As someone who has spent their entire life struggling with social anxiety and perpetual awkwardness, a recurring goal of mine has always consisted of encouraging myself to participate in “uncomfortable” social situations. I was recently gifted the opportunity to join a select group for a private happy hour on a rooftop in downtown Minneapolis. It seemed like a potentially fun opportunity, so I gratefully accepted.
After arriving, my self consciousness fluctuated rapidly throughout the evening as I was introduced to various people in an unfamiliar setting. I’d never been invited to a happy hour before especially not one with a group entirely consisting of strangers. However, the experience was eye-opening. A large majority of the attendees seemed to be well acquainted with one another, which caused my mind to propel me back to my middle school and high school years. Back in those days, I had a few close friends but always felt an intense separation between the various cliques. It was something that really bothered me. I existed on the outskirts of everyone and spent a lot of time by myself. That is pretty much what happened at this happy hour event. Although, there were some kind individuals who took time to chat with me throughout the evening. Part of me wished that I was able to be more confident and join in with the larger groups, rather than just hide in the corner, but some things take time…a LOT of time.
Regardless, I did manage to enjoy myself for the most part. I was able to taste an assortment of food items from the restaurant within the building (Dalton & Wade) who catered the party. My plate seemed a bit random but it was delicious. The social mingling and eating lasted about an hour and a half, which actually went by pretty quickly despite my discomfort. The weather was unusually warm for this time of the year and being on a rooftop provided a spectacular view. I don’t spend much time downtown anymore but it’s a place that I like a lot, so being there again felt somewhat invigorating.
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Following happy hour, we were led on a tour of the up and coming shared rental office building we had been sitting atop of. (Apparently that’s a new trendy thing.) It was a bit odd, considering the nature of the group, but it was an activity that gave everyone something to do. A significant amount of construction was being performed at the time of our tour but it was interesting to observe the building process.
Not much time was spent going through the “work in progress” floor before we headed to the lobby area where the restaurant Dalton & Wade resides along with a lounge area, art exhibition and fitness center. Quite an interesting range of offerings for those looking to simply rent space for hosting business meetings.
Despite not needing to rent office space (because I have no business needs of that nature at this time) along with feeling a bit down about my social experience, I was glad that I put myself in the whole situation by attending. My optimism led me there that night and though my expectations weren’t necessarily met, it was a step of progress towards the goal that I’ve been working on since youth. It’s easy for us to glimpse at the lives of others and judge them on their insecurities. While this whole scenario might not seem to be all that remarkable or I may seem lacking in the eyes of others, I’m proud of what I accomplished and that brings me to a final thought; we should be proud of ourselves more often and also encouraging of others more often as well.