I know where you are coming from, guys. The 'old' me would never feel comfortable in a crowd; not a bar, not a dinner party, not a concert, not even Mardi Gras. But the feeling were completely different between huge crowds like Mardi Gras and small, intimate groups like dinner parites or clubs.

My husband is just the opposite; he LOVES crowds. He's very outgoing and sociable and loves meeting new people. He can start a conversation with a complete stranger and within a couple of minutes they are old best friends. I've never quite figured out how he does it, even after watching him for so many years.

I'm not much of a conversationalist in the mundane. I have a very hard time makeing 'small talk' because I think it is boreing and innane. I know that the intent is to meet someone you know nothing about and exchange pleasantries, and to break the ice to learn more about the other person. Truth is, I don't really care to do that. I don't care about meeting new people, I don't care if I'm the life of the party or ever get invited back. To me, it's all a boreing waste of time.

Now, on the rare occasion where I meet someone and am able to have a 'Meaningful' conversation, I'm all for that. I do like deep conversations that require intellect and sharp wit. It's usually one-on-one and the rest of the crowd fades into the background; 'don't bother me, kid... can't you see I'm BUSY here?" But it's not easy to exclude the crowd when you're at a party, or in a club, or certainly not at Mardi Gras... So most of the time I just stand there like a wallflower and let my husband do the talking.

Over the years, however, I have gotten more comfortable with people. Maybe that means I've gotten more comfortable with myself. Now I go to 'functions' with my hubby (I still don't know if I'd go alone, even though I do crave the excitement of a crowd, as an observer but not a participant.) The difference is not in how I act (although I am a little more comfortable than before) but in how I view the whole thing. I know upfront that I'm not going to be the social butterfly, and if anybody doesn't like that, too bad. I will go, I will be somewhat reserved, but I will enjoy myself. I will especially enjoy watching my husband either 'WOW' the crowd or make a complete fool of himself. I don't hold it against him, either way. I'm just not like him.

So, I think the whole 'uncomfortable in a crowd' issue has very much to do with one's self-conficence level. If you are worried that you will embarrass yourself, or that people won't like you, or that you will dissassociate and freak out, you are not likely to be comfortable around new people who don't know you. Once you get old and cranky like me, you won't give a sh*t about what strangers think, and perhaps you can go out and have some fun. Seriously, everybody makes a fool of themselves once in awhile. As CSA survivors, we don't do it any more or any less than other people, but it seems to bother us more when we do. The younger we are, the more it is likely to bother us, probably because when we are younger, social accpetance is much more important than it is later in life, I think.

I could be wrong on that. If I weren't in a LTR, with a family and lots of people who know me and love me, I'm not sure my perspective would be the same. All I know is that I've felt what you are feeling and I know how sad that is. Whether I mamaged to move past that because of my age, or because I'm healing from my CSA, or because of the influence of my gregarious husband, I cannot tell. It may be all of the above. If I knew why, perhaps I could help some of you younger guys (as MOST of you are younger than me) to get past this more quickly than I did. But I don't know why; I'm hoping that by explaining it all to you that maybe someone else may be able to figure it out.

Respectfully submitted,

Lazarus

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"That which does not kill us, surely makes us stonger." - Neitsche