Coworker: “Are you doing anything fun this weekend?”
Me: “No. I guess I’m just no fun.”
Coworker: “You don’t have to be fun to do fun things.”
That struck me as profound. It reminded me of an old rational reponse of my own (keep reading).
NEGATIVE THOUGHT: I’m no fun. I don’t know how to let go and have fun like other people. In order to be liked, I have to be lots of fun to be around.
RATIONAL RESPONSE: Fun is something you have, not something you are. What if you don’t have to be the life of the party in order to be liked?
NEGATIVE THOUGHT: Before I get into a social interaction I have to be certain it will go well. I have to feel welcome by others before I’ll interact with them.
RATIONAL RESPONSES: That’s all-or-nothing thinking. Even outgoing, socially skilled people sometimes have interactions that don’t go well.
Consider this — what if you don’t have to hit it off wonderfully with everyone in order to participate in life? Sometimes people still like you even after a social interaction that didn’t go well. (This is true; I have seen it happen.) It’s possible that some people — of course not all, but some, and maybe more than you realize — will feel friendly towards you regardless of how you “perform” socially around them.
Perhaps if you learn to welcome yourself, other people will make you feel welcome too.