Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Sunday 23 February 2014

A Good Time was had by All

We’re all insecure from time to time; it’s a natural by-product of the human condition... OK, maybe not all of us, because some people simply are too arrogant or self-absorbed ever to feel genuinely insecure. I’m willing to bet, they’re the exceptions rather than the rule, though. So, for the purposes of this blog I’m discounting them and assuming that we all fall within what I think of as a normal range of humanity.

We all feel insecure from time to time.

I’ve come to the conclusion, though, that, in general, if I had a good time, others did too. In the sort of social situations that used to buy into my insecurities, you know the sort of things, dinner parties and whatnot, I used to worry that people had a good time. I used to worry that I was good company. I used to go away from those sorts of things trying to work out whether people had in fact enjoyed themselves or whether I’d managed to put my foot in it somehow.

Not any more. I have finally realised that if I had a good time, there’s a good chance that others did, too.

I’m a pretty decent person. I take no pleasure in others’ discomfort or confusion, and certainly not in their misery. I’m not even the sort of person who laughs at those video shows... you know the ones where you watch clip after clip of people slipping on dance floors and falling off skis and tripping over paddling pools. I don’t laugh; I wince.  

Very fancy, very enjoyable Burns Night
If I give a supper or go to a dinner party and everyone else around the table is talking animatedly and laughing, and eating well and drinking, if they’re expressing pleasure in the food and the company then they’re probably having a good time. If I feel relaxed, if I find the company entertaining and the jokes funny, and if I can sit back and enjoy the society I find myself in then there’s a good chance that everything is going nicely and everyone is having a good time.

I’ve stopped indulging my neuroses with the postmortems. 

People are only people. Most people are no better or worse than the rest of us. Some people are a little cleverer or funnier than you or I, but that just adds to their pleasure in a social situation and to ours. We don’t have to compete. Some people are a little more shy or a little more considered, but that doesn’t mean they’re less happy than the rest of us, or less interesting or less interested in listening to what’s going on around them. 

And sometimes someone like me is going to manage to say the wrong thing for the simple reason that people like me don’t have the sort of filters that others have. In the end, that’s usually OK, too, because there’s invariably someone in the room that is kind enough to diffuse my little bomb, or funny enough to make a joke out of it. And, there’s always the apology, because people are forgiving too.

We all feel insecure from time to time, and that’s what’s really worth remembering, because if you feel insecure in a social setting, virtually everyone else in the room is probably feeling a little bit insecure too. Just have a good time, and, who knows, you might send some of them home happy.

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