I Want To Say Yes, But I’ll Probably Say No

Myers-Briggs tells me that I am almost 100% an extrovert.  I recharge from connecting with people. If it wasn’t so terribly cheesy, I would just say “I’m a people person.”  I believe this to be true about me.  But also? I am terrified of people.

Can both be true?

In 1991, I was two weeks into my first college semester at a gigantic school a million kilometers (fn 1) from my all-girls Catholic high school.  A vivacious, fun-loving group of girls invited me road trip with them to New Orleans.  I wanted to say yes, but I just couldn’t.  The fear was too big; it was too soon.  I didn’t know them.  They were from Houston, of all scary places.  I gave a lame excuse about writing a paper, though I didn’t mention that it wasn’t due for almost a month.

At 18, I was terrified to go to New Orleans.  Not much has changed. (Image credit: http://totallypalmed.blogspot.com)

At 18, I was terrified to go to New Orleans. Not much has changed. (Image credit: http://totallypalmed.blogspot.com)

For years, I have wondered about that particular No.  I’m sure it wouldn’t have changed my life to say Yes at that moment, but I feel a twinge of regret that I was so riddled with fear.  I am sure I acted (and really was) excited when the idea was presented to me, but still I said No.

Now it’s 2012, and I feel exactly like my college-freshman self.  I want to say yes to an invitation to do yoga on Tuesdays with some moms at Sadie’s new school.  It’s yoga, for God’s sakes, not a trip to the most humid and naughty city in the American south.  I love yoga and have said OUTLOUD that I want to fit it into my life.


But, I don’t know these people.  Doesn’t it seem intimate to do downward dog in front of women I don’t know?  I have a list of reservations that boggles the mind: Will my ratty Old Navy yoga clothes be good enough? What if I get crotch sweat during class? What if I can’t do the poses? What if I am the best at the poses (fn 2)?  What if I want to drop out? What if I want to spend a Tuesday holding Simon while he naps or finishing The Pale King? What if I am too bloated for yoga? What if I forget to put in a tampon before class? What if I fart?

I could go on, but you get the picture.

I want to say yes and stop the fretting over this commitment.  My heart feels so panicky, and there’s no convincing me this isn’t a situation fraught with D-A-N-G-E-R.  Do I think one of them is going to slip a roofie in my water and take advantage of me? Steal my liver and roll it up in a yoga mat to sell on Ebay?


It’s yoga.  It’s Tuesday afternoons.

Why can’t I just say yes and be excited?

* * *

FN 1: How pretentious is it to use the metric system when you are sitting in Chicago?

FN 2: No one likes the person who is the best– she will be mistrusted and judged. (But I don’t want to be the worst either.)  Also, have I totally missed the point of yoga? (Yes.)


52 thoughts on “I Want To Say Yes, But I’ll Probably Say No

  1. I used to say no to everything because I am actually horribly shy (though no acquaintance of mine would agree, my close family +friends would confirm this). Yoga was a huge fear for me and when I finally did go, I LOVED it! The problem was, I didn’t live going with tge acquaintances who I attended the class with for all of the same reasons you fear… So I go by myself :-). You should go and try it. Worst case scenario you are a yoga loner like me but best case scenario you make new friends and gain a great butt too!!!

    • That does seem like a middle ground. Just because I may not be ready for this intimate yoga setting with prospective friends, doesn’t mean I can’t have yoga in my life. Plus, it is offered at my gym so there are options to be social around it.

      Maybe I am shy and just don’t realize it. Thanks for the feedback.

  2. I think I’d balk, too. I’d be mostly afraid that someone would fall into my fat rolls and require a St. Bernard-type rescue or that I would fart. I love group exercise, but I don’t want to know anyone in the class before I start — I don’t mind making friends with the people there, but I panic about going into the situation with people I kinda know. This all makes total sense (not) because I teach tap lessons and the adult class is entirely my friends. Why does it work in that situation? I’m the teacher and not a participant, so I’m paid to be there.

    But I totally get this. And I’m struggling with a should-I-participate issue, too. I blogged on that one Friday and still haven’t resolved the issue, grrr…

    • Yes, the fart issue. ABSOLUTELY. Laughing. That’s one of the biggest fears. and you teach tap? excuse me, how fucking fantastic are you?? and it would be totally different if I was the teacher. authority gives me some armor. Going to read your post now. Feel free to post here if you want to.

