Some Friday Ramblings.

Some Friday Ramblings.

Some Friday Ramblings

Do you ever just feel… tragically uncool?

I think there comes a time as you get older where you start to age out of popular culture and what’s considered “cool.” I have felt this way for a long time with music (my taste has always been more in line with my 70 year old father’s), but the sensation is percolating into other areas. Movies, TV, fashion trends! Of course there is that whole skinny jeans and side parts thing (so silly) but I just feel it so much these days. I am okay with it, I like the things I like, and those things don’t have to be popular. Heck, I don’t want to like all the things everyone else likes, that sounds boring. But the divide between what I love and what is trending only seems to be widening.

I read a book a couple weeks ago and a girlfriend laughed and said, “Oh I was certain that one would be too Gen Z for you!” She was correct. And don’t get me started on the fashion. This article! I can’t. All the nineties stuff that I wore back in high school. I have to imagine that this is how my mom felt, back in 1999 when all that I wanted was a pair of MUDD flare jeans and she cringed, remembering her seventies bell bottoms.

Speaking of uncool, one of my most embarrassing traits is that noise bothers me more and more.

This started in my mid thirties and has gotten worse with age. I think about going to the mall with my parents in high school and how they would wait outside of Abercrombie as it was too loud for them. If I had a kid today, I would be the same. I use the word “overstimulated” too much but it’s the only good word I have for it. If a place is too loud, or (maybe even worse) the table next to me is loud, I really struggle: I get distracted, I cannot focus on the conversation, my head starts to pound, it is awful.

Best case, I feel irritable. Worst case, I feel myself start to actually panic and need to leave. And then on top of that I also feel awful, because in addition to being bothered by the noise I am bothered with myself for being the un-fun friend who gets annoyed by such things. Usually I bite my tongue, sometimes I snap.

I’ve struggled with social anxiety for ages now but the pandemic made it even worse.

Saying that I am awkward is being kind. I sometimes just don’t know how to talk to people, especially new people, and even more in a large group. Over time I have figured out how to manage it. I have sneaky things I do that help me. When I get overwhelmed, I’ll sneak off to a bathroom or a quiet corner and just chill out a little.. usually closing my eyes for a little bit, scrolling Instagram as a distraction, or just sitting in the quiet.

Before an event or party I brush up on news and pop culture (usually a quick scroll of Air Mail, Us Weekly, and the New York Times gives me the perfect mashup of highbrow/lowbrow) and keep 3-4 topics in my head to discuss in case I get to that place where I feel like I am just staring awkwardly at the other person. If I know who is invited to the party, I will google them beforehand. Truly, I prepare for events the way that some people prepare for a test. (And that’s in addition to making myself look presentable… an entirely different endeavor all its own).

I had two really good social situations this past week. Both were things I was initially nervous about, both ended up being wonderful.

The first was the event I hosted with a brand last week.

Hosting events for brands is fun but also high pressure. I worry about my friends/the invitees having fun. I stress over the event details, wanting everything to be perfect (and something people will want to take photos of… after all, the success of most influencer events is measured by the level of social sharing!). Simultaneously, I worry about the brand being happy. Will enough people come? Will there be enough social sharing? Did I personally remember to take enough photos and post? Did I take videos and not just photos? How many glasses of wine have I had? I could go on with the list of worries.

This time around, my boyfriend was here visiting.

I wanted to bring him to the event (we had limited time together) and he wanted to come (he was genuinely so excited to see me in action for work which melted my heart a little). But how would he fare in a room full of 40 women? Would he have fun? Would it be considered lame to bring him? Or would he be a distraction? I just went with it and it was great. He already knew a good chunk of the attendees and is an extrovert and talked to everyone. He also helped me take photos and videos for Instagram, etc. which was really, really nice. It was honestly the best.

In reflecting back on the night, I realized I felt a lot less anxious than I usually do in social situations. I think that’s because I felt really supported having him there. This could be a whole other post but I have a feeling that this is why introverts and extroverts connect so well (everyone I’ve ever seriously dated has been an extrovert, I am more introverted!). The balance each other out nicely.

The other thing that happened was a friend’s party for Spoleto on Saturday night.

