Friday dinner night out with 3 friends. A long time to organize. A lot to catch up on. Dinner was at a Peruvian-Japanese fusion restaurant – something much more exciting than all the chain restaurants in my town. After dinner we ended up at a bar. First problem, the only served beer (it was a brew house) and none of us really like beer much. Second issue was the music. There was a DJ and the volume was so loud, I couldn’t hear a word my friends were saying. Now before you go calling me old, this has ALWAYS been my pet peeve about the whole bar scene. I have always had difficulty hearing the person closest to me when there is loud noise in the background. And yes, I’ve had my ears checked. Nothing wrong with them. Perhaps we can blame it on a processing disorder, but regardless I am not asking for absolute quiet. I just want to be able to have a conversation. Especially with people I haven’t seen in a while. There is nothing more disappointing to me than going out with people you haven’t seen in a while and you really want to catch up and the social situation you end up in doesn’t allow any real connection. And then there was the whole “at a bar” vibe with the DJ trying to get us engaged, making eyes. No one was dancing and the whole atmosphere was not at all a “club scene.” We were on a beautiful brick patio with a decor vibe that said quaint cobblestone infused town. The DJ’s presence was so misaligned with the environment. And the bar owner kept coming over to us, giving us his card so we could “spread the word” to people in our neighboring town to come check them out. I understand this is him doing his promotional job, but it was creepy.
Now, when I was young and single, I hated the bar scene even then, but I thought it was something I had to tolerate to be out with my friends and put myself out there to potentially meet a partner. I tried soooo hard to have a good time, but looking back I have always felt awkward, unattractive, out of place, I was miserable. I have always been miserable at bars. And something hit me at age 51 that I have never been required to like this or find a way to accept or like it. That made me a bit depressed the next day. Realizing this has probably always been social anxiety got me down. And I think there is another piece too – just not my scene. Social anxiety is my body’s way of saying -get the hell out of something you don’t want to be in. And don’t feel weak or ashamed. Go toward things that make you feel good. I think my confusion has been that I am out with my friends, which is something that does make me happy, but it is the venue that ruins it for me. This is not only my 51 year-old self saying this. This is my high school/college/whole life. But it is not like I haven’t “put in the work” to go to bars with friends and socialize. I was just super disappointed in myself that I have forced myself to do this all my life to see my friends when I hate it so much. Why didn’t I be more scrupulous. Don’t want to be seen as a loser. I am totally up for dinner on a patio, doesn’t even have to be live music. This past Friday’s experience as a 51 year old with no interest in deafening clubbing music on a serene brick patio was miserable. I know my friends could tell I was uncomfortable, but I didn’t feel I could ask to leave. We had all come in my car. And we were celebrating two birthdays.
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