To Whom It May Concern:

You may have noticed I was not present at your last gathering. Or it is possible you did not notice. I tend to be a not-very-noticeable person a majority of the time. Nevertheless, you hosted a gathering, and I did not attend. I would like to attempt to explain why.

I hope you understand that I hold you in the highest regard. In fact, I have the utmost respect for everyone who attended your last meeting. So much so, in fact, that I find myself intimidated by you. You are all so successful, so virtuous, so intelligent that I am not sure what I could possibly offer you with my attendance. You are truly an extraordinary group of people, and I do not feel worthy to be among you.

You are all also very skilled in the art of conversation, and I am not. I often find myself struggling for words, and you always seem to know exactly what to say. You are welcoming to visitors, while I am uncomfortable in the presence of strangers. You have endless patience for meetings which run long, and I seem to want to leave within the first five minutes. You are professional, courteous, and kind; I am shy, timid, and awkward.

Because of all this, I opted to not attend your latest gathering. I know this is not the first time I have skipped out on you, and it probably will not be the last. Sometimes it is easier to hide from one’s shortcomings than to face them head-on, and to be in your presence would force me to acknowledge the way I feel about myself. At least if I stay away I can foster some sense of security.

At the same time, though, I would like to think you would accept me. Your approval is of the utmost importance to me, even though I remain relatively sure I will never gain it. I am simply not like you. Even though we may be able to be friends, I realize we will never be the same. While this makes me sad, somehow being a realist provides me with a certain sense of comfort.

Please feel free to invite me to your next meeting. Who knows? I might be able to overcome myself and actually show up. If not, though, please accept my humble apologies once again. Now, at least, you will understand why.

Sincerely,

Eddie Sheridan
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