Dear Prudence

Help! Socializing Makes Me Literally Throw Up.

There’s constant pressure to do more.

Woman holding her stomach in front of a monthly calendar.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images Plus.

Every week, Dear Prudence answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members. For this edition, Dan Kois, a Slate writer and editorwill be filling in as Prudie. Submit questions here. (It’s anonymous!)

Dear Prudence,

I like people, and really enjoy my friends, family and partner, but get easily overwhelmed by socializing.

It tends to make me nauseous. For example, in college, I lived with a roommate for the first year, and vomited pretty much every day, twice a day. I saved up and moved off campus after that. As an adult, I still often struggle with this. (For example, a three-day weekend with my partner is OK, but with friends, it’s physical illness by day two. And a social week with after-work drinks is OK for the first few days, but I run out of capacity by Wednesday.) How do I handle the creation and preservation of professional and collegial friendships that seem to be so important in my field without running out of capacity for the people I love? It feels like I can only really succeed at one or the other at a time, and I get constant pressure to do more. Just because I haven’t booked all my weeknights socially doesn’t mean I can. How do I do this?


Dear Over,

Who are these people pressuring you to go out with them every single night, to take a weekend trip, and then hit the bars for after-work drinks Monday through Friday? Only the most dedicated social butterflies keep a schedule like that. It’s fine that you’re not that kind of person. For the vast majority of human beings on Earth, a schedule that includes some social events and some anti-social home time is totally adequate for maintaining friendships. Go out twice a week and once on the weekend and you’ll be living a more social life than pretty much anyone else in our godforsaken era.

The barfing, though: That’s no good. You gotta talk to someone about your anxiety.

—Prudie, convivially

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