• Shreya Teresita

A Letter From That Awkward Girl at Your Party

©Shreya Teresita
Somewhere in the Himalayas. ©Shreya Teresita

So, here's the thing. I'm asocial.

No, that does not mean I'm dangerous to people. It does not make me unnecessarily rude either. Most likely, I will be the overly nice person you meet at a social gathering. Problem is, I will expect the same from you, which you probably won't be because you're normal. You will not notice as I hold the door open for you, or smile at even though you're basically a stranger. And that's okay, you didn't do it intentionally. It's a party, you're busy having fun. But that response will keep me up later at night. And I will run from you for the rest of the evening.

In a small talk, I will be the attentive one. I will smile, laugh, and pay attention to everything you say. I will ask questions, mostly because I fear the awkward pauses. You will ask me questions too, because you're nice. But, honey, I'm nervous, and my answers will be so boring that your attention will drift away mid sentence. Or I will be a painful try-hard, which is why you will lose interest. So, even as you nod and smile at me out of good manners, I'll know you're only trying to come up with a gentle excuse to leave.

Sometimes, I will brave up and crack a joke, or share a story from my experience. Good chances are that you won't even hear me, because the others are louder. Their voices and stories are more confident than mine. So, as my self-esteem takes a painful punch, I will slowly lean back in my seat (crouch into a fetal position in my mind), and go back to being the silent, smiling listener.

I will be the one who smiles the most and talks the least at the party, because I cannot keep up with your energy and confidence. And smiling is the easiest, the kindest thing I can do. 

In the end, when it all gets too hard, I will be the first to sneak away. You will probably not even notice. And if you do, you, as a nice person, will gently try and stop me. But after I gently turn you down and run, you won't miss me for a second.

You see, I don't flee social situations because I'm unfriendly, or because I don't like you. I flee because grinding my head over what to say, over how to be interesting enough for you, is exhausting. Watching you lose interest in me, watching the rest of the party effortlessly have fun, is exhausting. Because in social situations, I'm a preemie: I somehow manage to push my way out and be there, but I don't how to breathe without help.

The next time you have a party, you won't invite me. I will totally understand where you're coming from. I'm a party pooper, the socially-challenged guest you have to try so hard to include. After two tries, you will give up and call only my fun-loving friends. In a way, you will be doing me a favour, sparing me the horror of socialising. Your rudeness will spare me the many minor panic attacks that I usually suffer when crammed in a room with confident aquaintances. So, yeah, thanks.

But here's the thing. You will never know the side of me that can sing the loudest and light up the room. The 'me' who, in the company of people with patience and loyalty, can be the life of the party.

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