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Awkward Social Situations

dk168

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Not a lot bothers me socially, and I am quite happy to go out and about on my own, like going to pubs and restaurants, cinema and theatre, joining groups and participate in their events, go on holiday on my own etc. etc...

The way I look at it is that, if I do not do anything on my own, I don't do anything at all!

However, I am dreading an event that I have booked, for an evening meal and a carol concert in December 2020 with a dress code "elegant and smart" (reads bling opportunity for me! :lol-2:), as I only discovered there is a champagne reception before the meal as part of the package!!!

Since I shall be on my own, I dread the idea of having to mingle with other people in groups of twos or larger for small talks, as it would make me feel like I am imposing on their privacy and private gathering. Besides, I don't like being asked intrusive personal questions and being pitied for being on my own.

I avoided going to the theatre on my own for a while as I would feel awkward being on my own at the bar during intervals. I got round that one by not having any alcoholic drink at the intervals, just a dash to use the facilities and then return to my seat to read the programme.

My plan for the event would be to request for my glass of champagne (I shall make a request for a dash of liqueur of some sort to be added to it as I do not like champagne on its own) to be brought to my table, and I shall arrive shortly before the guests are due to sit down for the meal, so that I could go straight to the table.

I am sure I will be fine.

Care to share your awkward social situations that you dread?

DK :))
 

mellowyellowgirl

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Hubby was friends with a group of people in university and high school. They weren't bad people, nothing wrong with them but he never felt he clicked with them. One of my good friends (in my girls group) is friends with his old friends so whenever she hosts a party we inevitably run into them. We go to all those parties because DS7 loooooves a party.

Hubby HATES having to make small talk with his old friends. He flatly refused to go in the last few years so DS and I go alone. It's not that he dislikes them but he said he loves his life now, who he is now and doesn't care to see those particular people from the past. He's just not interested in associating with them.

Oddly enough those people always ask where he is and why he won't come and meet up. I feel like they enjoy reminiscing about the past, whereas Hubby is like "Hell no!" which gives him even more incentive to avoid them.
 

missy

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@dk168 first of all I’m sorry you are made to feel that way. You would always be more than welcome to join Greg and me at any social event and I promise you’d be made to feel comfortable. Second of all this event might be canceled. Just thinking aloud. Covid 19 might be in full swing then and I think there’s a good chance this will be a moot point and concern.

Hmm to answer the second part of your question. I definitely felt awkward when first meeting Greg’s family back in the 1990s. All on them however as they made me feel less than. Critical and unpleasant and unwelcoming in all ways. So much so that one day greg had to take his mother aside and let her know if she continued her unpleasant behavior towards me there would be no more including her in our lives. Sad but true. She straightened up after that and over the decades we developed a nice relationship. Not the most loving mother in law I would have hoped for but acceptable compared to the initial first year plus.


I was brought up to be gracious and include others and be warm and welcoming. That’s the behavior I learned from my wonderful warm loving parents. Always make others feel included and cared about. Not everyone is raised that way though. So it is. But it’s something I have internalized and feel is critical when interacting with others.
 

bling_dream19

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I hear you @dk168 and I have great empathy. I think it's worth saying that even though you might feel you are being pitied for joining a couple or group for talk, most likely in their eyes you are not. As evidenced by @missy and Greg would welcome you warmly and I would as well. During my separation and after my divorce, I had such a hard time doing anything social. It makes me cry even now looking back. I felt sooo awkward being around at a social event on my own. I had a hard time even being with my own family on my own. Crazy but true. It was obviously my pain and being in my head. No one said or did a anything to make me feel that way.
You seem confident and beautiful on the inside and out and you belong where you want to be. I think if i had had the confidence I could have enjoyed the social and family events. I say all that to say, you can control how you answer personal questions and know that you are not intruding. I try to come up with topics of conversation when going into a social situation. I am very introverted and still dread most social events and I despise small talk. It's gotten worse as I've aged. I used to fake it better than I do now. If the event is something you always to attend, you go girl and wear your bling! And as a fellow caroler and choruses, choral people tend to be really nice and inclusive and we come from all walks of life and have gone through all sorts of things. I hope this helps. I'm just waking up and rambling. If I lived near you, I'd go as it sounds like a lovely event.
 

dk168

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@missy yup, I have had outlaws who are less than welcoming too! And thanks for looking after me if we were to meet up one day!

