather be home watching a movie? A bunch of them, I’d bet.
Sending love from my living room couch on a Friday night 🙂
I really identify with this. In fact I even spent a lot of my life miserable trying to convince myself that I’m an extrovert and I’m not. I think text messaging is fabulous. And I think online appointment making is the best invention ever. I can go a week without leaving my house and be totally OK with that.
I love you. I want to be social, but I don’t want to leave my house. I don’t want people around me but I want friends. It’s a fine line, and do I understand.
GAH. This week, I attended a reading and made the mistake of sticking around afterward since the friend I went with knew the owner of the bookstore. I tried to take a lot of casual deep breaths, but every time someone bumped into me, I still jumped. It was hellish, and I wound up going out for drinks later against my better judgment (also hellish). The next day was a total anxiety hangover, if that makes sense.
It was a freeing moment when I finally learned to ignore the pressure to go to parties, but in moments like that one, I still beat myself up for not liking what I “should.” For finding things difficult that “should” be easy. Letting go of the shoulds is just so, so hard sometimes, you know?
Basically: I love people and work well with them one-on-one or in small groups, but crowds still wreck me. And I think I need to let that be okay.
I get it. I am so. tired. and I miss my friends hugely but the energy to spend on trying to get to a place, enjoy it (and not be a black hole of suck) and then deal with the aftermath… or sit at home, dealing with watching all the fun things that I can’t be sharing. There’s something called mudita– it’s a Buddhist concept of “sympathetic joy” where you observe your friends’ success and take joy in that. I’m trying to cultivate it, and a good portion of the time, I am so very happy to see my friends enjoying themselves and whatnot. But then there’s that black streak that my depression throws on, like a skid mark on the road in my soul, where I’m a bit bummed I can’t make it for health reasons, or because my family obligations conflicted and I had to pick that, or whatever. So… hugs. if you ever need or want me, lemme know cause reasons. (not huge reasons, just reasons.) <3
Thank you for always putting out there what I feel inside. I love being home and snuggled with my puppies and hubby. I think I should go out more, but then that isn’t what I really want, it’s what the world says I should be doing.
Can so relate to this song. Couch, wine, cats the perfect Friday night.
Can so relate to this song. Couch, wine, cats the perfect Friday night.
…..and that’s why I spent 20 years of my life drinking…
Now that I read this I realize what a big deal it may have been for you to call me years ago when you were working at that hospital here in Houston and you called me at the Chronicle. You didn’t even know me! You are amazing and hilarious and all your fans would much rather have you there at home anyway writing great posts like this one. HUGS
Friday nights at home with my pups, a great book and a glass of wine is one of my favorite things to do!! Cheers to staying in!
Yep. That’s what it sounds like when I think about it, too.
I liked your text.
I also like a quiet Friday and Saturday night at home.
I can sympathize with you, Jennie….I find crowds uncomfortable too. I have found, though that it helps to talk to other “Sane” people at times. I fulfill this by having dinners off and on with one or two friends. That works for me.
I will also say that if you are ever stuck in the East Tennessee area, I will be glad to feed you dinner, and either talk or not…your choice. I will say that I have 7 inside cats right now, so it is a good thing that you seem to like even UNstuffed animals!
I used to be the one going out on Friday nights and partying. Now i am content to sit and read in my warm cosy house. I guess I grew up and am comfortable in my own skin…I know you have Victor…and that must give you comfort. Our lives are what they are and the people that are with us are there because they want to be.
I used to hate being alone, so much so that I hung out & slept with people I couldn’t stand. And then I got sober and discovered the glory of alone time! And then I had a baby & lost my mind & isolated into a ball of fear. I duct taped my windows shut. Now that he’s 4 & I’m on lithium again, I’ve found some balance, but I must say – I love people, I’m extremely gregarious, but being out past 9pm really takes a toll on me. I don’t want to club. Well, club a few humans sometimes, but you know. I like going to bed at 10.
Hang in there, Jenny. It’s all ok and you’re wonderful, and I feel better just know you and your fan base are here in this little corner of the Internet.
I wish I could send you a private message to tell you how much this post just screamed YES YES YES ALL KINDS OF FUCKING YES!!! I wanted to print it an highlight passages like I did with all my books in college. I love being around people and going to things- but a lot of times, I just can’t do it. Even when it was my mom asking me to swing by for dinner, I’d panic and decline. I would love to google chat while playing solitaire. Or probably Dragonage in my case…
As a lifelong ‘out-going’ introvert I can say that I’d much rather a small group of friends come over for game night and libations. If I’ve committed to going out I’ll spend the majority of the days leading up to the event fabricating reasons I shouldn’t go. I go anyway. Once I’m there I strike up conversations with strangers and comically entertain them with my endless supply of useless information. Then at the end of the evening I replay every encounter to see where I may have embarrassed myself thinking I’d never be invited back. Or worse I come up with better comments that will never be uttered. Once home I fix tea, get into my comfy clothes (read pjs), and sit quietly recharging. I’ve had fun but spent too many spoons to interact with anyone for several hours. I’m fine with the silence. Those I live with, not so much. I don’t envy the pictures. But I’ve always said that we don’t need to be invited to everything we just don’t want to feel excluded from anything. This is probably why I stay off of FB. I love Twitter and if I need personal connection I check into Periscope where I can quietly leave should I need my space again. My motto: I’m not lonely when I’m alone. I’m safe.
All the feels on the post, but really commenting because I have been playing Here (and her new song Wild Things) to my daughters. Love how her message is empowering.
I’m approaching my 30’s, and I find that the older I’ve gotten, the more content I am with just staying in on a Friday night. Sure, every once in a while it’s nice to go out, but I’m tired and I like being by myself on a night when I know I don’t have to wake up early for work the next day.
I love spending Friday nights at home because I don’t like crowds either.And I don’t like people and having to be nice to people at work drains me. I csn only fake it for so long. And then I get rude and bitchy. And I don’t care but apparently people care. Meh.
