I haven’t been feeling so great lately. I’ve been in a bit of a depression, and haven’t wanted to do a whole lot. It’s been hard enough to get up and go to work the past two days. I’ve just wanted to be a hermit and sleep my life away.
But last night, I did something different. I went out to dinner. It was a sort of work function – one of the companies that my work partners with (they are underwriters for the general insurance we sell) wanted to thank us for meeting our sales targets over the past financial year. So they treated the insurance team (including a few people who are now in different departments) to a celebratory dinner. Normally, I would make up an excuse and avoid this kind of outing like the plague. Especially when feeling the way I’ve been feeling. However, I didn’t make up an excuse, not even at the last minute, not even when it meant sticking around town by myself for an hour & 1/2 after I’ve finished work, waiting for the rest of the team to finish so we could have this dinner.
I went. And I talked. I made conversation and I listened to conversation. I stayed until the end. And I even enjoyed myself! It was a very pleasant evening, and I am glad I went. I am very proud of myself for not avoiding this evening when it would have been so easy to just find an excuse not to go.
Sitting around a table with eleven other people in a social context isn’t usually a situation I am comfortable with. At work, even though we do chit chat a little between calls, it’s a very different experience to sitting around a table socialising. It’s difficult to explain, but when it’s work related I can deal because there are parameters for the conversations I have. There is a work context – I am conversing about work matters so it’s clear and straightforward. I have a purpose for speaking, I don’t have to try to maintain or participate in idle chatter. In work related conversation you know what the boundaries are – I don’t have to wonder if they’ll be bored with what I am saying, or whether they will laugh at my joke or think it stupid.
When it’s a social situation there aren’t those parameters – communication relies on organic flow of conversation. It is unscripted, and purposeless, and requires instantaneous reactions to words being spoken. Because I always have to think (or maybe overthink) things through – I can end up either making the conversation stilted and uncomfortable while I think of a response, or in a group situation I remain silent and possibly seem aloof or disinterested.
But last night, I muddled through. Mostly listening to everyone else but I did talk too! Of course me being me, today I need the entire day of solitude to unwind, gather my thoughts, reenergise, etc. So I am lucky I have today off work. But even though I am feeling wrung out, I have to say it was still worth it. I managed to relax a little bit and simply be, just for a moment.