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Awkward exits to social situation at church
February 29, 2016
8:20 pm
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gottarun215
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February 29, 2016
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I just moved to a small town in another state and don't know anyone in this region of the country outside of my job and this family I rent from. I rent a house from a family that also has a house on the property and recently they invited me to go to church with them. Since then, I have gone three times and every time has been awkward leaving after the service which is where I'm looking for advice.

The church is set up in such a way that you enter from outside right into the sanctuary. When I've gone to this church, I have ended up sitting in the same row as this family I rent from and my boss and his wife some weeks when she comes too (My boss and is wife are friends with this family too. I'm close w/ my boss b/c we only have a few people in our office.) Since I usually end up at the end of the pew, when church ends, I am the first to get up and walk outside. Since I know these people in my row and am kind of friends with them, I feel obligated to at least say hi briefly before I leave, since I normally only get to talk briefly to whoever happens to be sitting next to me in the pew (normally one of the parents from the family). Every time this has resulted in me kind of awkwardly waiting at the back of the church or outside the door for the other people to get up from the pew and walk out where I am. One of these times I ended up awkwardly standing there near my boss waiting with neither of us much having much to say beyond hi and a bit of small talk which ended in awkward silence before he departed to say hi to someone else.

This past Sunday, I got up and pretended to check something on my phone as I stood in the back of the church about to walk outside which bought enough time for the rest of the people I know to leave the pew and walk outside by me. My boss and his wife said hi and started a conversation with me which was going fine and not awkward until the family came outside and as we started talking to them, the conversation turned to my boss' wife and the other wife making plans for their families to get together later that day. This resulted in me awkwardly standing there listening to them making plans that didn't include me, but I didn't want to be rude and just walk away without saying goodbye, so instead I had to stand there awkwardly and wait for enough of a gap in the conversation to say "hey, I'm gonna head out now. Nice to see you guys. I'll see you tomorrow!" and then I finally left feeling awkward. (Note- I didn't necessarily feel the need or want to be included in these plans, but it was kind of awkward standing their while mutual kinda friends- they're close friends with each other- were making plans for later that day that didn't include me when they know I don't know anyone in this town really besides them, which is why I wanted to exit the conversation and leave.) I enjoy going to this church, but am not sure how to avoid these awkward exits.

Should I feel obligated to stay a minute and wait to say hello to these people I know and am kind of friends with (I would consider the boss and the landlord to be work friends)? Or would it be better if I avoided this situation altogether by just walking out the door and leaving right away if no one follows me out, so I'm not stuck awkwardly lingering around waiting for others to walk out so I can politely say hi? I'm sure the other parties probably don't view this as such of an awkward situation at all, but I feel awkward every time I get back from church b/c I feel like I either awkwardly lingered around too long or left too quickly and was rude if I were to exit and leave immediately without saying hi to anyone. I appreciate any tips or insight anyone can offer me to help me feel less awkward in this situation.

March 11, 2016
10:18 am
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onedaythiswillpass
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Hey gottarun,
I don't go to Church on a regular basis, so it's hard for me to entirely understand, but I am trying to envision your trouble. I think you need to try to do other things in your town or see if the Church has some sort of community schedule of events that you might enjoy attending where you would meet new people. I would not advise that you stop going to Church just to avoid these awkward conversations, but I do understand how you must be feeling. One family is your work connection, the other your landlords and they are personal friends. While you share a part of your new life with both, a fair amount of diplomacy is needed in conversing with them. You could just leave the Church service and go home or somewhere else without needing to explain yourself one time and then the next time wait outside and explain just once that you are in a hurry as you have something important to do, and nicely say your goodbyes. Since these two families did not invite you into their personal functions outside of Church, I feel you have no obligation to do anything to pacify their needs. Focus on yourself and if you desire, try to make new friends in your new area who have nothing to do with your landlord or your employer. I hope this advice helps you feel less awkward and that over time you have plenty of people to be with straight after Church. Maybe one day you might even have a new friend to invite to come with you to the Church service and then when the service is over you can leave together!
Oneday

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