Today I failed, or It’s never too late to retrace your steps

Today I’m going to talk to you about a failure. And I am going to write about it here because I felt ashamed and not proud of myself, and writing about it is the best way for me to remember it in order to prevent me for doing it again.

The context

I am not very much into going out and partying. Besides, I enjoy being alone. So I am not leading a crazy busy social life here at all, and that’s fine. However, I realized that even if enjoy my current situation, sometimes I miss to have a group of like minded people to hang out with. So, once the realization came along I was determined to solve that problem.

Making excuses

I started looking for courses where I could, potentially, meet some friends a month ago and I still haven’t enrolled one! They are either expensive, far from my place or they will require a timetable I can’t commit with since I want to be available for my students.

As I said, excuses.

Then I looked for groups, Meet up, Couchsurfing… None of the groups standed out particularly, I wasn’t specially attracted to join any of them but I did to see what was going on… “Well, not much” – I kept saying to myself. The people of this particular group are too young, I would feel like a mummy, the people of this one are too old, I would feel like a child, the croud of this other group seem to meet only for alcoholic drinking purposes, this other group seems like a “meet singles around your neighborhood” group… However I keep looking until I found a couple of groups that seemed suitable enough for me. I was being too picky, I guess.

Taking action

Today I finally accepted to go to one of the meetings of one particular group. And I was actually quite excited to go. It was a francofile meeting group in a wine bar, adults, close to being too old but since I definitely prefer experienced and older than immature and younger, I said yes to the meeting.

It was today. I got ready. I put my jeans on, a plain T-shirt and flat sandals and took the tram to go to that wine bar in a quite fancy hotel. I wasn’t nervous at all, just hoping for meeting nice people and having a nice time.

I got off the tram and started walking towards the hotel. A big, tall hotel. As I saw the building, my fears popped out. It was a big fancy hotel in the middle of the central business district. I walked towards the building and I was feeling as if it was gobbling me down.

I kept walking. I came to the glass door as a doorman approached to me, tilted his head, smiled and spread out his arm and hand in a welcoming way. Nothing further. The process of freaking out kicked off.

I went in, continued walking straight until I saw a group of about 30 people standing, chatting to each other. All between their forties and their sixties, dressed up with elegant dark costumes and high heels, holding glasses of wine and laughing loudly.

I wasn’t expecting that many people. I wasn’t expecting that age range and the attire. I wasn’t prepared at all, and I freaked out.

As I walked past them. I was looking at the big happy group looking for a young face or casual clothing. I didn’t find it. I kept walking. I couldn’t stop. And I left the scary building from the back door.

I felt furious and disappointed with myself.

The mistakes

I wasn’t prepared. I was going there as if I was gonna meet a lifelong friend. I didn’t check the kind of place I was going, I didn’t check the people attending…

After some reflection, I made a list of several mistakes I thought I wouldn’t make anymore. How wrong I was! I’ll enumerate my mistakes here for you:

  • Mistake #1: I arrived just on time, when all the people was already there, instead of being a bit early and let the people approaching to me or me approaching a smaller group.
  • Mistake #2: I was too relaxed and I took for granted that I was going to meet a casual small group of people my age, so I wasn’t prepared to see a completely different situation.
  • Mistake #3: I let my prejudices seized me and when I saw the people I felt that I didn’t belong and that I wouldn’t have a good time. I didn’t even try.
  • Mistake #4: I let myself down by believing that wearing a pair of jeans instead of a black pencil skirt made me unsuitable for the group.
  • Mistake #5: I anticipated the outcome. I felt that I was not going to be confortable an like a child and I didn’t give them and myself a shot.

Going back

As I walked few meters away, the feeling of disappointment and shame was too much to bear. I was angry, so angry that tears appeared in my eyes clouding my vision. Anger and disappointment with myself are two feelings I thought I was not going to feel anymore. And I didn’t want to feel them again. “Once bitten, twice shy” – they say… Well, I had just one lesser evil option: going back.

