Posted by: GeekHiker | December 17, 2008

Take Every Opportunity?

Last weekend I was invited to a birthday dinner. It was for one of the people in one of the groups that I occasionally do activities with.

I was initially inclined to go, but when the evening rolled around, I just, well, didn’t. For whatever reason, I just didn’t want to. Didn’t want to drive an hour and a half (trust me, I looked at and that’s what it would have taken with all the accidents) to try to find parking in Hollywood to hang out and be social with a group of people, most of whom were strangers.

I felt oddly guilty about it, though. Not so much because of the birthday person; I’d already rsvp’d “maybe” to the party since I had no idea what my plans for the weekend might entail and the invite was rather last-minute anyway.

In a weird way, I think I actually felt guilty to myself. I mean, I don’t have a great social life as we all know, and we know that I’m always looking to improve that. But does that mean that I have to take every social opportunity that’s presented to me, and that I should feel guilty if I don’t?

I’d like to think the answer is no, but maybe that’s just to make myself feel better. In all likelyhood I may very well have had a good time had I gone. Or maybe I would have just felt antisocial and uncomfortable the whole time. It’s hard to say.

Actually, it probably would have depended on how much time it took me to slog thorough downtown traffic.

Anyway, the question remains: if you’re trying to improve an aspect of your life, do you have to take every opportunity that’s presented, regardless of whether you’re in the mood for it or not?



  1. Not every opportunity, no.

    Sometimes you’ll make a bad impression if you have your cranky from driving in traffic pants on and sometimes you just need to stay home. It just depends how often you say no I think.

  2. Yes. Because when you have low or no expectations, you actually end up having a lot more fun. IMHO. But I’m still a little drizzunk on a Wednesday night so what the hell do I know??

  3. I never feel like going out. Oh, I always want to go when I get the invite. In fact, I get quite excited. But the day of the actual event, I just want to stay home. I would say that I go more than 90% of the time and I always have fun. People just get into ruts sometimes. It’s often easier to remain in place than to make an effort to make a change. Then again, with the temps falling, and going out requiring a loan from the bank, sitting at home in front of the fireplace just looks better and better.

  4. Here’s the thing, if you’re an introvert and you’re trying to become more social…speaking from many years of experience here…you’re going to face a lot of psychic resistance if your push yourself too hard.

    Choose your battles and give yourself permission to “hermit up” when you need to. Probably not a good idea to plan social events after you’ve had a day of meetings for instance. Depends on the crowd and the situation and how much you think it will take out of you.

  5. I sure hope the answer is no. I’ve been dealing a lot lately with feeling guilted into spending time with certain people or guilty about not. And I think the thing is (and this is a very very recent revelation) you do what you want to do for you, you spend time with who you choose to make time for, and you shouldn’t have to question that. Because what’s meant to work out? Will work out in the end. (I’m trying to repeat that in my head regarding my current pseudo relationship.) And you shouldn’t feel like you missed out because odds weren’t in your favor to be somewhere in the first place. I hope that makes sense..

  6. Saying no every now and then is okay as long as you don’t make it a habit. The more you opt out, the easier it will be to opt out next time so you should do it sparingly.

    The fact you feel guilty tells me you should have gone. Remember, the woman of your dreams right now is a stranger. She can’t stop being a stranger if you don’t meet her.

  7. Homer-Dog is right on target. You don’t *have* to but you would better take some of those opportunities. Besides, wouldn’t it be a little… desperate, to attend to *all* of them?

  8. I say, give it a shot next time and if you’re not having fun after 20 minutes, then go home.

    I’ve had many an instance where I don’t feel like going out and once I’m there, I end up having a really good time. Life’s too short to stay inside.

  9. No, says the woman also looking to improve her social life.

    If you say yes to every opportunity, even when one of those ‘yes’es comes at a time when all you want to (need to) do is curl up on the couch and watch tv/movies or read a book, in my experience, I’ve been irritated with myself because I was denied the ‘me’ time I needed.

    And yes, I totally think you can still need ‘me’ time even if you have a less-than-active social life.