Some days what you write sounds like exactly what my life is like, and it makes me feel not so alone. Thank you.
I’m spending my Friday night with a huge amount of wine while my (almost grown) children play video games and my sig other is in the hospital with kidney failure. It is what it is.
Oh yes. That song IS me, except I have no friends.
And my boss is planning a Grand Opening, and I’m wishing I could be in the hospital or something to not have to go. Everytime she says “It’ll be fun!” I want to run away in terror. I can function in very small groups on a limited basis, but this GO thing is utterly terrifying. I groom dogs because I can’t handle being social with people, and I’ve been getting nasty mood swings and am always exhausted and want to just have the whole thing over with. This might end up requiring Xanax, no matter what my Head-Shrinker says.
Yes…that’s it….thank you for saying what I feel.
“Find the life you want and make it yours without apologies.”
This post was very needed in my life right now. Not because I’m feeling left out of parties and such, but because I’m about to lose my job as my supervisor is not at all happy with my work despite the fact that I’m doing the best I can. It sucks to get fired because you tried something new and discovered that you’re not good at it. Crying about my job and working in misery is NOT the life I want, but I feel like I need to apologize to my husband, my family, my friends, for not succeeding at this.
Thanks for giving me permission (sort of) to admit a mistake and move on.
And yes, I’m at home on Friday night watching basketball and hockey tournaments with my husband and cats, and am perfectly fine with it.
My mother made it a lot worse. She always told everybody I was antisocial. Not shy, she had to put that name on it and say why couldn’t I be like her, a social butterfly. When I was in grade school, I always got violently ill when I was supposed to be in a play. I wanted desperately to do it, but I couldn’t. All my life, I’ve worn that “not okay” sign around my neck. The advent of computers gave us all a place to be and share what we had no place to share before. And Mom was wrong! Antisocial people hurt small animals and start fires. That certainly is NOT me! Mom had her own issues.
I’m so grateful for your honesty that so closely resembles mine.
I know, so well, that feeling of equal parts relief and disappointment. It always takes the tiniest weight off when someone else can say what you feel so deeply.
There’s a report that concluded, “When smart people spend more time with their friends, it makes them less happy.” So, I just consider myself “highly intelligent”, which is more comforting than “socially awkward.”
I’ve lost so many friends over the years, mostly they gave up. But the few that are still here, don’t even care if a cancel or can’t go, I don’t even have to explain 🙂
My stroke was in 2008. Previous to the stroke, I had attended over 200 rock concerts, and so I know that I don’t walk well enough to either stand up for 3 hours, or navigate the crush of people leaving the venue. I used to feel exactly the way you described when my friends would go to shows; I knew I couldn’t pull it off, but I really missed the music. I am improving, though, and back in November my awesome friend Sara took me to see my new favorite band, The Joy Formidable. They were playing at a winery in Sonoma, and the venue was tiny. Sara and the event staff made sure my night went smoothly, and Sara took pictures of me dancing with my quad-cane. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was, and how much I love Sara and the event staff for making it possible.
So now they are coming back to San Francisco on the 30th, and they are playing the Great American Music Hall, which I have thought hard about and decided that I can’t navigate it in my condition (I’ve been there before, so I know what it’s like). I am at peace with that. Perhaps they’ll come back and play a different venue and I’ll take some of my other friends (if they want to go), but your post reminded me a lot of how I am feeling about the whole situation. Thank you so much for sharing it.
Who cares! You’re a goddamn Goddess just the way you are. Keep on inspiring people to be their best. Thanks!!
I know this must be hard for you but know that I visit your Twitter page every day and I enjoy so much the interactions and the instagram posts and retweets that you share. They’ve become a little bit of a life raft for me because those are as real as real can get. I don’t need to tell you that your life is so whole even without the party pictures that you can’t put up. You already know that.
But you feel the sting anyway and I’d feel it too…that’s what makes us human. 🙂 The best kind of humans. My social life is laughable 😛 and I’ve taught myself to enjoy the quiet very.very.much. You inspire me everyday.
(this is not a well articulated comment, I guess I’m really trying to say that I love you. And hugs. And don’t be sad. Or something.)
Two totally unrelated thoughts pop into my mind. First, I hope you know it is never that you’re not worth it–whether that is their perception or not. And second, the book Quiet by Susan Cain may not address anxiety–but it does address introversion. Sometimes the two go hand in hand. And we need people who need some quiet:).
F – fear
O – of
M – missing
O – out
Most human, sane thing in the world. Doesn’t feel like it should be normal, does it?
F – fear
O – of
M – missing
O – out
Most human, sane, normal thing in the world. We all feel it. We all have that in common. Tough to remember when it’s happening though.
There is a really frustrating point in the ebb and flow of my depression when I start to do better and I want to make all of these plans but have to either hold back on them or give myself a way out in case my depression come back with a vengeance.
It is also coupled with looking back at the past days/weeks/months I was depressed and seeing the damage I did and the opportunities I missed and feeling very frustrated.
I spend my Friday nights contentedly alone in my bed with my cats. I prefer this to the stupidity and the nastiness of the world. I shop at 4am when no one else is out and then, don’t leave my house for days, sometimes weeks. You are not alone in this……and as far as I’m concerned, it is better this way!… and, I too, am furiously happy
The reason I found your page was for post like this and it has kept me coming back for years now. This is me spot on, some times the world has so much needless drama going on I just cannot face it. Lately I have found going out alone with my camera gives me the barriers needed between me and the world to make it bearable. Stops me being a recluse (even if it is a virtual one these days because of social media) as I like the feel of sun on my face and wind in my hair. It took me nearly ten years to find a way though but so worth it. Big hugs to you for those times when the world is to big to cope with.
