No one is typing…
Although the reopening of the country has been delayed for a few more weeks, we all know that it is coming one day in the future and I’m sure that we’re all feeling some type of way about it. For some that will mean excitement and planning, for others it will mean anxiety and fear.
For those of you who are in the latter group, you may have breathed a sigh of relief with Boris’ announcement. It is understandable that after over a year of various levels of restrictions, everything opening up again can feel daunting and overwhelming.
Personally, while I am excited about the fact that I can visit my family whenever I want, I can go out for dinner, or I can have parties and weddings and celebrations with as many friends as I want, I am also dubious about the final stages. For example, I will still be wearing a mask in supermarkets and other shops because if it does flare up again, I really don’t want to get it and give it to my vulnerable older relatives and pregnant friends.
However, for many of you, the fear and anxiety may stem from the social aspect of restrictions lifting. If you are the sort of person who describes yourself as an introvert, this one is for you so strap in. Let me start by saying that I see you, I fully acknowledge that you are not excited about the impending influx of social invitations and the feelings of obligation and guilt that can come with them.
A bit of advice
There is a teeny tiny version of you inside me and while I usually silence her, I do still hear her and know she is there. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way, I get that there are a lot of you who have somewhat enjoyed the lack of social obligation and expectation and honestly, I applaud you.
You may be thinking that maybe your outgoing ‘extroverted’ friends will see how much you’ve enjoyed the decrease in social activities and supplement their invites with ‘only if you want to’ or ‘if you’re feeling it’. That would be the ultimate dream and I truly hope that happens for you. But what if nothing happens.
And by that, I don’t mean ‘what if nothing changes from before?’ I mean ‘what if no one calls’. We’ve had such a long time of feeling a collective FOMO, dreaming of hypothetical gatherings, parties, and trips. Everyone pooling ideas of the dream trip you could take someday, the things that you would do when the restrictions are lifted, the people you will visit first.
There is a real fear, stemming from my big ball of insecurities that things will open, people will make and execute plans, and there will be no invitation. No message. No phone call. Nothing. While there are a lot of people who enjoy spending time alone, needing that time to recharge, feeling like you are being left behind is no fun.
Especially in the age of social media where we are constantly in the loop with what fun places people have been and with who. To be scrolling through your social media to be faced with a picture of your friend group out for drinks, or a picnic, or just hanging out and no one thought to call you, never feels good.
So here is my advice for the awful event that you find yourself in that position: be proactive. If you see your friends meeting up without you and it makes you feel left out and you really do want to be involved, reach out to them. Ask them when they’re planning to meet up next, or even arrange something yourself, something within your comfort zone. Also, remember that it is okay to be open and honest with your friends about your feelings and your limits and your desire to still be actively involved in social plans. They are your friends, they will understand.
There’s nothing worse than seeing those three little dots and then they disappear. There’s nothing worse than no one typing.