Social Claustrophobia

Friday I had a uncomfortable reunion with family I was meeting for the first time.
It was an awkward evening.  Not the reunions, but the circumstance around the reunion.  I have a cousin who was married on Saturday, which was the cause for the gathering on Friday evening.  And several out of town guest had all gathered at one home.
Which leads me to my confession.
I have social claustrophobia.

I don't enjoy large parties.  Especially large parties in small rooms.  For some reason I don't function well.  I don't open up completely.  Even if it's in a group of people that I've known for years.  My elbows seem to always be floating up, and I feel like my personal space is being more crowded (why is that?).
I end up hovering to the edges of the room and watching people.  I don't quite break out into cold sweats, but my palms do get clammy.  
Being surrounded frustrates me.  
I don't care for crowded restaurants, amusement parks, theaters, clothing stores, grocery stores, house parties, cars, airplanes, caves....you get the picture.

There is something very physical to my social claustrophobia, but there is also something else.  I don't even act myself.  
I lose my self-confidence.  
I lose my sense of humor.  
My personality crawls into a shell.  
I'm not sure why.

But I have also noticed a couple of exceptions to those.  
First: I love being in the crowd root, root, rooting for the home team.  Getting caught up in a baseball game with a crowd is an exhilarating experience.
Second: A large church gathering.  I may still try to push myself to the edges, but there is joy in worshipping with others, and it is worth the uncomfortableness.  

Any other social claustrophobiacs (sp? claustrophobians?) out there?


Alli Hibb said...

I'll admit, I hate large parties, too...but for the opposite reason: I lose my ability to be quiet and normal...it's as though I can't let anyone feel unwelcome or unincluded, so I wander around and greet and "song and dance" the night away...and then I feel like an idiot. An exhausted idiot.

Courtney said...

I've never had anyone explain it better. Those are my exact reactions and feelings in crowded spaces. It sounds like you handle it better than I do...I usually leave. HA

People are baffled when they see me in a crowded room from the first time. I'm quiet, totally lacking self-confidence and my humor is long gone.