OMG. I love that song. I’ve been saying that’s my theme song. The first time I heard it, I loved it. When I started reading your blog today I was like “That’s me. I thought I was the only one.” Exactly how you described it. The lurch in my stomach just thinking about a crowd of people. I don’t even go to Walmart. Partly because I hate Walmart and blame them for a huge amount of problems with our country today. And partly because there are too damn many people in there. I don’t like Big Lots because it makes me feel claustrophobic. I don’t go out on Black Friday because once was enough. The weird part of it all is that I’m fine with 1-4 people. Anything over that and I’m out. I never knew there was someone like me that backed out at the last minute. I do it because it takes me that long to freak the heck out. Then I can’t go. Thank You. My friends that I do have think I’m an absolute nut. But then they’re absolute nuts for staying friends with me. When I read your first book and you told about being goth in that little country school, I was like “That was me!”. The only one. Then the other day my best friend said she had a question and maybe you can help me come up with the correct answer. She asked if I hated attention being drawn to me then why did I dress goth in a school where no one else did? She said that didn’t make any sense. She said that I accomplished the complete opposite and it drew attention to me. I just looked at her kind of dumbfounded and said “I don’t know. I never thought about it like that.”. Anyway, I don’t know you personally but you have really made me feel like I’m not normal but I’m not alone. I read a book about introverts once and it was really good I think it was called ‘Being An Introvert in an Extroverted World’ anyway it made a lot of sense. That’s when I realized that I love to talk but only in a small group. I love my alone time and get a little crazy if I don’t have it. It’s who I am. I’m an introvert. Thanks again from one goth girl to another.
It’s 220am, I can’t sleep 😴. But…I Made It, I left the house and I WENT to the dinner @Church! Yay!! and I spoke to the people at our table, the Pastor greeted me (*tho he has not seen me since Christmas Eve at Candlelight Mass). He asked, Can I give you a hug? I said sure. It occurred to me that I haven’t hugged anyone since 2015!! Not counting pets here with me…How Can a person, w anxiety in crowds & panic attacks when I need to leave the house…Go for months without a hug?? I Can. Not. Wait until Next time I fly to see my Dad!! His bday is in June, but I’ll fly to visit him SOONER! I need OUT of my ‘self-imposed Isolation’ & very simply -Need my Dad! 💜 I Know it will do me so much good & I feel needed there, I cook for him & we go to his Bingo games…all his friends are the nicest senior citizens & Veterans Anywhere!! I’m trying to clear my head/calm down & sleep now. Thanks to Jenny & the tribe for listening! I’m grateful.
That song is brilliant, and this post couldn’t have been better timed for me to read! I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of friend I am recently, and how I’m crap at showing up to things and have a reputation for not liking… most… things? Or most social things, anyway.
But I’m trying to be OK with it, and to remind myself that I’m a different kind of friend; not the kind who shows up to parties and has bucketloads of energy and wants to Do Things, but another kind of friend – my own kind – and that’s fine.
Maybe those friends don’t think you’re not worth it. Maybe they’re just letting it be.
You’ve been in my head again. I’ve been thinking/feeling this a lot lately.
I thought I was the only one (especially Woman) who does not like the phone. For years I have told family – call me – I will write you. My brother was the only one who got it. Found out recently – most of the rest of the family thought I hated them. Wow. What upsets me most, is that my panic behavior – I feel like I act like a loaded for sale crack dealer in a room full of cops, always moving around, looking around – is the result of a drug reaction in 1994. I never had panic attacks until then and while I have gotten the worse parts (pounding heart, striking out at someone who touches me, shutting my self up in a dark room) – this anxiety in crowded places still hangs on. All these years later I loved that song and will post it on FB – hoping someone gets how I feel. Sucks to look ‘normal’ and yet not ever be that, again. Love, love, love your books, too!
i know how you feel. i watch other people so comfortably socializing, and hate myself for being afraid of saying the wrong thing,or not know what to say, because i feel everyone is judging me. That the moment they see me, they don’t or won’t like me. So i have become more introverted and anti-social with time. My neigbours don’t know me, because i am afraid of the revealing myself. It takes so much energy to “pretend” to be sociable, when all i want, most times, is to be invisible.I am trying to be okay with that.
That is how I have always spent my Friday nights or more like every night of my life. Even my online friends don’t really understand why. Sometimes I feel like im missing out on life because of my depression and anxiety and sure it stings but I have accepted that this is just who I am. I will probably never be one of those girls who go out with friends to dinner or a party. It’s nice to know im not alone because in the face of it all I feel very alone and disconnected from life. My family still believes if I just go out and hang around people I will magically get better, but they just don’t understand it’s not such a simple matter. My life is what it is and im not ashamed of that anymore but sometimes it’s just nice to know im not alone in all of this no matter how much my brain tries to convince me otherwise.
I just need someone to know my brain is playing tricks on me today.
Thank you from one Jenny to another for so succinctly stating exactly how I feel about socializing. I also feel that way whenever I receive a wedding invitation. I want to look forward to the event but know that I’ll end up wanting to leave as soon as possible because I don’t know many people and definitely don’t want to dance with mostly strangers to Backstreet Boys (OK, that was at my own wedding and I still hold a grudge against the DJ).
My job is in customer service, so I have to meet new people all the time at work (veterinary front desk). By the end of the week, I’ll be DAMNED if I spend time meeting more people. It’s so exhausting, esp if you put the energy into meeting new people and they all suck. What a pointless waste of energy. But, yeah, social media picts, etc, are a bummer. I’m still invited out, which is nice, but I think that will fade soon. It’s encouraging to see all of these other solitary souls who are home on Friday and Saturday nights, too! Hello, out there! Stay where you are! No need to leave the house! You do you! 🙂
omg, just listened to that song, it is my LIFE! (outside of the message, the song is additionally awesome!) That is absolutely going to make me feel fantastic every weekend.
Also, I saw this tank top on Old Navy that says, “When do we leave?” in HUGE white font on a black background. Perfect for that party.
