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Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Throw the shade away

I am not a fan of reunions. I don't really see the point. I'm friends with my friends and just because we spent a few years together back in the day, I don't feel the need to meet for one night and return to our very separate lives.  It's like speed dating with people you don't want to sleep with, so why bother? Who wants to have the same boring conversation 30 times in a row?

So you can imagine I was not thrilled at the prospect of a 50th with a lot of people from my past. They were the popular kids and while I mixed with them, I was more the outsider, often present but not really connected. However, there would be enough people from my present, and enough strangers to busy myself with, I figured, so it would be alright.

The first person I bumped into was from my past and we stumbled around awkwardly conversationwise for a bit, summing up our lives, and then her husband joined us so we talked normally to include him, and we all relaxed. 


Later in the evening, a person from long ago came up to me and said "So how have the last 30 years treated you? Have they been good?". I considered the question for a millisecond and replied "Good. Really Good. That's the best way to cover all that. Now we can just be normal" and so we then moved on to all manner of things, including how whales slept and the moons of Jupiter, and things that actually interested us. Of course, the longer we spoke, personal details of our lives were revealed, but in a natural fashion. Not this listing of what you've done and how many kids you have and so on. Not a pointless comparison of experience.


Over the course of the night I spoke to a few more from the past, and many more I'd never met. I had a lot of fun with a couple of people in particular. We seemed to click quickly outside the 'social norms' of conversation. Shared history wasn't necessary, and neither was knowing it. It was all very here and now. Other than the 'how do you know the host?' as a starter, we didn't even really cover traditional 'ice breakers'.


The interesting thing, I pointed out to my husband later, was that people kept offering up why they weren't living in their dream house, or why they didn't really use their University degree. Even though I hadn't asked, they'd just launch into it. I kept wondering why they even cared what I thought of them, as to bother giving me an explanation. It was perplexing for me that the self conscious introvert had somehow become the most self assured person there. Purely because I literally didn't care what they thought of me. There are a million and one things I hate about ageing (and the toll it's taking on my body) but if this is part of the bargain, it's definitely worth the price. 


I am not good at parties, even if I know everyone I find the big group thing quite difficult (I've decided my brain is Finnish and I can't deal with small talk. Like the Finns, I just don't see the point. Which is not to say I'm not interested in what you've been up to if we are friends, obviously). With the rash of 50th parties, I've had to push myself to make conversation with strangers. If I see someone or a couple standing by themselves, I just go over to them. I figure we're all friends of the host, so we should make it a successful night for all, out of respect for our mutual friend. Sometimes they're quite grateful, often they're very interesting but sometimes they're quite rude. However that's on them, and I don't need to take any of their attitude on board. 


While googling a title for another post, I came across this article with the best advice "Act as if you’re a host, not a guest. Reach out to people standing by themselves...those that look obviously uncomfortable...Don’t be afraid to approach people...If you focus on the other person’s comfort, you can lose your own self-consciousness." I was relaxed and confident  at that party because I was focused on them. As I learnt from Augusten Burroughs, the secret to confidence is to focus on the person (or thing) in front of you, and all self judgement disappears.


As I said to someone on the night, 'The thing is, everyone at our age has baggage. You don't get to live this long without going through the wringer a few times. Anyone who pretends everything is perfect is lying and not worth talking to'. You don't need to take on the opinion of others at a party, just throw their shade away. As for me, I've got plenty of emotional baggage but I'm working on carrying it well.




Linking with #StayClassyMama  #DreamTeam and #KCACOLS
PS I don't know what this song is actually about, but I'm co-opting it for my purpose. Whenever you are feeling a little 'less than', blare it out. You just throw the shade away....

PPS Please note the Xmas Link up is live for all your Christmas related posts. #XmasLinky



23 comments:

  1. An interesting and honest post Lydia. Good on you for making the effort to include others and seek out those looking a bit lost. It's always hard at those sorts of parties but I can always find interesting people to talk to and enjoy doing so too. #mlstl

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  2. Hi Lydia, I'm not good at parties either so I love the concept of acting as a host rather than a guest. I actually found a quote about social media and how people always look like they have a better life than us. I used it in my Self Care Sunday with Sue tips. It is funny how people try to make excuses for not achieving certain things in life rather than focusing on all the good that they have. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and have a great week. xx

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  3. Oh Lydia I hate parties, I never know what to say. Im the wall flower even though I'm in my 60's I am still awkward as if I'm 16. I will try and use the "act like your the host and not a guest". Thank you xx #mlstl

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  4. I too am NOT one to attend reunions.

