“…Where I struggle though is in accepting social invitations from people in group settings because I feel different and it seems like hard work…. For example, if I go out with people from my workplace or from some other non-Buddhist groups I'm involved with, I find that I can become uncomfortable when the conversation takes a particular turn, like complaining about a co-worker or talking a lot about things like home renovations. Sometimes I sit in silence if people are being mean & then I feel self-conscious. If people are talking about things like home renovations, I try to ask questions and be interested in what they're doing (like maybe they are trying to create a better environment for spending time together as a family) but to be honest, I get bored. Sometimes in these situations I can see that people are having a bit of a laugh with each other but I don't really share the same sense of humour & I feel self-conscious again.
…I think my dilemma isn't so much about communication skills as it is about wanting to find a sense of ease & authenticity with people. I would like it if I could sort of get out of my own road & not be thinking of myself/my reactions as much in these situations.
At the moment I feel like I make excuses not to participate in group dinners etc because I don't enjoy them much but I also understand that these things can be important for building a sense of community & friendship. I don't want to withdraw from people.”