Forced Fun 2016-07-28

imageForced fun is not my thing. Okay, I’m a real ‘stick in the mud’ because I am the least ‘fun’ person I know. Does that mean I don’t enjoy people, places, or things? Not at all. Getting together with others for the mere goal of having hilarious merriment literally gives me a headache. I am filled with dread and angst from the time the plans are made until we are finally home with our slippers, remote, and fat cat. While others look forward to social engagements, I view them as just another thing I need to suffer through. Making up games and other activities to build camaraderie, promote team building, or simply to fill a period of time with merriment and what I like to call ‘forced fun’ is torture to me. Torture, I tell ya.

There was a time when my social calendar was full. Get togethers, ski club, happy hour with co-workers, dating and dancing, dinner with friends, bar hopping, concerts, sand volleyball at the lake, etc. I made myself do those things although it wasn’t always the most pleasant for me. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a shrinking violet or anything –I was the first on the dance floor, a joiner and a party-hardier for sure.

The older I get the more withdrawn unto myself I have become as though I have reverted to how I was in much of my childhood. Similar to being Benjamin-Button since around 30 or so.

I find being an introvert does not mean I am shy, anti-social, joyless, humorless, or dislike going places. I love casual get-togethers at restaurants, the occasional cook-out, partnering up for a ballgame or something like that. However, it is miserable if once I arrive somewhere the pressure to ‘have fun’ and interact closes in like a cloud on a rainy day. That’s about when the phone appears from my pocket and the crosswords, jigsaws, sudoku, Facebook and Twitter portion of the evening begins and the clock starts ticking on how much time I should be there before it is appropriate to leave. I talk with people and am really interested in them and what they have to say; but having not been around them much, I run out of stuff to talk about within minutes. Not a lot of people I know are immersed in current events, politics, gardening, writing, Antique Road Show, or whatever else interests me, and those are not  always the greatest party icebreakers. That is definitely not saying what interests me is any better or worse, it’s just different without much commonality. And, workplace forced fun is the absolute worst. Am I right, people? Instead of drawing energy and happiness from these situations I am left drained and exhausted.

I appreciate every invitation so don’t quit asking , but do not be disappointed, angry, or judgmental with me if I do not show up. I dwell in that infamous gray zone of ‘it’s not you, it’s me‘ … Sandy


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