(Spoleto is Charleston’s big performing arts festival, this past weekend was the end of it). I was really nervous about this one. The only person I knew well was the host of the party. I knew he was going to be busy and didn’t want to lean on him too much. I did my usual things to prepare. Since it was an arts related event, I read up on the festival and who had performed that week. I had a few films and artists in my back pocket to talk about. I wore a dress with a cool design on it that was a conversation starter.

The night ended up being one of my top 5 or 10 nights in Charleston!

I talked to a group of girls I already knew and liked but wasn’t close with. Phone numbers were exchanged and I feel like we became better friends. I spotted a local gallery owner I like and admire and talked to her and her mother for a lot of the night. I bumped into a couple I’d met once and talked to them for hours. Then I had the most amazing conversation with an older woman (she turned out to be my friends’ neighbor!) who regaled me with stories of opening for Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix back in the day. I became friendly with the festival’s director of development and offered to volunteer next year. And then afterwards, the gallery owner, my friend (the host), and a few new friends closed things down with wine on the porch until waayyyy too late. It was so much fun.

In a way, my low expectations for the night (and being alone) pushed me to be more social and get out of my little bubble and comfort zone. I am not sure I would have had such a fun night (and met so many people) if I had gone with my usual group of friends. What’s the quote?

I always like to have a takeaway and I think that the takeaway is to just remember be more open and go with the flow. (Way easier said than done!)

For the work event, I would have typically preferred to go alone but had a better time because my bf was there. For the other event, I would have typically preferred to go with my usual crew but had a better time because I talked to new people and got out of my bubble. The thing you think you want may actually not be the thing you need. Life is funny like that.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

64 Comments

  1. Katie:

    Great post! I work from home now and was back in an office yesterday for a few hours. Well, about an hour in I realized how out of practice I was with small talk. I started to beat myself up and then stopped myself. I don’t like to list everything as pandemic made it worse, but it changed a lot of our social skills. So while in person chatter may be a struggle, my skills hosting calls at work has greatly improved. I use your tip of 3 things before an event and it’s helped me a ton with my anxiety. As my extrovert friend said to me, they work at things, too! As an introvert, I assume incorrectly that extroverts never seem stressed. As she explained, if we both left the same event, I’ve digested most details if needed at a later date or for work, while she may not, As I age, I’ve come to really enjoy being a work in progress. If’s what keeps me curious. Happy Friday!

    6.17.22 Reply
  2. R:

    This!!! It took me YEARS to realize why loud, busy situations triggered me, and put me on edge! It’s so helpful to have language to talk about what we’re experiencing–and to have super cool, seemingly social people like you share that this kind of anxiety even happens to you, too. Thank you <3

    6.17.22 Reply
    • Erin:

      I’m going to a wedding reception on a very small boat this weekend where I really only know the bride and 2 other coworkers, and I don’t know any of them well. It will be a small event, just 25 people in total, and I’m going alone. I am nervous but also excited to flex those muscles that have atrophied during the pandemic! I feel like I can talk to a brick wall if I have to, but I do get nervous to go to things where I won’t have someone I can fall back on. This really helped calm my nerves and remind me why I was excited to RSVP yes. Now the only downside is I have to wear flat, closed toe shoes with my cocktail attire since it’s on a boat (the horror)!

      6.17.22 Reply
      • Flex those muscles! (If you feel like it, come back here after and let us know how it goes!!!!). Laughing about the shoes but yes it really is the only way. I think I would do Tevas if I were “in your shoes.” Good luck!!!!

        6.17.22 Reply
    • It means a lot that you consider me super cool and seemingly social. 🙂

      6.17.22 Reply
    • Katie:

      Ear peace ear plugs!!! You can put them on your keys… I can still hear with them in (great for concerts etc). I am hypersensitive to noise.

      I love how you chose courage over comfort at your events. People LOVE talking about themselves, that’s my go to. “What’s something that’s brought you joy lately?” Etc, what have you been learning. And to find the pet at the party hahaha doesn’t really work if there isn’t one there.

      James Clear had this in the newsletter:
      On the ground, a rock is just a rock. But when moving at high speed through the atmosphere, a rock becomes a meteor—alive with fire and burning bright.

