Being social on any holiday is hard for me. I’m naturally an introvert and holidays make me nervous. Well, many things make me nervous, but holidays are a big trigger for me. This year, my family is visiting me in Portland and we’re having a small Thanksgiving, which is the way I prefer to celebrate. When there are 18 people gathered around a table it makes me incredibly nervous. I love eating, and I kind of just want to focus on doing that rather than navigating between multiple people sitting with me at a table. There are so many different personalities to handle at once. I can barely figure out what the food options are and now I have to talk about my life. It’s the worst when I haven’t actually accomplished anything recently and I have nothing exciting to report. The easiest thing to do is to focus on the other person rather than talk about myself. But even that is exhausting. I have to come up with clever questions to ask them and then because I have ADHD I have to make myself focus on what they’re saying. It’s not that I’m uninterested, it’s that my brain has difficulty focusing for long periods of time without interrupting you.
Social anxiety is something I’ve dealt is a behavioral pattern I’ve worked on in therapy for the longest time. I once had a therapist who said: “when in doubt, don’t bail out.” I’m sure I mentioned him before on this blog. He didn’t have any other sage advice that stuck with me other than that one line. That line did stick with me and I think about it every time I consider canceling plans in favor of sitting on my couch and watching Netflix. I can sit around in my sweatpants any day. But hanging out with a good friend isn’t something that I can do every day. When you’re invited out, unless you’re ill or an emergency comes up, it’s good to push yourself to go. Otherwise, you’ll regret it later. Getting outside of your house allows you to meet people and have new experiences.
So this Thanksgiving is going to be small, but I’m still being social. My family is comprised of human beings and I love spending time with them. We can sit around the cheap table I just bought at Walmart with fold-up chairs and talk about life. We can eat turkey and stuffing and celebrate being with one another. This counts as being social just as much as hanging around 20 people at some large Thanksgiving feast. I’m also in the comfort of my own apartment, which makes a big difference. When I have to go to someone else’s house on a holiday it makes me nervous. It’s much easier to be in my own environment where I know where the bathroom is so I can take people breaks.
So, how about you? Do you have trouble being social on Thanksgiving? Or do you love the opportunity to be with your family and friends?