“…sometimes people come to the realization that I’m not worth it and they disappear.” This is phrased SO wrongly. It should read, “… sometimes people come to the completely ridiculous and incorrect assumption that I’m not worth it and they disappear.” Because you ARE worth it.
With my social anxiety, there was something I really needed to know when I was younger and I didn’t, and that caused me a lot of unnecessary angst: there’s a difference between feeling like you’re missing out and thinking that you should feel like you’re missing out.
It took awhile, but I realized that the torn-up feeling I experienced (that you described so well!) is another side-effect of social anxiety. Most people don’t have to worry if they’re unwinding the ‘correct’ way.
So I say fuck it. Some people need their friends to go to parties with them, and sometimes I’ll lose friends because I’m not that person. That’s okay, and no one is the bad guy in that scenario. Friendships are usually pretty short-term anyway, in the grand scheme of things – except, of course, for those precious few who are with us through everything. They’re important. Buy them chocolate and wine like, every day.
I’ll be wherever the house pets are.
I always felt guilty for preferring to be at home. Sometimes it was because I was afraid, sometimes I was broke… most of the time I just wanted to be at home because I like it there. It’s safe and quiet and it’s where all my stuff is.
It took reading this post to realize that I don’t beat myself up about turning down invitations anymore. I don’t know when that changed, or how, but I’m really thankful that it did. We all have enough to deal with without feeling guilty for being ourselves.
Of course, for most of the delightfully strange, that’s like telling the sun not to shine. We don’t want to feel guilty that home is nicer than being out where a thousand things might trigger us, but we do, because we don’t want to let anyone down… because that’ll trigger us too.
It’s like an endless shame and guilt spiral, and I empathize. Somewhere along the line I managed to hop off that shitty escalator without realizing it.
I had a pithy point to make but I lost it. I’m sure you guys will understand.
Oh I remember now.. there was no pith, only a song quote.
“I would rather be alone than pretend I feel alright.”
Ready To Start, Arcade Fire
You know when you read books like “Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood” or “Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” and you go “Dammit..I wish I had girlfriends like that!”? Yeah, that’s me. I don’t HAVE friends like that because I’ve always sucked ass at making friends. It doesn’t stop me from wanting them though.
I’m a social introvert. I have a good time once I get somewhere, but the getting me there is hard. In an effort to reconnect with friends I reach out to them and they say things like ” we should have you over ” yet I too see the dinner party or drinks out photos and know they are having parties and plans but I haven’t been invited. It’s been three years since I last went to a small dinner party. Getting divorced and not having a partner makes me odd man out, which shouldn’t matter, because I am cool with attending events alone, but somehow it seems to matter to others.
So I’m glad you have friends who understand your struggles and care enough to still reach out, even when they are 95% sure you won’t attend! but just want you to know you are welcome!
With this post I now think you’re my spirit animal, Jenny.
We are the same. I take comfort finding someone who can express exactly how I feel. Makes me feel better about myself instead of wondering why I was made this way that the majority of society thinks is wrong. I’m different, not mean or uncaring. I can’t transform myself long term. I can only fake it for a short while. Then I need weeks to recover. Dreaming of the day my in-laws grasp the characteristics of introversion. To them I’m still the weirdo. Fourteen years and counting….
I meant to do this earlier but didn’t know the URL and now, according to this, it’s five hours later. I don’t know if you can even access the Web site without a special magic code or whatever, so let me know if you want to access it and I’ll ask my husband what I have to do.
Don’t feel too bad. When I actually go out I wish I was at home drinking wine with my kitties. My PJs are so much better then dressing up and having to hear over noisey drunk people.
People leave my life, news ones don’t come in. Being alive doesn’t seem to matter anymore.
This. What I want to know is, if there are so many of us, who are all those people out there? And if we went out there, where would the world put us all?
You know people think because Im 26 I should be hanging out every weekend as a gift to myself for being a good mother during the week. What they dont understand is that updating my Goodreads account, picking up books from the library and then heading home after stopping by the liquor store for a bottle of Yellowtail IS hanging out. I only go typical 26 year old on my birthday. I like the quiet but I also love my friends. Thank God for social media.
I have what you do to a certain degree. Once a guy friend had to talk me into going out, that took two hours lol Then when I was out if I didn’t like what I was wearing I would have someone bring me home to change. You are not alone in this game of life.
My wife and I are both anxious folks. We used to go to parties to meet people, and then we met each other. Now we happily stay at home and sew strange things, or play games with the kids. Friends don’t invite us out, but that’s okay. We know we’re welcome. We still get the occassional event-invitation on Facebook, and we don’t mind declining. I used to regret it, but then, I realized that taking care of myself comes first, and friends who understand that are the real friends.
Thank you so much for sharing! I never know how to react when friends ask me to go out with them. On the one hand, I’m so glad they remembered me and liked my company enough to invite me. On the other, just the thought of going out to a crowded place makes me a little nauseous. Luckily, most of my friends have picked up on this and will tell me I’m welcome to come along but not obligated to which makes me feel so much better. I’ve also found I’m fine with going to the movies so that’s something I can do with friends at least. Again, thank you for sharing. It’s always nice to know that I’m not alone in this.
Yes. There is. You do things ALL THE TIME that are terribly difficult for you, like go on the road to meet and talk with hundreds and hundreds of people at signings. I can’t even begin to imagine how you manage that.
So, you CAN do it. But what’s pleasurable conviviality to others is painful for you. Doing that would just be silly. You are not silly. Every part of who you are is valuable just exactly as you are.
Thank god you were born this way. We like you just how you came.
Hubs and I took kids to a theme park. Itbwas their first time. They’ve been to county and state fairs and fly by night carnivals, but never a legit, full time, theme park. We could never really afford it and I couldnt really do it anyway. But, yesterday… I did it! It was stressful and I might be paging for it for the next few days, but now my kids wont think I’m a total loser now. Yeay!!!
Now… To sleep for 3 days.
