My neighbours are a really nice retired couple, I’ve now met all of their adult kids and grandkids as of last night. Earlier today their son told me he’d come around later for a chat, so I said “yeah no worries”, assuming it was just something said in passing conversation. But he did. He turned up. Mind you, I met this man last night (at their family BBQ I awkwardly went to – I was put on the spot and agreed, God I hate that), I didn’t even know he existed until a couple of days ago. So three hours after he’d arrived he left to go back to his parents’ place to cook dinner. He’s a nice guy don’t get me wrong, but I am exhausted. Three hours of listening to someone talk and awkwardly trying to add things to the conversation myself makes me feel like I’ve just run a marathon without the shortness of breath. Trying not to trip over my words takes a lot of concentration. I have a headache brewing too. And I’ve realised this is actually not a new phenomenon for me, all socialising makes me feel an utter sense of exhaustion after a while. Why does conversation do this? It’s not something that uses a lot of energy, but it does? Staying engaged and trying to be genuinely interested in what someone says is literally tiring. He invited my son and I over for dinner tonight but I had to decline, I need rest. I feel like I am lazy! And I also realise how often in the past I have pushed this exhaustion aside to keep going in social situations. No wonder I burn myself out and have down days. How do other people manage this?