Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Making Merry


The party was in a small apartment right in the middle of the financial district of Makati City, in an old building that had parquet floors and beige walls. The people were the usual mix of expats and locals; art experts, businessmen or lawyers in their professional lives. It was casual and oh-so-chic; red and white wine served with deviled eggs, hors d'ouvres and snappy, intellectual conversation. There was much laughter and merrymaking. 

I felt like a fish out of water. 

As is usually the case in small intimate settings with people I do not know, I was out of place and awkward. I latched onto my friend Jay all night, and tried to feel some security in his presence. I do not know what happens to me when I'm in the company of strangers, as if I suddenly grow a new personality, one entirely too polite and quiet. Definitely different from the personality I exhibit when I'm with friends.

I tried to make small talk with some girl whose name I now forgot, but I remember feeling like I was having an out-of-body experience. I was there, and I was listening to her talk, but I also felt like I was somewhere else, watching myself listening to her talk. It was altogether too strange and forced. Merrymaking is an apt word I think. In my case, there seems to be much more "making" involved for the "merry" I tend to get.

At some point, I remember asking the host how she knew all these people. And she said that she didn't, and that she met most of them that night. Basically, she told me that everyone was practically a stranger to everyone else.

And I remember looking around, and wondering how all these people in this room can feel so at ease with themselves. And how easily their personalities, witty and charming, seem to come out. 

And I vowed (vowed!) that I would try to do the same. I was going to squeeze out every bit of "merry" I can get from this party, even if the "making" part of it kills me.

Guess what? It didn't kill me.

Photo taken here.

35 comments:

  1. I feel the exact same way around people I don't know--I'm very quiet. I don't know how to start conversations with strangers, let alone, what to talk about. So...that's probably why I FAIL at mingle-mixers.

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  2. And with a little more practice you will be charming all those strangers like you charm all of us here in the blogosphere.

    Love your drawing by the way!

    http://rantersbox.blogspot.com/

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  3. people skills... social graces... i hear they teach those in schools nowadays. they weren't part of my curriculum back then. you had to be rich or socialize with the 'haves' to acquire them. it pains me always to see how more awkward the poor get in the presence of the rich and how more confident, even patronizing, the rich get in the presence of the poor. i wonder, do the rich ever get uncomfortable in social gatherings? or are these so part of their upbringing that they crave them as plants do water? or am i being so 'mahirap' and 'mababaw' in so thinking these thoughts out loud?

    esf

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  4. I know exactly how you feel. I hate going to social occasions where I have nothing in comman with most of the people there. I often end up drinking way too much and feeling very sorry for myself in the morning

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  5. that happend to me too, ..... i went in a party where i didn't no anyone but the host..., but of course, the host wouldn't be able to cater to me everytime s i tended to be alone that time
    :)
    mice drawing by the way

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  6. The interesting thing is that we never see ourselves as others do. I can guarantee no matter how confident others are looking, everyone there also had at least one feeling of insecurity during the night (whether that was pre-event what am I going to wear? what will everyone be wearing? who will I know? what will I talk about? why am I there? to the poor host/ess stressing about how the event will go). The main thing is to go out and enjoy the event, take a genuine interest and learn everyone's story, we all have one, and the worse thing that can happen, it turns out to be an early night.

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  7. FC, maybe you can join me one time. i usually just attend gatherings like this than the bar scene for a while now. =D

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  8. out of body experience.. hehehe

    ayoko din ng ganyan. lalo na kung susyalan. mas comfy pa ako sa party party ng mga iskwater kesa sa ganyan. di ako maka relate sa kanila. :D

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  9. lucky you. i got tagged for something like this once, felt the same exact thing you did (ugh, major cringe-fest) and went home pissdrunk and high from something. how stupid of me to think that that would make me seem more interesting. it didn't. just gave me a massive headache the morning after.

    try too hard and things eventually get disastrous. i just had to learn that the hard way.

    http://spaceoutjunkie.blogspot.com

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  10. I think I could function AT ALL at social gathering, mixers, whatever without alcohol. I've always been slightly....shy. GOod for you for merry making! Glad it didn't kill you!

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  11. I am not so good with strangers. I would have drank like a fish.

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  12. Naku, mahiyain pa naman ako. hindi ako pang maramihang tao :(

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  13. I was the same in those situations and have started forcing myself to be more out there with ppl.

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  14. I've been there, too. I've had, at certain periods of my life, intense social anxiety. It keeps me from truly enjoying myself in social situations. I definitely find that it is easier if someone else (a stranger at a party) is asking me questions- rather than me trying to come up with the right questions to ask to get to know a stranger. I've gotten off the hook lately-with four kids at home, I rarely have the occasion to go to social events (thank you, little monsters!)

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  16. Good on ya! ^_^ So what did you do to make merry? Suggest naked twister? That's usually a good icebreaker.~

    Kat

    http://katsidhe.blogspot.com/

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  17. you survived....yayyy!!! I'm the same in a crowd...I normally hide in a corner and stay there until it's all down and over with...