I can definitely relate to this story. I hate crowds, and leaving the house at night when I could be reading or knittting.
Ho boy, I can relate to this. I live vicariously through reruns of Sex and the City and The Golden Girls because I long to have a circle of friends I could call and hang out with, go out with, etc. But in reality I’ve pushed away or been abandoned by every friend I’ve ever made, and the thought of trying to talk to anyone new scares the crap out of me. Instead I sit home with my patient husband and my cat and I try to be content with that. But it is nice to daydream that someday I’ll make a friend or two that I can trust enough to be myself around. Thank you for sharing and for writing. We’re all furiously happy alone together!
Thank you for this. Your words help me. Your honesty is a beautiful thing.
Thank you for this post. It sums up how I feel perfectly.
i understand this so so much – i’ve lost several friends because of my ‘hermit’ tendencies – i have major anxiety about crowds and i’m also an introvert and despite how much i enjoy small get-togethers they take so much out of me. when i do go to something i come home absolutely wiped for days. i LOVE the song too. it’s perfect.
Just like anxiety and depression, Facebook lies. No one can be that happy. On my feed, I see a friend whose husband hits her when he’s drunk, and another whose husband left her for another woman. It’s like commercials that tell you if you buy this tampon, you will be so cute and popular. Fuck Facebook.
I see your “perfect mix of glad and sad” and raise you one “feeling stabby.”
This song is my life! How have I never heard it before?! Thanks, Jenny!
Hey now, you don’t have to be afraid to not want to talk on the phone. I mean, phone calls, shudder. Text people, text!
Talking one on one is much nicer. Just being with a friend or two at a diner, talking and laughing, and telling my friends they’re awesome. 🙂
Jenny, this is our diner, and you are awesome! 🙂
Last year I attended a family event by a group of like-minded people. It was okay. I talked to another adult for more than 2 minutes. Afterwards I thought, I really should attend more of these events and meet these people. They seem cool and I have exactly zero friends. Last month the event came up again (it’s annual) and suddenly I realized I spent the entire year trying to work up the nerve to attend another event.
You are wonderful. Just keep being who you are, because you are glorious. Yes, even at home on a Saturday night.
Why not invite ONE person, of all the people who are still there after all, to your place? If they still really love you and understand you completely, then they will understand the need you have to NOT go anywhere; they will understand if the dishes are still in the sink or the half inch of dust on the furniture (not to say your house is that way) because it is YOU that they love and want to be with. Start very, noncommittally small. One friend, one (or more bottles of wine, if you want 😉 and conversation. I’m sure you have already considered this alternative but sometimes you need to hear the obvious from someone to help it click in your own brain. I hate it when my brain lies to me and understand, empathize and sympathize the pain you go through. Personally my brain, when it is like that, it tells me how worthless I am and that people are better off without me and the suicidal thoughts start. Sucks a lemon big time.
Oh dear Jenny, I get it. I’ve never commented here before but not because I haven’t empathized with you but because well, you know, it’s so public and all. The other night someone asked me to go to a political thing, and I said, like I always do, “you know I don’t do crowds” and of course they did. I literally get breathless, then angry and finally just want to find a corner or go home. I’m best with words, or one on one but so not with a lot of people…which classifies to more than 15, and lower if I don’t know them. Weird because I’ve been an entertainer, but on stage is one thing, and in the crowd, very much a-freaking-nother. Love the song, by the way, thanks. Been a long time fan, happy for your success and grateful for your wisdom.
You make me feel like less of a freak. Or maybe not less of one, but that is perfectly fine to accept my freakishness that most people don’t even want to try to understand.
Today, I socialized. In Llano, where I live, the last Saturday of March is a studio tour (self guided) around the artist’s studios here. There were great people, amazing conversations, and I really enjoyed myself, even though, right now, I’m exhausted. As in, completely shattered. I live out in the country, miles from civilization because I can’t deal with lots of people, so on these rare occasions that I venture outside my comfort zone, it takes a lot out of me. Actually, I socialized on Thursday, too. I hope this isn’t going to become a habit.
I wanted to thank you, though. On Friday, I had an overwhelming episode of self loathing. But, instead of harming myself, I drew a butterfly on my arm. It helped to remind me that I was still in control. But even more importantly, it was a silent plea to my husband (who knows the significance) that I needed help. So thank you for… well, just everything!
I do this too, but I no longer apologize for it and my relief for not going far outweighs my guilt for saying no or backing out. I made it to the book signing to meet you, so really I can do it when it really counts. 🙂
The lies the depression tells me are particularly loud and strong tonight and I can’t block them out.
Making my own way this difficult Saturday night. Making poor choices, with clear eyes and a sad heart.
Pretty quiet around these parts lately as well but I’ve never felt so lucky or thankful. Have a great rest of the weekend!
I had to write, because it’s Saturday, and I’m home most weekends, but for different reasons. Okay, primarily, I’m just not social. I’ve read your books. I love your blog, your humor and your pics of the cat purses. They are awesome. Plus your strange attraction to stuffed dead things. Most people couldn’t make that work. You do.
I totally get the phone thing. One of most anxiety causing things in my life. (Is that even a sentence?) And strangely enough the most isolating. Thank God for Facebook and Twitter and of course texting or I’d be a bigger mess than I am already! Hang in there Jenny, and thx for the safe haven.
It’s 4 am.
Sleep is elusive and the voices are spoiling the quiet.
Safety is sheltered in solitude.
Erected established comforts screaming.
Tarrying in the moments of comradery afar.
Proceeding in simmering thoughts.
Hey, Jenny, or whatever member of this lovely community actually reads this late night post. I’m not expecting a reply, or even for you to read it, but I am typing it, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice.
I first found you when your book furiously happy showed up in my recommendations on my kindle. It hadn’t come out yet, but the description was something I needed in my life. “All my favorite people are dangerously fucked up,” well, I couldn’t have said it any better. I’m ashamed to say I pirated it, and didn’t pay for it, but believe me, I will. It’s the least I can do. I just need to get the money. I don’t think you’d mind though. You don’t seem like you care about the money too much.