    I blame my desire for copious amounts of me time on my students. If I were you, I’d blame it on the Server Room.

  10. I’ll leave you with 2 cheesy quotes and you decide which one fits you best:

    1. Nothing beats a failure like a try (courtesy of My Dad)

    2. It’s better to be alone than to wish you were (courtesy of The BFF’s mom)

  11. Well I think that… no. I mean, it depends on who you are going to go out with (if you don’t REALLY like the group of people, chances are you’re gonna have to make an effort to have a good time and if you are already feeling meh then, what’s the fun in that?) and what kind of day you had (traffic can make the best date a nightmare if one is already a little cranky, no?) and just so many things really that it’ll be unfair to make yourself accept everything. I think.

    I think you will recognize the times when it’s worth to push yourself out vs the times when it’s not.

  12. Get. Out. Of. My. Head. 😉

    Our department Christmas party is tomorrow night and I have absolutely zero desire to go. I’m sure I’ll have a decent time if I do go….but I’m really ready to be done with everyone at Uberschool until 2009 rolls around.

  13. i don’t know … you take every good opportunity. I always feel somewhat guilty not going to a birthday party, but I got over it after sucking it up and paying $15 cover that last time a couple of months ago. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like going (and lately, it’s pretty much every time). Sure, I’d probably be perfectly fine going and may even have a good time, but gosh, it’s just so much hassle.

    So I think you made the right choice!

  14. i like what seine said – “every good opportunity”. personally, i get lazy when it gets cold and dark out – very hard to motivate myself to leave the apartment when it’s freezing outside. then again, you’re in california so what’s your excuse – hehe.

  15. I don’t think so; I think sometimes it is just as important to NOT do things, even if you were sure you might have fun. So you are getting yourself out there MORE, which is progress. And I am really talking out my ass because I refuse to do anything to put myself out there AT ALL, so just ignore me.

  16. I have no words of wisdom, other than I understand how you feel.

    We don’t have a social life, it’s just him and me. We were invited to his part-time job’s Christmas party, rsvp’d we would be there. Unfortunately, the day of the party, neither of us felt up to driving back up to the lake for the party. So we didn’t go. Of course we heard how great it was, then I felt bad that we didn’t go, but it was too much to be in a social setting.

  17. You sound like my husband. He often doesn’t want to go because “I don’t know any of the people you work with” to which I ALWAYS reply “you never will if you never come and actually MEET them”.

    Strangers remain strangers until you meet them. Then, if you’re lucky, they become friends and wow, look what you’ve done!! And I 100% agree with Homer Dog. She could have been there.

    On the days where you feel like a bag of shit that got run over by a semi, stay home. On the other days, be open.

  18. Just A Girl – I hadn’t thought of that. Good point.

    Mrs. Chuck Bartowski – Actually, if I weren’t driving and could have gotten a little drizzunk, I might have gone.

    Dingo – You have a fireplace? *jealous*

    Phil – LOL, yeah I should cut myself some slack, shouldn’t I?

    Kristin – I agree with the “do what you want to do” to a certain extent. But I sometimes wonder if doing what I want to do in the short term blocks what I want long-term…

    Homer-Dog – She doesn’t exist.

    Gany – I do often take the opportunities, but the question is do I have to take every single one?

    Mel Heth – I think I’d feel more inclined to do that if it were closer! LOL

    East Coast Teacher – Check. Server Room’s fault. 😉

    TheCoconutDiaries – But those cancel each other out!

    Narami – Yeah, traffic can definitely ruin one’s mood, which might not have made me the best of company.

    Ms. H – But it’s so much fun in here! 😉 Who likes a work party anyway?

    Seine – Thanks! It’s nice to have a little backup!

    Blakspring – Hey, it gets… chilly… 😉

    Kori – But if what you’re doing is the right thing for you at this juncture, then it’s probably okay…

    Dobegil – On the plus side, you have each other.

    Backpackermomma – True, but I think your husband has even less of an excuse. After all, if he goes, he at least knows you…

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