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  18. Wow! Something like this happened to me. Too bad it was my wedding. Thank goodness I knew the bride!

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  19. Social Events....AAAGGGHHH!!! I'm quite a wallflower myself. Still, it seems silly to be shy.

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  20. For some people it just comes naturally, they mingle and carry on conversations as if they have known those people all their lives. I'm just not good at small talk, it just feels so unnatural, and I have a hard time pretending I'm interested about what they say, particularly when they are drunk.

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  21. Why couldn't I end up at a party with all of your other commenters? Or you. I never want to open my mouth. well I guess a party like that would be soooper quiet, eh; a party for introverts-only.

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  22. I've faced this a time or two myself. Well done for battling through with it rather than hiding away. As many people have said, it is difficult to judge others confidence - many were likely just as self conscious. Thanks for your recent comment on my blog.

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  23. I think most of us can relate to this in varying degrees. I usually drink far too much BEFORE arriving there, then kid myself no one can tell..!

    These days I much prefer to be a house hermit.

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  24. I have those out-of-body experiences too. Not that I could put it into words before, but reading your post made me realize what that weird feeling I have at parties is. I don't have a problem starting conversations with people, but I'm never relaxed and at ease being amongst strangers. So I tend not to go to those parties anymore. I don't need new friends anyway. I have trouble enough keeping those I have already ;-)

    Thanks for visiting my graveyard :-)

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  25. they call it small talk for a reason, too. I can do it, but there is a secret--none of us likes it. Some of us fake it better is all. Except my mom--she LIKED it. Go figure. My first visit here and I think your writing is terrific, so now I'm stuck with another blog to follow.

    I read why you write. "I write because I would like to think that I am not alone, that I am not the only person who's crazy and sane and stupid and smart and gorgeous and ugly and freaky and conservative and human and divine." So fine. Make me tear up before 8 a.m. It's why many of us write. Thank you for visiting my blog--now I've found yours!

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  26. 's what I tell my mom.

    btw, great blog. thank god someone has the guts to be smart and interesting on the internet.

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  27. I used to be the same way, but one day it hit me - I will more than likely never see most of these people again, who cares if they think I'm an ass :)

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  28. Though less than four feet tall, his personality filled the hall. He captivated us all. Why, even a midget can be charismatic. I heard of a dwarf who was around three feet tall and maybe you have too. His parents named him Charles Sherwood Stratton but a Showman called PT BARNUM later nick-named him GENERAL TOM THUMB and eventually the whole world came to know him as that.Tom courted kings and queens and such but not so much because of his little body but by all accounts it was said to be because of his bigger than life personality. So there you have it! What's in your personality?
    You are building your very own personality but it's not bound for this world anymore than your body was bound for the womb. Yeah, you can exist in the womb without a mouth or a nose but try getting away without them when it comes time to leave that watery world. The same kind of thing can be said about your personality. For now, your personality is hooked-up to an outside life support system but something more than simple survival has to happen to it before the time comes when it is finally forced to leave this world.
    Consider yourself to be a three-stage rocket that's on a journey to a place way beyond the stars. If you like, you can do as I do and label the separate stages individually. I've named mine, ME, MYSELF & I. Hey, don't laugh... some people name their private parts.
    CONSULTING WITH THE SPIRITUAL HOBO

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  29. Came by to thank you for visiting the window. I like the way you write & the set-up of your blog: very nice.
    I'm a corner-dweller at parties too.

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  30. I used to be painfully shy, so I can relate to this. I still have moments in crowds of people that I don't know, but my turning point came when I realized that everyone else feels the same way in gatherings like that. If I make an effort to put someone else at ease, it helps me to feel more comfortable too. Asking questions is a good way to draw people out and start conversation rolling, I've found. And studies have shown that the more interest you show in someone, the more interesting they think you are. *smile*

    Thanks for stopping by my place and leaving such a lovely note. I'm curious how you found me.

    Blessings,
    Carolynn

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  31. Aahh social skills, how they have eluded me.
    I completely understand your situation, I am fairly loud and confident at work and around my closest friends, but put me in a room full of strangers and I freeze. I avoid eye contact, I hover around the food/drinks so I at least look like I'm not talking to people because I'm extremely busy with the hors d'oeuvres!
    All I can say is that the iPhone has been my saviour! I no longer have to talk to anyone :D

    www.ablogfulofboredom.blogspot.com

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  32. Good for you. Practice and be your cool self - we like you!




    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

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  33. Social settings with complete strangers can be intimidating. I think how you felt at the party is completely natural, and it is admirable that you have vowed to work on pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.

    P.S. -Thanks for having visited my newbie blog, and for your comment.


    -MBL

    http://homethatlovebuilt.blogspot.com

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  34. I belong to the FB group: Texting in Awkward Situations (the reason I own a cel phone, or, umm, at least one of the reasons).
    :)

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