Mingling with the “Normies”

I have few friends. This is not new.  My side of the wedding party was all relatives, whereas my husband had mostly friends.  I have trouble making and keeping friends.  I am pretty high-strung ( anxious) and don’t talk much. And, then I flake because I get stressed or symptomatic and no one understands that.

So, the few friends I have are from working/volunteering/meetings having to do with mental health issues.

I decided to branch out and meet new people.  I checked out meetup.  I looked at hiking groups, but honestly I am not in shape and dog meetups, but my dog is unpredictable and nervous.  I finally found one that sounded about my speed.  It is mothers with grown children. Mine are 21 and 18 and although my youngest is home, he does not need me as much. They meet for walks, lunches, that sort of thing.

The first one I went to was a happy hour.  I could have drank water or coffee, but I had a margarita.  That was the only way I would get through this. (I have no idea where I am going with sobriety, I did not realize how much alcohol can be a part of social events). I met this huge group of women.  We were sitting around the table and I was just listening and someone asked my hobbies.  I can usually get away with the few things I do.  I spend time with my family, play with my dog, surf the internet.  Apparently, that was not good enough, and they wanted me to come up with a bucket list.  Eventually, it was time to leave. Thank goodness!

I recently went to a second event.  A paint and sip.  It was fine at first.  We were talking as a big group.  Then people broke off into smaller groups.  I noticed I was not part of any group.  I tried to join in and then walked off and did my own thing.  Then it was time to paint.  The people around me said they draw stick figures so I thought I was in good company.  Everyone came away with a good looking painting except me.  My family was kind.  It is hard to get an idea without the sample but this is my finished work.

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I am signed up for another group next month, a walk and lunch. I figure one a month is enough.

It is so much easier talking to people with a mental health condition.  They get it. I don’t have to hide anything.  I don’t feel judged for not having an interesting hobby.

so, I am mingling with “normies” but very appreciative of my friends.

Lori Bernstein

I am a mental health paraprofessional with lived experience. I have schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type and social anxiety. I have gone from being reclusive to public speaking.

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