      People are not so different. Without activity, we are lifeless and dull. When moving fast and taking action, we come alive.”

      It resonated.

      Also this.. .Life is a series of tradeoffs, and greater results usually require greater tradeoffs.

      The question is not, “Do you want to be great at this?”

      The question is, “What are you willing to give up in order to be great at this?”

      Aka how bad do you want it.

      6.17.22 Reply
  3. Kristen:

    Grace, thank you for sharing this. I relate very much. I’m currently traveling for business and was reflecting on how my temperament for events and dinners etc has changed. I’ve wondered if it’s only age (we are same age) or partly all that changed because of the pandemic, or did I always feel like this but didn’t pay attention in younger years? Who knows. Always validating to know we are not alone. Thanks for all you do. And congrats on the site design. Beautiful.

    6.17.22 Reply
    • I think it’s a combination of the two – getting older, plus the wild ride of the past few years. And also, paying closer attention to it. I’m definitely more in tune with what I like and do not like vs. my younger years.

      Thank you so much re: the new design, I’m thrilled that you love it!

      6.17.22 Reply
  4. Caitlin Soldati:

    I love this post! I too have become increasingly annoyed/overstimulated with too much noise, whereas my husband would listen to music all day every day. I sometimes feel like a curmudgeon but am embracing I’m just more sensitive to the constant stimulation. I also agree about the trends, while it’s fun to try new “old” trends that come back, I feel like the people who stay true to what they love fashion wise and have a “signature style” are always the most chic. Still trying to figure out what that looks like for me. Both events sound super fun! Happy Friday!

    6.17.22 Reply
    • Nicola:

      Yes! My fiancé can have the tv on all day, he’s often not even watching it but is still happy to have it on (sometimes on mute) and it drives me crazy. If I’m home alone I hardly ever turn it on unless it’s to purposely watch something. And the volume too, I’m always like “turn it down please” and feel like a total granny but it makes my head want to explode!!

      6.17.22 Reply
      • That makes me crazy! When my boyfriend is here we will be sitting quietly working or relaxing and he will ask Alexa to play music and I am like PLEASE NOOOO, I love the silence!

        6.17.22 Reply
        • Jessica:

          Yes! I can soooo relate to this. I live with my boyfriend and he constantly needs background noise. We will be driving to get groceries or run other errands and usually I’m in the mood for music in the car, but other times I’m actually fine with silence or just having a conversation in the car. His first instinct is to turn on NPR (which I love to listen to when I’m in the mood) even if he’s planning to talk to me. Talk radio usually drives me crazy because at some point I’m focused on the road and it just starts to sound like noise, plus other times when we are having a conversation the background noise is too much.
          I’m the same when working from home—I prefer silence or the most I can handle is Bad on Paper Podcast or an audiobook. Music and television is too distracting.

          6.17.22 Reply
          • It is such a struggle. I also cannot talk or listen if there are other voices (like NPR etc) in the background. I’m going to need you to pick one: conversation, or listening to the conversation on the radio!

            6.17.22
  5. Ruchita:

    I am 44, so I can relate to what you said about feeling uncool! It’s so interesting to see styles from the 90s having a resurgence. And just this morning, I was listening to my CDs (!) of Garbage and Oasis in the car. I’m sure kids these days would roll their eyes, but I’m thankful that I grew up without the pressures of social media. Also, I’m convinced 1995 was still just 10 years ago. 🙂

    6.17.22 Reply
    • I do love my nineties music – was embarrassed last night, my spotify randomly opened and started playing smashing pumpkins!

      6.17.22 Reply
    • Michele:

      Turns out the kids these days have extended their love of the 90s to the music. My teens get in the car and ask for one of their playlists to go on – one of which is full of Green Day, Nirvana, and Weezer, and the other has Soundgarden, RHCP, and Led Zeppelin. I love it.

      6.21.22 Reply
  6. April B.:

    Grace, I could have written the first half of this post. I can absolutely relate to feeling very overstimulated in loud environments and to feeling very out of practice/awkward in social settings with lots of people. I have always preferred one on one or small group settings to large parties and that has only been amplified since the pandemic started and I began working from home and no work entertaining situations. I think some of it for me goes back to the loss of stamina that you wrote about a while back, both as I get older and since lockdown. I try to remember that most people feel sort of awkward in social settings these days (and probably always) and that helps, as does separating from the group a bit as you mentioned you do. Great post!