One always referred me as "your kind", even though I had been in this country for years! I just ignored them, so much so that whenever I visited them, I stayed long enough to be polite and made my excuses to go shopping, to return to pick up my then gentleman friend/hubby later.

The last time I visited my late partner's mother over Christmas, she was quite rude to me, and he decided to pack up and leave sooner than intended. I went ahead to the car, and he said to her that if she continued to be so unwelcoming, then he would not bring me along to visit her, and he might decide to cut down on the frequency of his visits as it was 4h driving each way etc... I never saw her after that trip before he passed away.

I don't mind small talks, quite good at it I believe, and learnt how to do that when I was at boarding school and by watching my parents at large family gatherings and events.

IMHO, there is still some kind of stigma attached to female singletons dining out on their own.

I have done that on business trips, and always brought something to read while I waited for my food to arrive, or I would people and food watch as I love that.

I have never been bothered by anyone, so none of that being chatted up over a night cap with a wink etc., even when I was single, shame! :lol-2:

@bling_dream19 thanks for your kind words and encouragement. :))

I guess I am used to being on my own and doing my own things before I hooked up with anyone. I do not have any issues joining new groups and/or participate in group events.

I honestly believe cliquishness as claimed by a newbie to a group as being perceived rather than genuine. If peeps have been in a group for sometime, they bound to know each other better than a newbie, hence more in-jokes and familiarity etc... My advice would always be, jump in and start getting involved, and one will no longer be a newbie soon!

However, it is kind of different with this event, as it is just a one-off, and I may never see the other diners ever again! Hence I am less likely to invest on time and effort to get to know them, if you know what I mean. I am sure I will be fine, just worrying for nothing.

On a plus side - I bought new shoes with this event in mind! :lol-2: The current pair of evening shoes are my dance shoes when I was learning ballroom and Latin dances a few years ago, and they are not made anymore, boo hoo!

DK :))
 

missy

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@missy yup, I have had outlaws who are less than welcoming too! And thanks for looking after me if we were to meet up one day!

One always referred me as "your kind", even though I had been in this country for years! I just ignored them, so much so that whenever I visited them, I stayed long enough to be polite and made my excuses to go shopping, to return to pick up my then gentleman friend/hubby later.
Oh my. Yes. I remember the not so nice sister in law T (Greg’s youngest brother’s wife) said to the other brother’s wife D that I wasn’t “one of them”

Nice, right?

Luckily the other sister in law D told me and told T what she thought of that. But I was grateful to see her true colors.

I always say thank you when that person shows me who they are. I pay attention.


Hoping for the day you might come and visit. We would make sure you had a wonderful visit. ❤
 

dk168

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@mellowyellowgirl I can empathize with your hubby!

There is only so much reminiscing of the good old days that I could bear, even with my best friends whom I have known since 1992 when I started to work with them. I left that particular employer at the end of 2004 after 12 years in different departments and roles, and kept in touch with them.

We meet up once in a while, and inevitably talked about the good old days. Less so since one of them also left that particular employer a few years ago.

When I first joined FB, one of my school friends back in HK managed to find me and contacted me via FB, asking why I changed address without informing her, etc. etc...

The last time I saw her was in 1987, the last time I went back to HK before my folks immigrated to Canada. I left HK to study in UK in 1979. Although I had been back during some of the holidays, by the time we met up again I discovered we had nothing in common, and she was still the same person with negative outlooks and personal issues. Frankly she drained and zapped my energy away, and I thought enough was enough. Once I went back to UK, I stopped contacting her.

