“On the night of my 33rd birthday last year, I sat with my husband at a Mexican restaurant, happily munching away on our third serving of chips and guac while sipping on a margarita.
‘You know the one thing I feel guilty about?’ I said, between bites. ‘Not socializing more. I truly thought by this age, I would be better at it.’
My husband nodded his silent agreement, our two introverted souls connecting in that quiet way that only introverts can.
The truth is, I’ve always been bad at socializing. Not in a way where I think I’m hideously and horribly awkward in social settings — I mean, I do know how to chit-chat and small talk and big talk and deep talk and essentially hold a conversation (I think) — but I have a tendency to make any form of socializing a big deal.
Just getting together for a quick dinner? Um, cue me doing a 20-minute assessment: Do I have the energy to put on real clothes? Am I in the mood to talk? How much will this take out of me? What’s the trade-off for a night of ‘fun’ when it will drain me the next day?
It’s the sad, horrible truth and I have always, always been this way. I can remember longing all of my life for a best friend, the kind you see in movies growing up, the girls who are always at each other’s houses and spend hours together, basically connected at the hip.
That never happened for me, and even as I got older, I just never seemed to have the ability to get close enough to anyone to be their BFF. A lot of it is just who I am as a person: a quiet, introverted writer who needs a lot of alone time to recharge, especially now that I’m a mother of a large brood of kids.
Whatever the reason, here I am. I still feel a twinge of guilt, mingled with FOMO (fear of missing out), when I browse social media and see the big group pictures of all ‘the girls’ hanging out. I feel a stab of panic when I read articles with headlines like ‘Girls Trips Are the Key to a Lasting Life’ or ‘Your BFF Is More Important Than Your Husband,’ because honestly, I’m not sure that will ever be me.
But instead of beating myself up for being the way that I am or writing out New Year’s resolutions to ‘be more outgoing’ at the ripe old age of 33, I’m finally learning to just chill out about it already.
The older I get, the more I realize that even the best of friendships are imperfect, everyone has a secret fear that everyone else is hanging out more and having more fun than them, and that this season of intensive parenting won’t last forever.
I read a quote recently that really comforted me. It said something along the lines of, ‘Don’t worry so much. They’re not visiting you, either.’ As humorous as that was supposed to be, it’s also pretty true, isn’t it? We’re all worried about what we’re missing out on, but we’re also more similar than we realize.
So, maybe I don’t have a BFF, or a giant group of gal pals, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m doing OK. Maybe I’ll become the kooky old lady who travels with her gal pals later in life or maybe I’ll wind up perfectly content to sip my coffee on my porch alone, but either way, learning to accept myself for who I am is definitely the most freeing part of getting older.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Chaunie Brusie. You can follow her journey on Facebook, and read the rest on mom.com. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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