Wednesday, October 31, 2012

An honest RSVP

Thank you for the invitation to your party.

I was delighted to receive it and happy that you are celebrating.

Unfortunately I will not be able to make it.

I can make up an excuse, right now or nearer DDay. I usually do, though you may not know make us both feel better.

I'm hoping it won't matter hugely to you, I would have just been a face in the crowd. But I am touched I am part of your crowd, truly. If my presence really matters hugely to your enjoyment, I know you will try to convince me to come. This makes it even harder to say the following...

The truth is this. I am not good at parties. There I have said it.

The need to be "on good form" and "let my hair down" tends to induce the opposite feelings in me: stress, pressure and anxiety. It brings out my depressive demons in force.

Chances are I won't know what to wear. If it's fancy dress I'll feel twice a dick. I'll feel the fattest person there. Second I won't know what to say. I am not good at small talk. I feel I have nothing of value to contribute. Third I won't know what to do. That makes me really anxious. That's why at parties you will often find me in the kitchen, doing something practical, working, you'll tell me to relax, but in truth, this is how I can. Ha! I've just realised why I catered for my own wedding!

Then there'll be photographs. I hate being in photos. You may not know we didn't have a photographer at my own wedding for this reason.

Then there'll be lots of noise (my head starts to go all jangly) and dancing (and I won't know what to do with my body and I'll feel all self conscious again.) And lots of alcohol, which I can't do.

Hence why you tend to find me sitting quietly by myself at parties, or clinging for dear life to the conversation of one friend. And why I'll always leave early. And if I do these things, you'll worry that I'm not enjoying myself, that there's something wrong. And there's no need for that.

In truth my life is quite limited, the things I do, the social situations I go to. This works for me. I've learnt that pushing myself harder leads to meltdown.

The only parties I'm any good at involve spontaneity. Very small groups, where I know everyone. Outdoor gatherings. And are centred around food, sat down. You organise that, I'll be there. Promise.

So know that my refusal is nothing to do with my feelings for you. It's just my way of staying sane a little longer. And I know as a friend, you would want that for me too.

I hope you have a wonderful time.


  1. oh me too Lucy...the only way i could get through parties when i was younger was to drink a lot!! These days I stay true to myself and either dont go, or if its a 'have to go' (like my dads wedding!) I just show my face briefly and always have an escape plan!!
    I think more and more people are feeling this way- I just had a similar conversation with a friend at the weekend, who is such a people pleaser she couldnt say no, even though her core was screaming 'dont go'...she went and found herself sat next to an old client of hers (she is a family therapist!)- it was a very uncomfortable evening for her and a clear example of not listening to your inner self!

  2. I like this because there is such quiet confidence and strength in it. There is such power in recognizing and honouring what the truest voice of you most needs and wants. Thank you for writing and sharing.

  3. Thank you both - and all those who commented on Facebook - glad this has touched a chord. I felt I needed to be authentic - to myself and those in my life - rather than always making up excuses, and hope that this offers other highly sensitive women who struggle with anxiety, support in their choices too.

    To those of you who see me as finding it easy to be "out there" because I blog, I hope this gives you insight into what goes on beneath the surface of someone who might outwardly "seem" confident.

  4. I absolutely hate parties where I don't know anyone and HAVE to talk to strangers - but I do love a bit of music and food and dancing with a people I care about :) I used to be a real party girl in my teens and twenties, and I don't really get grown up parties at all, but I can't keep pretending that I'm a wrinkly 25 :)



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