    6.17.22 Reply
    • Couldn’t agree more about one on one situations. That was the nice thing about the pandemic (that part where we were leaving our homes but being really careful)… the one on one hangs, the walks with friends, etc! Now we’ve gone full steam ahead with big events and parties and I love them / don’t want to miss out on the fun but also find them so draining!

      It’s a really good reminder to remember that most people feel awkward!

      6.17.22 Reply
  7. Can definitely relate to the noise. I find myself needing headphones on when I’m in public more often than not because external chatter/stimulation is so overwhelming these days. (I’m 35, for context, so I can relate lol)

    6.17.22 Reply
    • That’s really smart. I do this sometimes, just keeping my airpods on with the music on low, it soothes me!!!!!

      6.17.22 Reply
    • Zoe:

      Yes! Absolutely. I purposefully pack headphones when I know there’ll be people, noise and bad lighting, like in a supermarket. Still not fun but then I’m not completely overstimulated when I get home.

      6.18.22 Reply
  8. Alicia:

    I asked a restaurant to turn down the music last weekend – ostensibly for my dad since I knew it was bothering him but also for me. I felt so uncool but it was breakfast and no one else was in the restaurant so I didn’t feel as embarrassed by it. That said, I know that I’m/we’re not the only ones who often feel over-stimulated so if my asking helps others who maybe wouldn’t feel ok asking I’ll keep on doing it! And of course my dad definitely laughed at me!

    6.17.22 Reply
    • I do this all the time and feel so embarrassed. Where I really struggle is with other people, because it really bothers me but I of course won’t say anything. A few months ago I was at a restaurant and there was a large group next to us and they were JUST SO LOUD. Like cackling laughter (and having so much fun) but it made me feel like I could not concentrate on the conversation… I had to move and get out of there but felt so awkward.

      Comments like these definitely help me feel less alone!

      6.17.22 Reply
    • Shannon:

      I am often the one asking the restaurant to turn down the music too!

      6.17.22 Reply
  9. I love this post, Grace, I appreciate your openness! The introvert struggle is so real, and I’m a little defeated to admit I feel like social invitations are more difficult post-quarantine; I definitely get exhausted faster by other people, and accept invitations much less. I love being home. I love the quiet! But I also love my friends and being out, its just so hard GET out lol. I think it’s really helpful to fully acknowledge how much you enjoyed your events & outings, in effort to make social situations seems less intimidating. It’s something I’m working on, and it’s nice not feel alone on the journey!

    6.17.22 Reply
    • I agree with you. I just really love being home!!!! You’re definitely not alone. xx

      6.17.22 Reply
  10. Pam:

    This is so honest and relatable – thank you for sharing!

    6.17.22 Reply
  11. April Gaskell:

    Grace, thank you for being so open and transparent with what may still be considered by some as taboo topics. I am an introvert with some extroverted qualities. I struggle to WANT to GO (I don’t like getting ready, I don’t like leaving, I don’t like the wonder in advance of what will be). Yet I am better once I am on my way, get going and have arrived. Over the years I’ve identified for myself the clothes/style accoutrements which help me feel my best as when I feel my best (read: feel good about how I’m presenting myself) it helps to relax my social anxiety.

    6.17.22 Reply
    • Haha I feel this. I have some extroverted qualities too. If I see all my friends at an event hanging out with me, I get excruciating FOMO. But when I am there I am maybe not having a great time. My favorite thing is just a cozy dinner for four people.

      6.17.22 Reply
      • Tara:

        Exactly! Yesterday I drove past a neighbor’s house and there were many cars, a big pool party. And I thought how fun, but then I thought, how often am I in that type of event and feel overwhelmed and wish I could just drive by in the car! It is a dichotomy!

