6th February 18

Let’s just get this out of the way before we make friends – I am 100% one of those people. Do you know the ones I mean? The people who make plans with you weeks in advance only to flake on the day of the event for no apparent reason? Yep, that’s me to a tee. And I promise you that I’m trying to stop doing it. I’m trying to become that person who stays at the same steady level of excitement right from when I agree to making plans, until the night before they happen. At the moment, I’m not that person. But I promise you, I have good reason for it.


I can completely see how I just seem like a flaky friend to you. From your end it looks like laziness. Like I’m a person who you can’t rely on. That one person who says yes, but you don’t need to include in the number of seats at the table, because you know that I’ll probably bail on the day anyway. And I know how this must seem to you. It must feel like I’m the rudest person you’ve ever met when, an hour before you’re due to rush out of the door, my message flashes up on your screen saying “I’m super sorry, something has come up and I’m not going to be able to make it today after all x”. I know it’s not forgivable to leave you hanging like that. But like I said, I do have my reasons.


See, I’ve always been really great at making plans. If I know that I’m due to go out for dinner in a couple of weeks, I’ll spend time perusing Instagram for the coolest restaurants that we could visit in the area. I’ll scroll through Google reviews and search out which food spot is at an optimal distance from the tube station. I’m great at plans when I know that they’re weeks away – I turn them into a bit of a fantasy.


There are two weird things that happen in my mind that take me from that initial excitement of arranging our meet-up to sitting on my bed filled with dread on the morning of our plans.


First of all, I have a fatal flaw which means that my excitement dwindles over time. When we first make plans, I’m in my peak excitement stage. But that’s pretty much as great as it gets for me. I’ve said it in blog posts before, but nothing makes me as happy as the thought that I have plans ahead of me. I build them up so much in my head that by the time they arrive, they’re never going to live up to how good I thought they would be. They’re just… a thing which I’ve already lived out in my mind, which I now have to go through the motions of. I find it incredibly hard to enjoy life ‘in the moment’. I’m the queen of foresight and hindsight.


But this isn’t the main cause of my habit of cancelling plans. That’s just a little side point which I use to convince myself that I might as well not go anyway. What it really comes down to is fear and a feeling of being all too comfortable in my own company. I like spending time alone, like most introverts do. I like being at home, with my books, Netflix to binge on and blog posts to write. I like only having to please myself and not having to put up a front for somebody else. To go through with our plans, it takes a lot of self motivation and a lot of me telling myself “you’re going to be fine! Just be yourself! Just put your friendly face on for a little while and you’ll be home, in your room again before you know it”. I feel like an actor, waiting in the wings for my debut.


I go through phases, but I’ve been getting much better at making myself leave the house. At telling myself that it’s going to be fine and I’m going to have fun, and that after an hour or so I won’t feel robotic or like I’m acting at all. And a lot of the time I do manage it. I go out, and I do have a good time. Every now and then, anxiety does get the better of me and I fall down that hole. I find all of the reasons why I shouldn’t leave my room and suddenly, not even all of the lost and upset friends in the world could force me to leave my safe space. Which is when the text saying “I can’t make it” flashes up on your screen, and you roll your eyes and think “really? Again?”


So I’m sorry for cancelling our plans (again). I really am. And I promise that I’m trying really hard not to be that person. It’s hard to get out of your own head, but it’s getting easier to train myself not to listen to that little voice which always screams at me that I’m going to have an awful time and nobody will like me there anyway. I’m in the process of training up a louder voice in my head to fight back against it. One which bellows with conviction, “I can do it. And I will.”