If I’m honest, socialising has never been something I’ve been good at. When I was younger I was bullied quite badly (which is a complicated, messy story for another time) and as I’ve grown up I’ve not been the best at maintaining relationships or making new friendships. I can be quite closed off to meeting new people (I find it exhausting) and with the friends I do have I can go months without seeing them or (me being the stubborn cow I am) I can find myself falling out with them and ending the friendship abruptly.
Now, before you get the wrong impression and conjure up an image of me as the most frosty, unappealing friend this world has ever seen I should say that I do have people that I care deeply about, and we equally invest lots of time into nurturing our friendship and spending time together. I also love a good party or social event. I enjoy networking and spending time with fellow bloggers at events, getting to know them and discovering their various corners of the internet.
I’m basically a walking, talking contradiction. I love parties, but hate meeting new people (unless I’m half a bottle of wine down). I love spending time with my best friends, but have no motivation to build new relationships. Which I why I’ve come to the conclusion that I am an ‘anti-social socialite’. You won’t find me making conversation when my bus is delayed, and at events where I know nobody I’m most likely by the food, shovelling in as much as I can and scrolling Instagram in a bid to avoid awkward small talk.
I mean, I’m 100% an introvert. Socialising is exhausting to me, and most weeks the thought of heading out post-work to spend time in a crowded room with strangers has me running for the hills. At my very worst, I’m cancelling plans left right and centre because I just know if I do go I’m going to be the worst company, awkwardly shuffling around, glued to my phone and incapable of striking up any kind of engaging conversation with the people around me.
I also find any sort of sit down meal with a large group, or people I barely know, excruciating. I very quickly know when I gel with someone, and when I do I crave one-to-one conversation with them, which doesn’t really work during a meal. When I don’t gel with someone…well, let’s just say it’s palpably awkward. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I can’t fake interest, I really can’t for the life of me (I wish I could, it would have made many a dinner far more bearable for everyone involved) so when dinner invitations come up, unless people I’m very close to are attending, it tends to be a big fat nope from me. Give me a Dominos and a Disney film any day over venturing out to spend a couple of hours shifting in my chair and ruminating about how terrible I am at socialising.
I love spending time on my own, I’m not exaggerating. I can happily spend a weekend pottering around my flat, taking blog photos, watching Netflix, cooking, soaking in the bath, listening to podcasts – I feel so much more energised when I’ve spent some time on my own.
Let’s get a little bit more light-hearted over here, shall we? Bloody hell do I love a party, and when the atmosphere is good (and the music is good) I am LIVING for it! I love hosting drinks at my flat (even though it is pretty tiny) and love discovering new bars with my friends even more.
When it comes to blogger events, I feel like I owe a lot of my social life to them because I’ve made lots of brilliant friends through them, so much so that it’s now rare for me to attend an event and know nobody there. I’ve had some of my best evenings at blogger events, and the ones I regret attending are few and far between. Glass of prosecco in hand and surrounded by pretty products or clothes, I am really in my element and I’ll chat away to anybody and everybody who strikes up a conversation with me. Maybe it’s because we have something so fundamental in common, which makes it easier for me to dive head first into exciting conversation? Maybe it’s because blogger events tend to be geared towards being shareable online, and therefore there’s normally lots to discuss and explore together? Whatever it is, I love being social at blogger events, no matter what the weather’s like outside.
As with literally every aspect of life, balance is key for me. I try to give myself at the very least three nights a week at home, spending time on my own. When I find myself out basically every evening, I quickly tire of it, and I find myself longing for some time with just me, myself and I. Similarly, if I spend all of my week home alone I find myself craving some social interaction and tearing through my most recent Whatsapps trying to force someone, ANYONE, to spend time with me.
I also only say yes to things I know I will enjoy. I hate having to cancel last minute, so I don’t say yes to attending things I know I’ll have a burning desire to drop out of. I feel like I’ve got a good balance now, but of course I do slip up occasionally!