First dates are awkward, but you know what’s more awkward? Meeting your boyfriends’ friends for the first time. I have been dating a guy for a few months now, and we became official two months ago. Maybe three? I’m not sure, let’s say we became the title Boyfriend/Girlfriend on January 1st. Keeps things simple.
A few days ago, I told my boyfriend I wanted to do a bowling date, I started a new diet and wanted to limit the number of dates involving food. He texts me saying he invited his friends, and of course, I want to meet them, I want to see how he is around people who know him best. Unfortunately, I am an awkward, and shy person. I also suffer from horrible anxiety which I rarely talk about because it seems like almost every millennial suffers from anxiety.
I agree with this double date and immediately start overthinking everything because it’s what I do best. I have never been the low-key person who can go with the flow. In fact, I am the exact opposite, everything I do is slightly dramatic right down to the way I dress. So, when my boyfriend says his friend texted “It’s on like donkey schlong” my brain started working double speed.
“Will his friends like me?”
“Will they know I’m not chill?”
“What will I wear?”
“Do I need to talk a lot if I’m super sleepy?”
“HOLY FUCKING CRAP WHAT IF THEY HATE ME BECAUSE OF MY EYES?”
“Kayla, why would they hate you because of your eyes?”
“MAYBE THEY ARE A FUNNY SHAPE I DON’T KNOW??”
At this point in my thought process I am in the middle of a full-blown panic attack tucked away in the bathroom with the shower roaring and hot steam surrounding my body. Shivering, a chest splitting my insides with more profound pain than anyone will ever know. I sit there and listen to the water rush over my body and listen to the swirl as it goes down the drain. With my eyes closed, I let the water wash over me and carry me away.
When I am in the middle of a panic attack, I have to have something touching me, not a person, but something I can feel with every inch of my body. I suppose it’s a way to help keep me grounded. I close my eyes and listen to the water, I put my hands to my throat feeling my heartbeat, and I count them for as long as I need to. Sometimes I pretend the water is cleansing my soul so I can be refreshed and ready to take on the challenge.
“I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.” I repeat over and over till it feels like I can do it.
“I am strong, I have been alone, I have met people alone, I have had deep conversations with others, and nothing bad has happened alone. Now I am with a great man and it will be just as amazing”
“They will like me because I am head over heels for him. They will give me the benefit of the doubt because I am not his ex, I am much better.”
“I love myself; therefore, they will like me too.”
Sometimes reminding yourself of your worth is the best way to face a challenge, and the best way to overcome anxiety. You can tell yourself at any point that you can do anything and that you are amazing and spectacular. I have to remind myself every day, this may look like confidence on the outside, but it’s one of the best ways to keep my anxiety in check, after all, it’s true.
I make it to my boyfriend’s house, and as soon as I’m in his arms I know the night will go well, he makes my heart sing a peaceful song that I could never sing on my own. He is the Zen master to my chaotic heart. Where I am fast, he is slow, where I am not in control; he is firmly in control. It is the perfect partnership of two opposites creating one cohesive environment. It’s something unique to me, being with him is like exploring a world I haven’t yet seen.
We make it to the bowling alley, and I remind myself that he’s got me, and if all else fails, if his friends hate me, I’ll still have him. More importantly, I’ll always have myself. They come from behind us, and it scares the living hell out of me, the place was so packed I was trying to focus on everything but the zombie apocalypse I thought would rain upon us. I sucked down my first gin and tonic fast to get over the number of people that were in one small building. I don’t recommend getting plastered when you first meet any friends, but I do recommend getting in a comfortable position to talk to them.
By my second drink some of my nerves were gone, and I started to feel more comfortable and not thinking of a zombie outbreak and dying. I was having a good time, I wasn’t doing terrible at bowling, and dang my man has good form. *hint hint wink wink, I totally checked him out* His friends were happy to see him and laughing. I was happy seeing him with others who make him happy.
The best way to get through the uncomfortable-ness is to remind yourself that you are amazing and worth it, and chances are your partner sees that in you too or he wouldn’t be introducing you to his friends. Sometimes it’s good to get out of your comfort zone, and meet new people.