She was not the only one though, as I found I had very little in common with my friends from the old school.

I guess I am not very good at holding on to old friends. I tried with some, however, my efforts were not always reciprocated, so I just move on.

Friends come and go, a few stay through thick and thin, however, most don't, and I am partly to blame for that.

DK :))
 

mrs-b

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I can only recommend what I know I'd do (have done) in that situation. I'd take a book. I'd take my drink, my book, and go sit down at my table and read and drink till the dinner was about to begin. If someone joined me, I'd smile warmly and put my book down if they seemed to be open to chatting. But otherwise, it would be me, a Cosmopolitan and the latest John Grisham thriller.

I mean - seriously - what's the worst thing anyone could *possibly* think? "Oh my goodness! That lady likes READING!! Er...how shocking...?" I mean, really, you're disturbing no one and simply enjoying yourself. The evening is for anyone who pays to attend: spend it in the way that is most enjoyable to you.
 

bling_dream19

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My ex mother in law was awful. She would only address us as my ex first name. She would never say my name. My ex was in denial and never saw it. He would say it was in my head. He finally saw it though at the end of but our relationship and marriage was broken at that point. Thankfully he gave me emotional closure on many levels of what he did and how his mother treated me. He robbed me financially but there's nothing I can do about that and I fully believe it haunts him and always will. I'm still working too much. Life isn't fair and there we go. I'm grateful to be where I am today. You brought up a sensitive topic for me and I'm grateful @dk168
 

bling_dream19

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And I second @mrs-b to a drink and a book! My ex took me to an NFL game and I brought a book and read at the game lol. I wasn't bothering anyone lol I just didn't feel like staring off into space trying to understand something I never will.
 

Elizabeth35

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I think your plan is a good one.
I would probably arrive 30 minutes prior to dinner, get my beverage while sussing out the room. If there are chairs, I would probably grab a seat. If not, I would head to the dining table.
Don't assume that it will all be groups and couples. Lots of people go to events like this by themselves.

The advantage of this type of event is that everyone has a shared interest. Plus---it is a festive time of year and everyone will be feeling happy. Add some champagne, and everyone will simply be having fun, excited to enjoy the meal and carols. I'm not a usually a fan of small talk with strangers either, but an event like this could be an opportunity to meet a like-minded friend.
I'm sure you will have a lovely time!
 

dk168

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@bling_dream19 they are not called outlaws for no reason! When I decided to leave my ex-husband, I was the Wicked Witch of the East, and my outlaws were very nasty about me, as told me by my ex-husband! He had to put them right and fought my corner for me, bless him.

We are still on good terms after all these years, thanks to him being a kind person with a good and generous heart! He said if he was not able to make me happy, he would gladly step aside for someone who could.

I don't have many regrets in life, however, hurting him was one of them as he did not deserve it. :(2

@mrs-b that's what I have planned to do, however, instead of a physical copy of a book, I shall logged onto their WiFi and read my digital newspaper instead, or browse FB or PS etc... :lol-2:

@Elizabeth35 I am going to the venue for afternoon tea later this month, and I shall make some enquiries about the settings for this event, so as to better prepare myself in advance.

DK :))
 

Karl_K

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I have near zero memory for faces or names so any is awkward.
I also dont drink.
You will find me in the back of the room holding the wall up.
 

mrs-b

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I have near zero memory for faces or names so any is awkward.
I also dont drink.
You will find me in the back of the room holding the wall up.
No problem, @Karl_K . Unless I thought it was irritating you, you'd find me right there with you! We'd be discussing diamonds. :wavey:
 

AllAboardTheBlingTrain

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I am not someone who feels particularly awkward in social situations, and to answer your question in your post, I would not think it was weird at all if someone came up to me and started to chat at an event like this! I would welcome it actually, I love meeting new people.
 

jaysonsmom

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@dk168 I have been in several situations where I attended things alone because my husband and I have very little in common and we rarely do things as a couple with other couples. I tend to invite friends of mine with similar interests to go with me though. I have a friend that goes to musicals with me, a few singletons that l go hiking with, and yet another person that I go to Christian music concerts/ conferences with. Since your event is still months away, perhaps you can invite a friend to go with?