      I love me some SOUP MAMA!

  3. When I’m conflicted I say yes, then force myself to do it. It’s kind of like tough love. Even if I hate it, it’s likely that I will have learned something. If I say no, I’ve missed the chance to learn anything. I’m doing two things this week that I’ve been wishy-washy about. Let’s see if I can follow my advice!

    • What would I tell my kids? I guess I would say let’s try it and then reevaluate. I want them to know they can change their minds about things. But then again, if I pay 200.00 for soccer, we are going whether they like it or not.

  4. Outwardly I am an extrovert. Inwardly I am an anxiety riddled loner who would like to curl into a ball in the corner where nobody would see me. My first reaction was that I would fart. It is almost impossible not to fart while doing yoga. Crotch sweat is also inevitable. These are not good things to have happen with new possible friends. I say “Hell no, I won’t go”. But I strongly encourage you to go. Being a SAHM is the lonliest thing I have ever done and I would jump at the chance to meet and interact with new people. Just forget this whole comment as I am a study in contradiction.

    • We are kindred spirits. At parties, I fantasize about my jammies and my latest book I am reading. Or Us Magazine. At home, I fantasize about parties and being out and about. So I know contradiction. The farting may be the reason I say no.

      Here’s my deal with myself: I can say no, but I have to look the organizer in the eye and say, “I can’t because I am afraid I will fart around you.” If I am not willing, then I have to go and let the wind pass as it may.

      I am a harsh mistress.

  5. I love this post! And I love Meyers-Briggs. Through them I learned that I was an introvert disguised as an extrovert! How sneaky am I? This means that everyone thinks I’m a people person, but really, I’d rather be alone. Hah! And the truth is, it’s both. I need my friends (both new and old) and then I need to go home and not talk to anyone for at least two hours.

    • Maybe that’s me too! I think I am an introvert dressed as an extrovert. Guess I have my Halloween costume all wrapped up. I love Myers-Briggs too. Did you know that Myers and Briggs were WOMEN. Now I am jazzed all anew about it. Happy to be just like you!

      I still can’t believe you aren’t an extrovert though. Need to brush up on Myers Briggs.

  6. I am still not sure if I’m an introvert or an extrovert but I am sure of my childlike naivete. I would say “absolutely YES!” and would be so excited and in love with the idea. Then I’d probably stop going 3 weeks in because I’d rather read the The Pale King (or maybe because of my strong ‘flight’ response). Why not say yes and then make excuses on the times you don’t feel like it? Then you will still appear to be a “joiner” but can maintain your own schedule?

    • Yes, yes yes. That’s the closest to what will actually happen. I will say yes, and fret every Tuesday (try not to eat gassy foods on Monday) and then show up. Imperfectly. You are a wise, wise woman. I really do want to get to yoga; this sort of kills two birds with one stone.

  7. I’m right there with you terrified of people … I just signed up for a two-month, three morning a week boot camp type class with school moms. Scary! I definitely don’t have the right clothes. Let’s go shopping! I know this great place – Nordstrom Rack – perhaps you’ve heard of it???

    • Are you serious? You did sign up for this? What is it with school moms getting us all together to exercise? I guess yoga is better than boot camps. I would die if I had to touch a kettle ball around any of these new ladies. I can see Nordstrom Rack from my window right now. YOu little temptress….meet me there!

  8. I say step out of your comfort zone and do it. I am one that has to force myself do that to do things but when I do it, I am rewarded by good feelings pride in myself.. Also, stop judging yourself or thinking anyone else is judging you. They are probably thinking the same things…omg I don’t want to do this in front of them, I bet they are better than me…hope I don’t fart, burp, fall down…..etc. Go. Remember no decision is permanent, if after a couple of classes you decide nah this isn’t for me, stop going! You do not need to give excuses to people why you do or don’t do something. Be honest if you choose to stop, say It wasn’t for me. Period.
    Good luck!

    • You’re good. I think you are right. Is it going to kill me to do this a few times? If it’s not for me, I can always fake an injury and stop going. Or I can lose my yoga mat. As a wise tweeter said, I should do it so I can blog about it.

  9. I don’t like Girls Weekends. Not that I’ve ever been invited to a Girls Weekend, but if I was, I’d politely decline. I’m pretty much an extrovert, but in Girls Weekend situations, I always worry that I’m not funny enough, clever enough, cultured enough, pretty enough, smart enough, or_________(fill in the blank) to fit in.

