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. 20170908_171023The 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.

2 thoughts on “Moxie

  1. Great job on attending and having a good time at the event. I could never bring myself to go to a social event like that where everyone except me already knows everyone else. How high would you rate your anxiety level when people came over to talk with you?

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  2. Hi Nat! Thank you for your kind words. My anxiety was extremely high, as it always seems to be when I’m not hanging out at home by myself. I’m not sure if it’s this way for you but when people were conversing with me I became hyper aware of my muscles clenching (from anxiety). It led me to worry over whether they noticed and if it was making them uncomfortable.

    I’ve been working on being extra compassionate to myself in those moments by thinking self encouraging thoughts like: “It’s okay. You’re doing enough just by being in this situation.” “Who cares if they’re judging you? It’s possible for them to be thinking good or bad things even if you’re calm.”

    Positive self talk seems to help a little bit but it’s still not easy being in vulnerable social situations. Something that has been motivating me to be more social is the big dreams that I wish to achieve. I’ve realized that in order to accomplish them, I need to force myself to socialize and network. It’s painful at times but the thought of not ever seeing my dreams come to fruition is more devastating than anything.

    I hope you aren’t heavily impacted by anxiety. It’s can be so awful. Either way, stay strong!!


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