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  5. Like you Lydia, I don’t do parties well. I’m ok with a couple of people but any more than that I seem to forget my words. I love the advice you were given to act like a host, not a guest. I’m going to be that way next time. I’m usually so focussed on how uncomfortable I’m feeling rather than the other person. Great post #MLSTL Will share

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  6. I'm with everyone else in the "I hate parties" camp - maybe it's a blogger thing - where we're introverts IRL and extroverts online (I think there's a blog post in that statement!) I think you did an amazing job and I'm impressed that you don't give a toss about what others think - my husband is very much like that and I envy him the skill.
    I'm not even all that good at being the host. I had a small 50th party and only invited people who knew all the others there - that way I didn't have to worry about anyone feeling left out or not knowing the others - saved me feeling responsible for them - so sort of a fail in the hostess with the mostest stakes too....
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I've shared on my SM :)

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  7. Interesting how you bring up the subject of reunions, Lydia. My high school just had a huge reunion and my girlfriend and I decided not to go. We did go to a reunion about ten years ago, and it was uncomfortable for all the reasons you mention. I do like the advice from the article. Thank you for sharing your relatable story. #MLSTL

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    1. Abrigded life summaries for people you don't care about is as boring as it gets. I don't get people love them enough to go!!

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  8. I think you've nailed it with the emotional baggage, it's not about how much you have, it's how you carry it! I'm better than I used to be but going to a party where I hardly know anyone fills me with dread. I'm much better in a small group than a large one and I'm just fine with that.

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  9. Lydia, not a great party person either but surprisingly, I'm improving because I now find myself hosting a children's birthday party annually. It's helped my social skills and I'm even enjoying the chance to make small talk with parents and children alike.

    I do like the quote about acting as a host not a guest, will be taking it to heart as the social season kicks in.

    SSG xxx

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  10. I'm not great at parties so I like that quote about acting as a host not a guest. I think I'd find it easier to approach people from that viewpoint. I do find it interesting how people like to pass their emotional baggage around, as if somehow they're apologising for it. I've never been to a reunion & it irritates me when people approach me for connection on Facebook. If you couldn't be bothered to talk to me before, why am I now interesting to you?

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    1. Yes, I'm quite anti social on social media - in the sense that I don't need to be friends with everyone I ever met...but I am very chatty daily with my 'feed'

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  11. I like that idea: "Act as if you’re a host, not a guest." I often have to remind myself to look for someone who is alone at a gathering so I can talk to them and draw them into a crowd. Thanks for the good reminder!

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  12. I went to a school reunion a few years ago, I can totoally relate to all you say here. Throw the shade away is a good title. #DreamTeam

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  13. Really interesting take and loved your conclusions. I went to one HS reunion (my northern beaches all girls HS) and I sure was the odd one out. I actually had a career in education, worked full time and couldn't have afforded at any time to go back to the Northern Beaches to live. Most of my friends from back then had done some work, married a local. stayed home and "still" lived on the NBeaches. Nothing in common with them it seems once HS was over. Thank you for linking up for Life This Week. Next week's optional prompt is 45/51 Share Your Snaps #9 11/11/19...the second LAST for 2019 (where did that year go!) Hope to see you there. Denyse.

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  14. Really interesting to read someone else viewpoint on this. I quite like a reunion, but I think I am just nosey ::) Thanks for sharing with the #DreamTeam

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  15. Sounds like an interesting party - I'm not sure I'd have liked it all that much!! #DreamTeam

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  16. This is such an interesting post about human nature and psychology. I do wish I had your attitude of not giving two hoots what others think. And I agree, a school reunion would be my worst nightmare!Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

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  18. I'm not great at parties but did go to my 20th anniversary school reunion a couple of years ago. We have kept in touch via social media so we knew a lot about each other's families and it was nice to catch up in person. Thanks for linking up with #stayclassymama

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  19. I skipped both my 10th and 20th HS reunions. There were times I wished I'd went to most of the people I was actually friends with I still talk to semi-regularly. The rest I can facebook stalk if I feel the need #KCACOLS

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  20. You sound like you have this whole situation well figured out. The self-assuredness is oozing from your writing. I think the truth is most people out there are lacking in confidence and all we see is a front. I take the same attitude as you now, I don't care what other people think of me because it really doesn't matter. I focus on myself and my family and let all the other stuff slip away. Great reflections on your reunion experience #KCACOLS

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