life of the small intimate gathering

I went to the last session of my divorce recovery class last night (technically, it’s a relationship-ending recovery class—not everyone who takes it was married to their partner).  It was an amazing end to a powerful experience.  I’ll talk more about that another time.

I realized something about myself last night.  Only about 1/2 of the class time was structured.  We had a lot of time to eat and talk—it felt like a party.  After class, it seemed like people stuck around more, as well.  What I realized as I was driving home was this:  I do not like socializing in big groups of people.  Even, it seems, in groups where I like and feel comfortable with everyone present, as was the case last night.  I’ve known for a while that I prefer socializing in smaller groups, but this piece, that I really don’t like big groups was somewhat of a revelation to me.  I think I feel a bit lost and overwhelmed in them.  I end up mostly flitting from conversation to conversation, maybe contributing, but rarely getting deeply involved.  And if there’s one thing I love, it’s deeply involved conversation, just, apparently, not in the midst of a large group.  There have been a few times that I’ve been able to have a great conversation in the midst of a big group, but during those times I’ve been able to get one-on-one with someone, and kind of forget the rest of the people there.  This is not the usual experience, granted.

Now, I’m not going to start turning down all invitations to big events or big get-togethers, but I think this is a good thing to know about myself.  First of all, I can stop feeling like a failure when I don’t have the time of my life at a big party.  I’ve been looking back over past “big group” experiences (including sitting at a big table at a restaurant—I seem to always end up between two conversations and just go back and forth between them) and letting myself off the hook for feeling so out of place.  I have finally come to a point in my life that I know I don’t have to like big groups to be an okay person.  And I do okay in them, I really do.  It’s not like it’s torture; I just have a hard time finding my place in them—it’s so different from how I am in a gathering of two or three other people (a setting in which, frankly, I rock).  So now, the next time I’m in a situation like that, instead of making my discomfort worse and internally berating myself for not being the life of the party (because I don’t have to be), hopefully I’ll remember that this is just a part of who I am, and hopefully, I’ll give myself permission to flit from conversation to conversation without settling down.

Or even permission to just go home early. 🙂


5 responses to “life of the small intimate gathering

  1. It’s such an important moment of self discovery to realize your limitations and be okay with them. We all have our areas of weakness, and by acknoledging them, we become stronger. Good for you for recognizing this and moving forward within it!

  2. Congratulations!! You are now an adult. I have these conversations in my head all the time. All. The. Time. And I’ve always been the “life of the party” person. I know, couldn’t have imagined it, could you ;)! I finally discovered (with the help of YCU) that I didn’t have to be at every single event anyone ever threw. The party would go on without me being there to supervise, and if I wasn’t feeling it, I could just stay home, without even the “good excuse like some weirdo emergency”clause. Kind of liberating, huh?

  3. It is so important to realize these things about ourselves. Good for you for making the discovery.

  4. I get this so much — I often feel the same way. I’d rather have dinner with 3-4 close friends than go to a huge party where I hardly know anyone. Even if the same 3-4 close friends also go. Something about feeling out of place, or not belonging in the way I’d like to.

    Anyway, big hugs to you on continuing to learn about yourself. You’ve grown so much the last year and a half — it quite amazes me sometimes.


  5. Isn’t sort of an awesome moment when you come to a realization like this about yourself and once acknowledged you can let yourself be yourself without feeling like there is something wrong? I know for me it is. As far as groups go I do ok when I know most everyone in the group but if I don’t know many of them it always feels like sheer torture.

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