If I attend things alone, I also seek out other singletons in the room to strike up a conversation. That way, I get to meet a new friend with a similar interest.
 
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dk168

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@AllAboardTheBlingTrain it is the feeling of walking into a room full of people not know a soul and having to mingle aimlessly.

Not an issue as such with joining a new group as I would be there for a common purpose with the others.

I like meeting new people too, just need to be the right time and setting. :))

@jaysonsmom this event is costly, and the number of friends who are able or willing to spend that much so close to Christmas is zilch.

When I saw the event being advertised, I knew I would be going on my own, and booked it as soon as I could as numbers are very limited.

Besides, I may get disappointed if the ones I would ask are not able to join me as they have busy lives of their own.

DK :))
 

seaurchin

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It sounds like you have a solid plan for avoiding the brunt of any possible awkwardness.

I'm not single but sometimes still go somewhere alone or have other anxiety-producing situations like attending something where I know a "problem person" will be.

With age, I am far less anxious. I just don't care that much anymore, I guess. If I don't want to go, I don't go and if a "problem person" tries to slip in a little dig, I'm likely to just shush them and snap my fingers in their face haha.

Wondering if anyone else has less social anxiety with age (or more).
 

dk168

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@seaurchin I guess part of the issue is that I am naturally very blunt and have been described as brutally honest by those who know me well. Being diplomatic does not come naturally to me and is hard work! Hence I have avoided managerial positions at work in the past.

I am sure I will be fine, thanks.

DK :))
 

chemgirl

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Meetings at the National Research Council. I totally use trips to the restroom as a way to get out of socializing time if I’m really not feeling it.

Several years ago there was an active shooter in parliament during one of my trips so we were in lockdown and I needed an escort (even to pee). She had to stand in the stall and agreed to turn around when I was like “ummm really?”

Another time I’m sitting around with all of these scientists and some of them seem to really judge anyone who doesn’t have a PhD (I’m an engineer). One said “let me explain this in terms you’ll understand” to me. I felt like a total imposter it was awful. The bonus though, one of the leads who is like a rock star in his field overheard that comment and he came over and told the person that I have a better grasp of the subject than they do. Now he sits with me at these events and we joke around about nerdy tv shows. He loves IT Crowd. Win.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

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I was in a turmoil when Bruce Springsteen announced NZ dates in 2004
Gary flat our refused to go and there was no way i wanted to miss out
it was (is always) really hard to get tickets and they are exspensive
I was really nervous going on my own
staying in the hotel alone
eatting out alone
but my on line friends assured me it was the best option
In the end i went on my own which was the better choice over going with someone who wasn't a die hard fan
i met up with a few people from my online community and we had a thread going like we do for every show
now i just accept i go on my own and find my fellow forum members to hang out with

When i repeated the process in 2017 i got brave enough to have breakfast at the hotel and had a really nice dinner
where the first time i just ate lunch in the bar and otherwise ate food id brought from the supernarket

Life is too short to miss out on stuff because for what ever reason there is no one to go with

(Missy I'd still love to go see Bruce with you)
 

chemgirl

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It sounds like you have a solid plan for avoiding the brunt of any possible awkwardness.

I'm not single but sometimes still go somewhere alone or have other anxiety-producing situations like attending something where I know a "problem person" will be.

With age, I am far less anxious. I just don't care that much anymore, I guess. If I don't want to go, I don't go and if a "problem person" tries to slip in a little dig, I'm likely to just shush them and snap my fingers in their face haha.

Wondering if anyone else has less social anxiety with age (or more).
I love that you used the term “problem person”. That’s such a great descriptor. I have one in my life who totally creeps me out. She lives nearby and I also get a feeling of anxiety when I think she may be somewhere. I’m slowly trying to “take back” places and practice distancing myself.
 