        6.20.22 Reply
  12. Mimi:

    Thank you so much for sharing, Grace! I think a lot of us struggle with this, whether in a large social setting or just navigating with our partners etc. As somebody closer to 40 than 30, I find myself relishing silence and time alone more and more.
    Also, I am a musician and I performed at Spoleto when I was just out of school…thank you for your involvement! I go to the audiologist for earplug fittings etc. One year I told her I was afraid I was losing my hearing because I was having trouble conversing in social settings, restaurants, etc. She told me that data shows that establishments intentionally turn up the music, engineer their acoustics/buildings etc to get that “buzzy” “trendy” “exciting” vibe and that the trend has been growing.

    6.17.22 Reply
    • I really hate that trend! If I have to raise my voice to sustain conversation, I have to go home!

      6.17.22 Reply
    • Cy:

      This is a true thing! Many restaurants and hotels do this to keep the “buzz” going. It can make things unbearable. Recent studies have shown that younger people are losing their hearing way before they should be affected.

      6.17.22 Reply
  13. I’m 43 and I’m totally with you on the noise thing! The last few years, sustained loud noise (music being played too loudly while we’re eating dinner, my dog barking, a kid (even my own!) screaming…) has just become unbearable to me. It’s not a happy development, but glad to know I’m not the only one experiencing it. :/

    6.17.22 Reply
  14. Sarah Campbell:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Grace! I’m Gen X, so I’ve been easing into the “hey kids, get off my lawn” phase of life for a while now but I really struggle with losing my edge. I used to be the person who knew every emerging trend, every cool secret event or venue, every up-and-coming…whatever before anyone else. It feels weird to be on the other side of that and realize that I’m completely out of touch with what “the kids” think and do. I still try to stay current but man, it’s a struggle now and honestly? It feels great not to be so concerned about whether I’m perceived as “cool”. Also, FOMO is just…not a thing now – what a relief 🙂

    6.17.22 Reply
    • Oh my gosh YES. Feeling so much of the same, ESPECIALLY with the move out of New York. I am so much happier living in a smaller city but I def feel like I’ve lost some of my edge.

      6.17.22 Reply
    • Also cracking up at the “hey kids, get off my lawn” energy. It’s me too.

      6.17.22 Reply
  15. Carol:

    I am so glad I am not the only one who occasionally ends up staring at people with nothing to say. I hate small talk so much but love the idea of having a few current events lined up to help keep the conversation going.

    6.17.22 Reply
    • Oh my god it is my least favorite feeling… running out of things to say and just staring blankly. That’s when I wander off to close my eyes in the bathroom (or go home!).

      6.17.22 Reply
      • Ann:

        I’m 25 and have recently been experiencing the noise thing too! I pretty much can’t hear what someone is saying to me if there are other people talking nearby. I thought my tolerance for noise and ability to focus on conversation had just decreased from living by myself during the pandemic. My social anxiety has gotten worse too for sure. Sounds like it’s not just me!

        6.17.22 Reply
  16. Angel:

    I’m a bit younger than you (and presumably at an age where I can still *keep up*), but so many of your thoughts on social situations post-pandemic (and, honestly, before then) resonate so much. I feel like the noise level of restaurants and bars and other places now is so obnoxious. It makes me angry! And then I’m trying to figure out why the heck I’m so mad. I also have some slight hearing loss, so I really can’t understand people’s words if there’s a lot of background noise. Then I feel like they’re annoyed because I have to keep asking them to repeat themselves. It’s too much on top of my already limited social skills. And! I’m about to go back into an (open, ugh) office full time and have already warned my partner that I’m going to need an hour of silence when I get home and will probably not be a very nice person while I adjust LOL.

    6.17.22 Reply
  17. Lynn:

    I’m certain especially after your blog that so many people do have social anxiety and other things they don’t speak about . I’ve had much therapy in my life due to tragic loss and Thebes past anxiety it caused that I never wanted to experience again. I still do bit I manage it better. I do well with a few friends I know well , but not a big room full of people I don’t know . I’ll either chat too much or say nothing at all . A therapist and a good peer friend who ran a small women’s divorce group after my ex left me for a young girl told me to think this: “what you think of me is none of my business”. Sure , I still work hard on real challenges but you never know what the person sitting next to you is going through. To me, looking at you and how pretty and personable and kind you are, I only see someone lovely, kind, friendly, genuine and with such great taste . It’s true. We don’t always get the things we want in this life , but we get the things we need. You have a lot of understanding, a lot of support and so much love. I see the inside shining through in you and I love to read your blog and posts. Sending hugs❤️

