Let’s face it, we’ve all made plans at one time or another with the secret knowledge that we’re probably not going to keep them. As a serial plan canceller, I’ll make plans and at first, I’m excited. But as the day creeps closer, so does my sense of dread.
Sometimes, I just don’t have the energy. After a long day, staying home is infinitely more appealing than getting ready and going out, both for me and my wallet (so if you want to hang out and watch a movie, let me know).
Other times, it’s because I’m struggling with mental health. A combination of anxiety and depression makes me feel boring, insecure and simply unfit to present myself to strangers, let alone to someone I admire. I worry that I’ll say the wrong thing or worse, I’ll have nothing to say at all. It’s easier to just cancel and save myself the embarrassment.
I end up spending my time with close friends who already know me and understand. With them, there is no pressure to be interesting. They remind me that it’s okay to feel bad and that I don’t have to pretend otherwise.
Most of the time, these relationships are enough. I would rather spend my time with people who don’t mind if I am not at my “best” but show up anyway. But when I get to thinking about it, I remember that even these people were strangers at the start. How many similar relationships have I missed out on because I never gave them the chance to evolve?
It’s not that I don’t like getting to know new people. It’s the idea of others getting to know me that tends to make me uncomfortable. This is the root of the problem. Mental illness is blinding and when I don’t know how to deal with it, I choose to avoid it.
I often wonder why I bother making these plans in the first place. I think it’s because in the back of my mind, I know that things can be different. I know that I’m not always like this. There are moments where I feel differently, about myself and others. So I make the plan and hope for the best.
Often it doesn’t work out, but sometimes it does. I’m working on it and I think that’s what matters. If anything good has come from my perpetual flakiness, it is a deeper understanding of others. It is easier to have empathy when others bail on me because I get it. Still, I can’t help but think about the relationships I have let go and I feel guilty. To those people, I can honestly say: it’s not you, it’s me.