MissGotRocks

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I can only recommend what I know I'd do (have done) in that situation. I'd take a book. I'd take my drink, my book, and go sit down at my table and read and drink till the dinner was about to begin. If someone joined me, I'd smile warmly and put my book down if they seemed to be open to chatting. But otherwise, it would be me, a Cosmopolitan and the latest John Grisham thriller.

I mean - seriously - what's the worst thing anyone could *possibly* think? "Oh my goodness! That lady likes READING!! Er...how shocking...?" I mean, really, you're disturbing no one and simply enjoying yourself. The evening is for anyone who pays to attend: spend it in the way that is most enjoyable to you.
One of my favorite authors! A book is a good suggestion or we always have our pesky phones with us if we don't want to appear bored or uncomfortable. I know some people see reading phones as rude but if it keeps your nerves at bay, why not? You could always skim through PS! I am generally not very self conscious but I can understand that it would be uncomfortable if you are. I also think that people don't always notice us as much as we might think they do so do what you can to ease your feelings and enjoy the evening!
 

Elizabeth35

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You have a solid plan. This is an event with like-minded people, and I have always found that at such events, people are very friendly and welcoming.
I attended so many events alone after my divorce that I became accustomed to it. I found that in every situation I found welcoming people. IF you are comfortable dining out alone--you will be fine at this event.
You will have a great time!
 

dk168

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An excellent example why I prefer to do my own thing on my own...

A month ago when UK government announced the Eat Out To Help Out scheme where one can get 50% off food and non-alcoholic drink, up to 10.00 GBP per person, in the month of August only, for Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

I suggested to my good friend from choir right away to go to an Indian restaurant close by that we frequent, for either a takeaway if they are not opened for eat-in's (at the time of the initial announcement, hot takeaways were eligible, however, that was changed to support restaurants that do not offer takeaways) or to eat-in.

She is a busy professional before lockdown and worked throughout. She too plans her work and social schedules months in advance like I do.

I got a message from the restaurant as soon as they decided to re-open for eat-in's tomorrow a few days ago, and I booked a table for both of us right away.

About a couple of weeks ago, we learnt that outdoor choir practice would resume last Tuesday.

We both planned to attend the first outdoor choir practice. I went, she did not due to whatever reason(s).

She apologised and promised the choir master she would attend tomorrow's session. She did not tell me this until I informed her I had booked a table for us at the restaurant for tomorrow. :roll2:

After a few exchanges, I decided to go on my own, and asked if she could give me some dates in the rest of August when she is available for us to go together. She has no availability for the rest of the month. :roll2:

Then I thought, since I am going on my own, I may as well go on Wednesday, enabling me to go to the outdoor choir practice too. So I changed my booking, result! ;)2

Informed my friend as such, and she responded in line that the practice might be cancelled due to bad weather.

Eh, no, as the choir master just confirmed the practice is definitely going ahead via email earlier this morning. :roll2:

"But I can't make Wednesdays!" :roll2:

And I responded I knew, and am going on my own.

What I really wanted to say is that, thanks for ditching me, however, I am determined to go there as soon as it reopens for a curry fix with or without you, as I can't wait for you to make up your mind to find time to fit me in.

Rant over. :x2

Once I have made a social commitment that involves other people, I would stick with it except for dire emergencies. I have never cancelled a social engagement due to another social engagement even if the latter is a more enjoyable one. I can't stand social butterflies. :roll2:

Choir practices had been ongoing throughout lockdown in virtual format via YouTube 2 nights a week, and both of us attended most of it. :roll2: I certainly do not feel bad about missing some of them, as I have already paid in advance every quarterly!

It is not the first time this has happened to me. It happened with my handful of nearests and dearests in the past, not too many times as they knew how annoyed I would be. :lol-2:

Yes I am annoyed, however it will blow over in no time.