Ok, this is getting a bit ramble-y and off topic. If I ever had a topic. I guess I just wanted to say you inspire me. I’m the victor in my life, I feel like. All my friends are well… Like you? They’re all depressed, they all have major anxiety disorders, and I’m the one left on the outside, trying my hardest to help them. I love your writing because well, It shows me how they feel, because it can be scary telling someone you just tried to kill yourself. The only reason I found out one of my friends did, was because another told me. They had met in rehab, after attempting suicide the same week. It was a sort of awakening for me. Jenny, I just want you to know that you are not a failure, I guess. Or maybe I want myself to know the same thing because nobody is perfect. Nobody. And we all need to know that we are imperfect and beautiful. That what we do does help, even if it doesn’t seem like it and even as an outsider I can feel their pain.
And I’m sorry that this post has no logical flow, and it’s more of me dumping my emotions on a website in a comment you’ll never read, but hey, I don’t think you’ll mind.
Best Friday night’s are a nice comfy set of PJs, a good book and a nice cup of hot peppermint tea
“I used to dream about escaping my ordinary life, but my life was never ordinary. I had simply failed to notice how extraordinary it was.”
― Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Hi honey. Happy Easter.
In my 20’s I used to go out and sit in my own corner with an escape plan. My friends kept me safe and help get me out if u needed. In my 30’s I had kids so they were a great excuse. My older son turned out to have autism and I admit I totally use him as an excuse to not go out. It works for both.
If it weren’t for my job, which I will be changing, I wouldn’t meet new people at all.
I’ll tell you right now that if you say you are going to have a gathering someplace a bunch of us will show up, probably late …not fashionably mind you just to get courage to walk in, and happily comiserate with you since we know you are safe.
Know you are loved and everyone wants to hang out with you too.
I do love this. I so need to know that I am not a freak.
I just adore that we think alike.
thank you for posting this. And for everyone responding and making me feel less alone in being ‘weird’.
It’s hard; I could be a happy introvert I think, if it wasn’t for other issues on top of that (anxiety, depression, grief after losing my partner of 12 years recently).
I know myself well enough now to realise I really really need alone-time a LOT to even have any energy for anything, let alone to go out and be social.
And that’s fine, I work only parttime, I have my own place with my cats where I can just be me and have quiet, I have friends who I could ask to hang out with.
But there is where it gets harder; I can be so overwhelmed by just going outside that traveling any distance to see anyone, and then figuring out what to talk about (especially now, with the grief being so huge), and then to get home again, totally exhausted and needing 2 days to recover.
And this is just the simple meeting with a friend for a cup of tea; going out, traveling farther, doing things with strangers or groups…argh..
Often it’s just easier all around when I say ‘no’ to everything.
But i’m finding that lately, after losing my partner, i’m struggling even more with people.
it doesn’t feel ok anymore to just say no and be happily(ish) alone; alone is so much bigger now without my fellow weirdo-woman who always understood me.
And I do need to stay in touch with people somehowe because i will go crazy without a bit of normalness every now and then. But my not-normalness only seems bigger now.
And what can anyone even say to me? Talking about death is not an easy thing for most people.
I hate that i’m having these ‘needs’ and longings to be comforted and not so alone.
anyway, long ramble over now.
I’ll go wait at the door until my cat face coin purses arrive
much love, Tamar
What up, fellow weirdos! 🙂
I married a professional musician that gigs every weekend. No joke. Every. Flipping. Weekend! This means that I get stuck being the sober person in a never-ending parade of drunk, outgoing social freaks of nature (like my husband) that want to be with other people all the darn time. My husband relaxes and draws energy from being around people…..I relax and recover lost energy by spending quality time with my pajamas and my bed.
Over the years I have learned that it is “rude” to “read a book” while people are “playing guitar” or “trying to have a conversation with you”…..coloring is also frowned upon unless I’m willing to share my coloring book with other people, but they don’t follow the rules of coloring so I stick with crocheting and then retreat to the car to sleep until it’s time to drive my drunk home. It works….sort of….for a few days. It took 16 years to figure out that much….maybe in another 16 years I’ll be able to dread weekends a little less.
First, I can definitely relate to your post. Second, I feel like this makes me extra thankful and extra proud of you coming out to DC on your book tour last fall. Your tribe thanks you for your bravery.
Thank you for reminding me. Although I’m pretty much a homebody, I do like to get out and about at times. But it’s totally draining to my husband. I need to remember that not wanting to go out to eat or see a movie or go to a museum isn’t about not spending time or sharing experiences, it’s about the monster lying to him in his head.
I think I’m going to go give him a hug. And my last Cadbury Egg. Because he’s still awesome.
Fun fact: spending lots of time alone on Friday and Saturday nights means you have lots of time to teach your dog cool tricks, like fetching boxes of wine. So now I have a dog that delivers boxes of wine to the couch. I think, just maybe, all those people posting pictures on Facebook should be jealous of me instead.
condomn mints…..chocolate easter mushroom bunny on pillow……not the mommy
Jenny, I’ve never posted a comment before, or Tweeted, or commented on FB. But something you said prompted me to make a comment: “It takes work and patience and sometimes people come to the realization that I’m not worth it and they disappear.” My dear Jenny, your depression is lying to you! You’re “not worth it?” You are SOOOOO worth it! The “friends” who have backed away from you (as friends have backed away from me) are the ones who aren’t worth having as friends. Yes, it’s tough being your friend, as it can be very tough to be mine as I struggle with deep anxiety, depression, panic – I feel as if I am a swirling vortex of neediness – but that says more about their abilities (or lack thereof) to cope with wonderful people who happen to have challenging issues than it says about you. Don’t forget that you said it yourself: Depression lies, and your depression is lying to you when it says you’re not worth it. Thanks for your books; I quote them constantly.