    6.17.22 Reply
  18. Rachel:

    I love this kind of post. Thanks for sharing so vulnerably, Grace! I’ve found that as I get older, I feel more and more like myself, and like who I am shows up more in conversations and relationships. It feels great to be able to own “oh, I’m a little awkward” and just tell people that, or to say “I’m feeling a little anxious.” I’ve found it helps build bonds and get us towards more real conversations quicker, while simultaneously putting myself more at ease. It’s far from as simple as I’m writing it out to be! Just wanted to share this to say that you are not alone!

    6.17.22 Reply
  19. Meliss:

    Oh this post, I can totally relate! I am the introvert in my relationship, my husband the extrovert and an atty….so for years of having to go to his work events (when you are a SAHM) the panic feeling of having to make high level conversation is something I understand all too well. Thank you for the coping suggestions Grace, you have a few I haven’t tried, but will be so helpful!

    6.17.22 Reply
  20. Chloe:

    Really loved this post and relate on so many aspects! Prior to the pandemic I was a lot more extroverted and more comfortable in social situations and now when I do brave the outside world I find myself needing to escape for a few minutes to regather myself and then jump back in! Also, you are not alone in the noise. I am about to turn 30 and the loud noises/loud people are really starting to grind my gears lol inside voices people!!

    Also side note- first post I’ve read since the blog makeover and I love the new look and feel!!

    6.17.22 Reply
  21. Nicole:

    Highly recommend the book Divergent Mind by Jenara Nerenberg. I also have a lot of sensory issues and social anxiety and this book really helped me accept and better understand some of the labels doctors had suggested that I’d been so dismissive of over the years. And the book helped to kick off a journey of finally being gentle/kind/understanding with myself over my sensory issues making me feel “no fun” and “difficult”. The self criticism about it had gotten so bad I hadn’t even realized how crippling that part was until I finally stopped carrying it all ❤️

    6.17.22 Reply
  22. Lindsey:

    Can I offer a word of advice from an extrovert/someone who finds it relatively easy to talk to strangers? Ask questions. Be curious. I think I read that as one of the rules in Dale Carnegie’s « How to make friends and Influence people » in college and it has never steered me wrong. Everyone’s favorite topic is themselves. And as an added bonus you don’t need to prepare ahead of time or do much talking 🙂

    6.17.22 Reply
  23. Cy:

    Grace, the wonderful thing about you ( one of them) is that you are always so open and vulnerable. Your strategies are very smart. You say ( write) out loud how many people feel. I always thought I was an extrovert, but now realize I have become more of an introvert ( working in a hotel lobby for 20 years which was basically a nightclub probably had something to do with that). I pick and chose my social situations now and say no when I really don’t want to do something. We don’t always that luxury of course. Loud places bother me, but I have very good hearing and never understood the point of screaming at each other. I always wondered why young people have the monopoly on “cool”. For me; the older I get, the less I care what people think. That feels very cool 🙂

    6.17.22 Reply
    • Molly:

      Totally agree! So much of Instagram and Tik Tok coolness is predicated on so much… TRYING. So much sultry pouting at the camera, so many way over the top poses, so highly edited, so obviously staged to look natural. So many sarcastic captions or bumble answers, so little genuine or vulnerable anything.

      I really do thing the coolest thing is just to not really care what other people think and do what YOU like. But even outside of all the cheesy love yourself messages, I’m just finding the sheer amount of effort to be getting really played out and embarrassing. Seven or 10 years ago it was so incredibly cool to have gorgeous candid-looking pictures staring into the ocean or unsmiling pictures in a sexy outfit. Now you can look at those and immediately no how much preparation and effort went in. The effect is ruined. I think we’re going to veer back to actual smiling pictures soon.