Thanks for reading.

DK :))
 

missy

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An excellent example why I prefer to do my own thing on my own...

A month ago when UK government announced the Eat Out To Help Out scheme where one can get 50% off food and non-alcoholic drink, up to 10.00 GBP per person, in the month of August only, for Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

I suggested to my good friend from choir right away to go to an Indian restaurant close by that we frequent, for either a takeaway if they are not opened for eat-in's (at the time of the initial announcement, hot takeaways were eligible, however, that was changed to support restaurants that do not offer takeaways) or to eat-in.

She is a busy professional before lockdown and worked throughout. She too plans her work and social schedules months in advance like I do.

I got a message from the restaurant as soon as they decided to re-open for eat-in's tomorrow a few days ago, and I booked a table for both of us right away.

About a couple of weeks ago, we learnt that outdoor choir practice would resume last Tuesday.

We both planned to attend the first outdoor choir practice. I went, she did not due to whatever reason(s).

She apologised and promised the choir master she would attend tomorrow's session. She did not tell me this until I informed her I had booked a table for us at the restaurant for tomorrow. :roll2:

After a few exchanges, I decided to go on my own, and asked if she could give me some dates in the rest of August when she is available for us to go together. She has no availability for the rest of the month. :roll2:

Then I thought, since I am going on my own, I may as well go on Wednesday, enabling me to go to the outdoor choir practice too. So I changed my booking, result! ;)2

Informed my friend as such, and she responded in line that the practice might be cancelled due to bad weather.

Eh, no, as the choir master just confirmed the practice is definitely going ahead via email earlier this morning. :roll2:

"But I can't make Wednesdays!" :roll2:

And I responded I knew, and am going on my own.

What I really wanted to say is that, thanks for ditching me, however, I am determined to go there as soon as it reopens for a curry fix with or without you, as I can't wait for you to make up your mind to find time to fit me in.

Rant over. :x2

Once I have made a social commitment that involves other people, I would stick with it except for dire emergencies. I have never cancelled a social engagement due to another social engagement even if the latter is a more enjoyable one. I can't stand social butterflies. :roll2:

Choir practices had been ongoing throughout lockdown in virtual format via YouTube 2 nights a week, and both of us attended most of it. :roll2: I certainly do not feel bad about missing some of them, as I have already paid in advance every quarterly!

It is not the first time this has happened to me. It happened with my handful of nearests and dearests in the past, not too many times as they knew how annoyed I would be. :lol-2:

Yes I am annoyed, however it will blow over in no time.

Thanks for reading.

DK :))
Yes. Same. Once I make plans I keep them unless something happens that makes it impossible. We rarely cancel plans. Also we are always on time. That’s a pet peeve of mine. Imo showing up late consistently means that person has no regard for you or your time. Ok end of my rant lol.

D03046EA-24DA-4C31-B233-4F80DEFF2F02.jpeg

Sorry you went through this but glad you took control and will enjoy nevertheless. ❤
 

dk168

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Yes to being late, in that I hate being late, and I hate others being late!

Being late = bad planning IMHO, unless it is for reasons beyond one's control, like traffic accident en route etc... And I would always ring and inform the host/event organiser or other attendees if I were going to be late.

I usually allow at least an extra 30min for my journey, especially for urban locations where I have to find suitable parking or places I do not know well. According to an ex-gentleman friend (he is still a good friend), for the few times when I drove to events/appointments with him, I over-compensated and arrived way too early (by about 15 to 30min tops). Better early than late I responded in kind! :lol-2:

Whenever I organised events in the past, like meals, cinema, bowling etc., I stipulated I would only wait for 15min tops before I would start without them, regardless whether they were my nearests or dearests or not!

Same with work. I once rang to inform my boss at about 08:55 that I was going to be late as the main gate was closed due to fire practice or real fire, to receive a response that he knew, as he was 2 cars behind me, and he knew I would ring and tell him! :lol-2:

DK :))
 
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