  10. I would totally go, then feel like a failure if I wasn’t the most limber person in class. And as a former dancer, I totally pride myself on being limber. Then I would get competitive and try to out-limber whoever was more limber than I. And then I would have to beg for visitors while in traction in the hospital. So it’s just not worth it. I will stay home and pretend like I’m doing the Crunchless Abs I bought myself 8 months ago to lose the baby weight. I can tell you Crunchless Abs doesn’t work. Of course, maybe that’s because I’ve yet to get it out of the shrink wrap package.

    But you should go. You should totally go.

  11. I know exactly how you feel. I am terrible about this. Even with people I like and would love to get to know better, I am afraid to commit to anything. There’s just so much anxiety involved. I say go. Go and remember that you don’t have to be the best, you definitely won’t be the worst, and if you want to take an occasional Tuesday to yourself, you always can.

  12. Okay, here’s the weird thing: I think of myself as an introvert, but I would totally go to yoga. As much as I’d usually prefer to be by myself, I find those small group activities the perfect places to scope out potential soul-friend material. I try to have one or two soul-friends in every place we move. That way I have someone to call on those thrice yearly occasions when I feel like leaving my house.

  13. Well, I read through all the comments where you weren’t sure but this last one says you are going forward. Yea!

    I love yoga and what I can tell you about it from my experience is that most people are so focused or worried about getting their own bodies to cooperate that there is no time or thought given to anyone else, or maybe that’s just me. Don’t get a spot in the back, though, find one towards the front but off to the side so you can turn your head easily to see what the instructor is doing. Also, if the instructor is good, their word cues really help.

    I find people fart in Pilates classes more. Happens…All.The.Time. Report back, please!!!

    • Yes. I am in. And I didn’t know about the Pilates fart ratio. Thanks for the tip about the front row. I am so there. And I will report back. But only if I fart. Just kidding.

  14. Jesus Christine, get out of my head already. People are exciting and terrifying and I love being around them yet I always find excuses to NOT make new friends, I don’t get it. If I like people so much why are they so intimidating? And crotch sweat is a very real issue! Though if you do go, and you find later you have days where you just want to hang with your kids instead of yoga, at least they’re other moms, too- they’ll get it.

  15. I think you should go and then blog about it!

    I hear you though. I like exercise and love the idea of yoga but I can’t make myself do it. I’m scared. I’m the most inflexible person in the world – can’t even touch my toes. No way can I do those poses. That’s why I’m intimidated. I think I’d just be falling down all the time.

  16. struck a chord with this one, didn’t you? funny–we urge our kids (if we have them) to “make friends,” “get involved,” tell them to try this or that activity. And then when presented with our own opportunities to do the same thing…we balk. We’re BUSY. We’re TOO OLD. We’re…we’re…stuck in our own cow paths of routine and omigod…CHANGE? eh? whuzzat?
    blech. it’s so hard to stretch out of the comfort zone (and comfy pants). go for it. you’re right. if nothing else, you’ve got blog fodder. consider it research rather than yoga, or a writing exercise instead of “meeting new people.”
    (sez me, who was just invited to “ladies night cocktails” by a group of women, only one of whom I actually know, from the boys’ school. am considering saying no because, you know, I”M REALLY BUSY.)

  17. Funny. I just signed up for a co-op and felt the same way about it. I can totally see myself dropping out halfway through, which is so lame. But I figured even if my attendance is 50%, at least I did it. Of course it doesn’t involve downward dogging or crotch sweat – at least I hope not – so I can see why you’re hesitant. Go for it. I bet you’ll get at least one good blog post out of it. Especially if you fart.

  18. I’m with Welcome to the Motherhood. Say yes. You can always back out. I suspect there’ll be at least one other mom not in Lululemon. And buy yourself some Gas X so you can eat whatever the hell you desire beforehand.

  19. Yay you. It’s never easy making new friends as an adult. Maybe just get a lulu shirt just in case. 😉

    and just so you, i’m am so impressed with how often you write and how well you do it. i’m happy when i get in 2-3 posts a week. and now, yoga? go you!

    • My roommother duties are starting to encroach on my blogging time. So is my husband who sometimes wants to talk to me. The nerve! Thanks for the props. And I am thinking of getting some lula pants, because I hear they are reversible. This I gotta see!

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