      6.17.22 Reply
  24. Mary:

    At 46, I have been having a personal style crisis since the pandemic opened my social world back up. I walk into a party, the nail salon, the local shops and every woman is wearing floor-length, floral gowns, and that is soooo not me. I prefer to wear neutrals and solids and pants–even if makes me stick out like a sore thumb right now in a sea of girlishness. I even tried to buy a few floral dresses but I just feel really silly participating in a trend that looks great on others but feels totally inauthentic on me. I know this would not be a big deal in someplace like New York, but I live in a southern city where there is a lot of emphasis on women looking feminine and everyone shops the same boutiques. I am trying to work on my confidence so I don’t feel so left out and awkward because I feel like my lack of “current style” is affecting my sociability.

    6.17.22 Reply
  25. Nicole:

    Hi! Long-time reader, first-time commenter. I have a hearing loss & wear hearing aids, so I pay a lot of attention to acoustics in restaurants & other spaces. The industrial design trend is awful for sound absorption, since there’s no soft surfaces to absorb anything, so I have to spend so much energy tuning out the loud music, background noise, and chatter just to focus on my own conversations. I actually found a free app called SoundPrint a few months ago which rates restaurants by how quiet or noisy they are, and it’s all crowdsourced data! I pull out my phone whenever I’m dining out now to record the volume & submit it to the app. I’ve found it useful to at least gauge a spot ahead of time and mentally prepare for the volume, haha. Thanks for the post!

    6.17.22 Reply
  26. Shannon:

    I can totally relate to the noise issues. Background noise that gets too loud is too much. I’m the one asking a restaurant or somewhere to turn it down! I have a hard time concentrating, because all I can hear is the music. My gym’s outdoor pool has obnoxiously loud music, and I have requested them to decrease the volume but with no luck. In 2018, I did get custom earplugs made, but these were mostly for my indoor group exercise classes. I do use them sometimes in other situations! I also cannot stand when I can hear 2-3 different music selections coming from different locations all at the same time. This happens at work a lot.

    6.17.22 Reply
  27. Kim:

    I am right there with you on sounds. My former neighbors had barking dogs and it almost drove me insane. Then there is the fact if it’s even a faint sound but I know nothing in my house is making it, I can’t take it. Even faint bass from a neighbors tv gets to me.

    6.17.22 Reply
  28. Molly:

    I’m 32 and I found your blog through Carly a few years ago. I’ve always been a big fan because as I started to feel too old for things I used to love, I’d be like “well grace is X age and she’s still hot/relatable/well dressed/whatever. I don’t need to be terrified of being (my age + a few years).”

    That being said, I do not understand why we are indulging this skinny jeans and a side part thing. I get that a bunch of Gen Z thinks that they look great with middle parts and horrific 80s mom jeans, but they don’t. I honestly don’t care about the opinions of people who aren’t even old enough to get into a bar, or who rely on their parents to pay their rent. When we were wearing low rise everything, sparkly blue eyeshadow, and thongs hanging out, our moms (for the most part), didn’t indulge us and tell us we were now the arbiter of what was cool. They told us we looked stupid and we sighed and told them they didn’t get it. They were right.

    I don’t care that 20–year-olds think center parts are cool, they’re just not flattering unless you have a super symmetrical very oval face. Those mom jeans make your ass look incredibly flat. Why are we indulging this instead of rolling our eyes like Gen X did at us?

    6.17.22 Reply
  29. Thanks for sharing sweetie!

    Danielle | thereluctantblogger.co.uk

    6.17.22 Reply
  30. Katie:

    Gosh, I love this, and love you and your writing. Thank you, Grace!

    6.17.22 Reply
  31. Cara:

    Grace, I COMPLETELY relate to your inability to handle noise (and on getting slightly more awkward during the pandemic)! I have gotten to the point that if I’m in a house and several conversations are happening, and are escalating louder and louder, I get really anxious and have to step out. I’ve also found that if I’m doing something (say cooking) and talking to someone, and someone else interrupts to ask me something, I basically lose it. I too have snapped or have slipped out to find a quiet spot for awhile. I can’t handle loud music in the car or loud TVs anymore! I might as well be a 60 year old biddy, but I guess this is 40. At least we have each other!

    6.17.22 Reply
  32. A.B.:

    Thanks for sharing. I am also an introvert and hearing you make yourself go out of your comfort zone and have such great experiences is a reminder to do the same. The pandemic made me lean, unintentionally, very hard into my introversion, so getting out now feels very awkward.

    6.24.22 Reply