A party should only consist of at most 5 people: A healer, a tank, and 2-3 DPS. Beyond that and we’re getting into full on raid territory. And nobody wants that.
Sometimes I read your posts and laugh (the cat coin purse post! Beyoncee! the list is long…)
Other times I read your posts and just nod as I scroll because your words resonate with me. I wish I had a way to tell you this, so this comment will have to suffice. I didn’t scroll ahead while reading, but got goosebumps at the song link – that song has been a great comfort to me since it came out months ago; nice to see I’m not the only one who leans on it.
In short… All the feels. You are a sparkly unicorn. And you are definitely not alone. Thank you for reminding the rest of us that we aren’t alone, either.
This is my life. No one asks anymore.
I totally understand saying you will try to be there and then having lurchy stomach feeling the closer it gets. Your real friends understand and the people who don’t understand–it’s their loss, Jenny. Reading your writing about it makes me feel a little less–odd. Or if I’m odd, at least I’m in good company. Thank you for so selflessly sharing your thoughts.
I promise I will never give up on my friend. And I will never give up on you either Jenny.
It’s been hard for me to make friends since we moved to Dallas. But I’m getting there, and I’ve been super lucky to find an amazing volunteer organization where I finally met some amazing people. But weekends normally find me at home. I’m not anti-social. I just have anxiety.
Oh sweetheart. I am very worried about you saying that some people have realised you’re not worth it.
I think there are lots of reasons why people drift away from each other. And it’s hard, and it sucks. But I also think that most of the time it’s to do with being different personality types.
I know I have drifted away from people sometimes because I feel like I’m a bother, like the things I have to offer aren’t things that make them happy or interested in me. And yes, I know that friendship isn’t about one person saving the other, which is something I struggle with sometimes… but even when I don’t frame it like that, if I feel useless to the other person in terms of making me feel like they actually want to see me, then yes I’m much less likely to keep reaching out to them. I get very self conscious. I don’t need friends to be sociable and happy all the time, far from it! I get anxious and depressed, and I expect and understand that friends of mine will feel like that too. But sometimes I feel welcome anyway, and those are the people I’m able to keep pestering.
(Well, when I’m actually able to keep pestering*. Because my anxiety and social issues are a large part of it, I know. I know very well that my lack of confidence about talking to a particular person is often about me, not about anything they’ve done at all.)
((By ‘pestering’ I mean ‘keep talking to them first’. If they frequently ping me first, then it’s all good. I am *willing to do 80% of the first pings! Definitely! But I need to feel like I’m not being a pain in the ass when I do so. Which, again, is frequently all on me and not on them, I know.))
Anyway. This is a very long ramble but my point is that I really don’t want you to feel like you’re a prize that must be won, and some people think you’re a shitty prize and not worth any effort? Because I don’t think that’s the case, love. You are awesome and I think people just drift apart sometimes.
Wow that was some odd formatting. I really should remember that asterisks mean bold here!! Whoops. XD
I know the feeling, but what I do is push myself to get out of the apartment. I specially love to go out shopping with my wife on Saturdays, because we get to catch up on a lot of things that have happened during the week. Sometimes I don’t want to go out, but mentally, I start pushing myself, then when I get home I say to myself “You see, it wasn’t that bad”.
I’m so sorry that you’ve lost people you care about over the years for no other reason than you just being you. I hope you know deep down that it has nothing to do with whether you’re worth it or not. It has everything to do with how hard it can be to make the truest of true friends.
I am so very lucky to have a handful of close friends who are honestly more like sisters to me than anything. In general, though, I find it so incredibly hard to make friends. When I do try, it just doesn’t happen. All the pretense and small talk that getting to know new people entails… I just can’t do it. It is so exhausting and draining and feels so fake to me. It’s always been that way, but it seems even more so the older I get. That’s why I’m so very thankful for the few relationships that just clicked and lasted over the years.
Still, I do find myself needing to be home alone more often than not. Part of that is being an introvert; part is anxiety that leaves me afraid to face the world; part of it is complete and utter mental and physical exhaustion. I’ve really been having to learn to pace myself, and sometimes that means not leaving the house for a week. When I was very depressed, it was much longer.
It’s hard feeling so not at all like most everyone around you. I feel like such a weirdo when making a simple less than five minute phone call to a stranger leaves me completely drained and taking a three hour nap in the middle of the day; that just happened yesterday in fact.
I feel like a weirdo when I have to plan my social interactions well in advance so I have time to “prepare.”
I very rarely even bother with group get togethers. I am best one on one, and even then, I need to be super intentional about it.
Most of this I can chalk up to introversion and anxiety, but then there’s the additional physical exhaustion that makes everything 100 times more complicated. Physical exhaustion with no good explanation other than most likely partly the result of internalized chronic anxiety.
I may not be the most energetic friend in the world, and we don’t even know each other. But I can say that I’d never in a million years give up on you. You are totally worth it to me.
For whatever it’s worth…
*More than worth it
So you know the term FOMO (fear of missing out)? I recently learned about JOMO – the joy of missing out. Sometimes when I need a quiet night, I think about all those people out in the loudness and craziness and how thrilled I am to not be there. JOMO. It’s real 🙂
It takes work and patience and sometimes people come to the realization that I’m not worth it and they disappear.
This hurts to read. You are worth EVERYTHING. Some people aren’t up to it. Or they are dealing with their own stuff. Would you ever say that one of your friends was not worth going to a party for? Please be kind to yourself.
Most of my friends call me the homebody of the group – after being at work 40+ hours a week, I cannot stand the idea of spending so much more time away from home. I want my cats and my books and my video games. And I’ve lost people because I don’t want to go out drinking or dancing or even to dinner. Heck, I don’t want to go somewhere that doesn’t have a proper parking lot. The thought of trying to find a street spot brings up way too much anxiety. If I can’t find something right outside, I’ll just turn around and go home.