I turned around and went back inside the building going through the same fancy glass door, where the same doorman greeted my entrance a second time. The fear of disappointment was certainly greater than the shame of entering the same place I left few minutes before.

I went in, I approached the smaller group. An elegant, gray haired, french woman welcomed me and took me with her to the group she was talking to. I was still feeling uncomfortable, I felt I didn’t belong, one of my dresses had made me feel more confortable but my jeans would have to do today. I stayed for a short while. I didn’t feel great when I arrived home. I failed. I could have done better but at least, the disappointment was gone and replaced the anger by a slight feel of sadness. But sadness is a much more bearable emotion.

10 thoughts on “Today I failed, or It’s never too late to retrace your steps

  1. La sensación de fracaso quizá te haya despertado viejos fantasmas, esa timidez que te limita a la hora de relacionarte. Pero en todo caso has dado un paso hacia adelante lo que pone en envidencia tú corage.
    A veces no se si es mejor decir esto no es lo mío y basta, o perseverar a pesar de no cumplir tus expectativas.
    Lo melor sin duda es cuando las cosas fluyen sin que tú aparentemente hagas ningún esfuerzo, además está la gratificante sorpresa. Pero me temo que a menudo las cosas ni suceden como las habiamos planeado, ni espontáneamente, y hay que salir a por ellas, pase lo que pase, bueno si biene un tren apartate 🙂

    A pesar del fallo, mantén la ilusión. Un abrazo.

  2. La ilusión y el coraje no desaparecen, y menos mal, porque de hacerlo estaría perdida! 😀
    Lo que pasa es que a veces nos relajamos y nos creemos que lo que teníamos ganado no se pierde, pero sí, es un trabajo diario y lo que no se practica a diario se atrofia y pierde de nuevo… En fin, esto ha sido un recordatorio de que hay que seguir practicando y “estirando” la zona de comodidad cada día.
    Otro abrazo para ti.

  3. I totally know the feeling. I went to a lot of social events these past years and for most of them I didn’t feel I belonged (Most of them were work related and I found people to be showing off more than anything). But in the end I found that if you really try to be a little more familiar with some people you will have a good time. It might not be the best and you will probably not find your best friends there but it’s still pleasant if you decide it will.

    1. I know and you are right. It’s mostly our choice to try to enjoy and have a good time, that’s why I felt I let myself down a bit that day, because I didn’t make much of an effort to know the people… Ahhh, prejudices and self-consciousness are definitely not our allies in this.

    1. After many other occasions where I didn’t come back in the past, I know that if I hadn’t gone back I would have felt like crap and less empowered to future social mettings. When you put in one side the inconfortable feeling when you go back, and in the other, the disappointment with yourself if you don’t… Disappointment is such a horrible feeling!

  4. Holy crap, kudos to you for going back! I would also have been totally intimidated in the past and probably walked out as well, nowadays I have firstly the same understanding as you that if I let myself down I will feel FAR worse than the discomfort of facing the situation, and secondly I tend to laspe into humour when I’m uncomfortable and just laugh it off…then you realise how completely unimportant the discomfort is. Or else just adopt the motto of my best friend (who is a pretty fearless lady) which is to just say ‘fuck it’ and go for it without thinking too much about it 🙂
    So much empathy and I’m so glad you remembered in time the ballsy girl you are!

  5. You went back despite feeling bad that definitely speaks for you. You chose for taking action and took the next step.
    I kinda know what you feel. I also enjoy being alone. When I went abroad for a long time I started using the couchsurfing website. I did not expected much from it but the people I met turned out to be really interesting and friendly. It completely surprised me but eventually it had a large positive effect on my social life.

    1. Couchsurfing changed my life! 😀 I didn´t know what to expect either, I found it by accident by it turned out to be one of the triggers for my current lifestyle since thanks to Couchsufing I met many inspiring and interesting people as well.

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