An honest RSVP

Thank you for the invitation to your party.

I was delighted to receive it and happy that you are celebrating.

Unfortunately I will not be able to make it.

I can make up an excuse, right now or nearer DDay. I usually do, though you may not know this…to make us both feel better.

I’m hoping it won’t matter hugely to you, I would have just been a face in the crowd. But I am touched I am part of your crowd, truly. If my presence really matters hugely to your enjoyment, I know you will try to convince me to come. This makes it even harder to say the following…

The truth is this. I am not good at parties. There I have said it.

The need to be “on good form” and “let my hair down” tends to induce the opposite feelings in me: stress, pressure and anxiety. It brings out my depressive demons in force.

Chances are I won’t know what to wear. If it’s fancy dress I’ll feel twice a dick. I’ll feel the fattest person there. Second I won’t know what to say. I am not good at small talk. I feel I have nothing of value to contribute. Third I won’t know what to do. That makes me really anxious. That’s why at parties you will often find me in the kitchen, doing something practical, working, you’ll tell me to relax, but in truth, this is how I can. Ha! I’ve just realised why I catered for my own wedding!

Then there’ll be photographs. I hate being in photos. You may not know we didn’t have a photographer at my own wedding for this reason.

Then there’ll be lots of noise (my head starts to go all jangly) and dancing (and I won’t know what to do with my body and I’ll feel all self conscious again.) And lots of alcohol, which I can’t do.

Hence why you tend to find me sitting quietly by myself at parties, or clinging for dear life to the conversation of one friend. And why I’ll always leave early. And if I do these things, you’ll worry that I’m not enjoying myself, that there’s something wrong. And there’s no need for that.

In truth my life is quite limited, the things I do, the social situations I go to. This works for me. I’ve learnt that pushing myself harder leads to meltdown.

The only parties I’m any good at involve spontaneity. Very small groups, where I know everyone. Outdoor gatherings. And are centred around food, sat down. You organise that, I’ll be there. Promise.

So know that my refusal is nothing to do with my feelings for you. It’s just my way of staying sane a little longer. And I know as a friend, you would want that for me too.

I hope you have a wonderful time.

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