All of this is basically to say that people seem drawn like to like. The ones who wander away are the ones who just don’t fit with us. And that’s fine. Instead of those who have left or given up, you’ve created this huge, wonderful community of people who not only sympathize, but understand. Many of us are just like you. And we all seem to fit together just fine.
Isn’t the internet a wonderful place?
Thank you for this. I just started reading the blog because I just finished Furiously Happy. It was what I needed at a very hard time. I have GAD, and hearing you talk about anxiety helped me realize I could talk about it like that too. I had been trying to before, but this was the push I needed to be free with it. This book made me feel less alone.
I don’t have anxiety and depression to the extent you have; however, if I plan something I often will cancel due to those issues. I am just about to book a trip overseas. But what happens if I have those feelings right before the trip and have already paid the money. Do you (or any of your followers) have advice? coping mechanisms?
Never mind. There are SO many comments, I’m sure mine will be buried. However, I find comfort reading your posts and the comments your reader leave. Blessings to all.
Yes yes and yes!
Thank you for this. I have very few friends that live nearby and making new friends is basically impossible because I’ll only allow for one social event in a week because more than that exhausts me and who wants to be friends with someone who seemingly makes no effort? In my head I like to go out to dinner with friends and go dancing and all that jazz, but when it comes to doing it in reality, nothing terrifies me more than having to sit at a table with 2 or 3 people I don’t really know and trying to have a conversation. In college I loved dance parties because they involved booze and dancing and very little actual interaction with other people. And I’d only go to parties with people I was close to because that way when I did have to interact with other people, I had a shield. Anyway, point being it always makes me feel better to hear that other people feel the same way. We’ll never be friends in person because I never manage to actually make friends with people who, like myself, want to hide on Friday nights (we’re both too busy hiding ;)). But it’s comforting to know that there are others out there.
P.S. That song is basically my anthem.
Yes yes yes, so much yes! Always nice to hear others feel the same 🙂
Yeah I hear that. People go out and I’m just like NAHHHHHHH I’m all set. And I’ve definitely heard the “I know you won’t come…” I go out when it’s small groups but I have to psych myself up and then I’m exhausted when I get home.
I feel exactly the same way – the perfect mix of relief and regret when bailing on an invite at the last minute. I was much more socially available in my late 20s, early 30s. I’ve been wondering why my introvert becomes more dominant as I grow older. Enough experience to predict the worst? Accumulation of anxiety, like a patina on my soul?
There are reasons that I have cultivated a love of solo activities. Books, movies, knitting, Minecraft, driving, etc. I have not felt comfortable at a party in decades. I’m much happier at home with my husband and the cats.
I’ve also experienced the rush of joy that occurs when plans get canceled. Yay, I get to stay home!
Or when you cannot leave the house anymore except to take your kids to school. WORSE, you’ll have to watch the new Star Wars on your television!
I feel very, very far away from a much healthier-sounding equal mix of glad/sad when I come across stuff about friends’ good times without me. oof. This was a nice reminder that that’s even possible.
This is the first time I’ve ever read (or heard or seen) that someone else besides me is going through a similar situation. Because of my anxiety and severe OCD, I “lost” the group of friends that were my best friends through middle & high school, college roommates, in each other’s weddings, etc. We swore we were sisters and loved each other. How many times did I hear them say how much they valued my friendship? Then OCD hits me out of nowhere and sucked the very life out of my being and bam! They were gone.
Thank God for my husband who has stuck it out with me through it all. But even with his support, it’s lonely. As much as I try to say that I’m “over it”, the scars are still there and it still stings when you learn how close “they” all still are and how easily you were replaced or forgotten.
I hope that someday soon I will find true friendships that can withstand the testing of mental illness.
i had this exact situation last night. i moved to sydney, and with friends visiting from the states, of COURSE they want to see the town. my anxiety and agorophobia has prevented me from doing this thus far on my own, and last night was no exception, i ended up grabbing a train home while they raged all night. i went home and slept while they had their kind of fun. i slept for 11 hours and i felt great. thank you for making me feel normal in my own way!
I love this.
And am starting to find myself both happy/sad just like you. Your posts always make me feel so not alone and ridiculously insane.
That song has been an inspiration for me for a while. Been working on a burlesque number to it because in reality, I love the stage but I hate the social parts after and being around crowds. I am doing the girl left the party early and curled up with a book. Which is basically me every time a party happens because people worry me too much.
When I first heard this song I went “YES! That’s me too!
Last Friday I went over to my boyfriend’s house, and we put on Netflix and had take out. We got insanely excited about… netflix having the third collection of house hunter’s international on it from hgtv. It was a great night, so much better than a party that I would want to leave immediately.
You have FOMO too! Your description was dead on. Feeling your pain.
LOVE LOVE LOVE your blogs!
I am pretty much obsessed with this song..I even did a musically with it some months back…
Why yes I’m almost 40 and yes I do musically…y’all don’t judge..its like karaoke 2.0.
I just giggled so hard because I was just texting my friend my favourite antisocial pop songs this weekend and this song was on my list. You are my spirit animal, Jenny xx
This is me, too. The accidentally on purpose hermit.
You don’t know me, but I know you through your blog and I absolutely love you. I have been reading your blogs for weeks. I have laughed like a mad woman at my workplace while pretending to work, but in reality reading your blog. Thank God my bosses don’t read and hence won’t be reading my comment.. 😀
I have been silently stalking/reading your blog without feeling the need to comment, although I should have told you earlier that I love you and your blog, and it’s like I have a new best friend. I could totally relate to every word you wrote in this blog. I too am like that, I look at pictures of my friends on social media and wish I too could go out and do all those things, but then every time I am invited to a party or something, all my time goes into thinking of excuses.
P.S. – I am so nervous writing this comment because you are no less than an idol for me and I am so worried that I have made a zillion mistakes and you’d hate me.
Much love to you! xoxoxo