The fourteenth installment of our breakfast advice column
Are you in a breakfast conundrum? Do you have deep-seated, unresolved feelings for brunch? Are you at a loss in front of the smorgasbord of life? Because so often breakfast is about feelings, and relationships teeter on the edge of the morning meal table, Extra Crispy editors Kat Kinsman (Bis-kat) and Margaret Eby (Bisc-gret) are here with the latest installment of Emergency Biscuits, our breakfast advice column, to dole out hopefully not half-baked counsel and recipes for life. Got a question for the Biscuits? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love parties. I love throwing them, I love attending them, I love scheming about whether to set out a punch bowl or renting out a cooler, I love planning what kind of glittery eyeshadow I’ll wear or what I’ll bring to make the night more festive. I love meeting people, and seeing old friends, and singing sea shanties. But I get really bad, really serious post-party anxiety. I worry, like you did after your brunch-hard experience, that I’ve been saying the wrong thing, or that I offended someone. I worry that I looked like a fool, or I blurted out someone else’s secret, or people just plain didn’t like me.
Here’s what the very smartest, most empathetic people I know have told me: Let yourself off the hook. You’re allowed to, as my incredibly wise and brilliant co-biscuit told me, turn off the tape recorder in your brain. You are allowed to cede control of events. There is no possible way you could guarantee that brunching hard was the same joyful experience for everyone. It is neither your responsibility nor within your powers to do so.
If you have given anyone grievous offense, it is unlikely that you wouldn’t remember. If you have offended someone in a way that they are unwilling to reveal to you or talk about, well, that person isn’t interested in forgiving you really—those sort of passive-aggressive “guess what you did wrong” games are dumb. Trust that people who are your friends will be honest about their conflicts with you, if indeed there was one, and there probably wasn’t. Everyday awkward things you may or may not have committed are, in the course of life, just not that big a deal? Everyone is concentrating on their own things. Treat yourself with the forgiveness and gentleness you would grant a friend, or even just a party guest. See, isn’t that better? Don’t rake yourself over the coals for one joke a friend didn’t laugh at, or one weird glance.
Another thing that I’ve found is true is that everything gets a little looser and blurrier when alcohol involved. That’s great for lessening the anxiety in the moment, but it means the post-party anxiety, at least for me, amplifies. So maybe keep it to two mimosas next time, and have a buddy you can confide in. Just have a point person who you can pull aside once in a while and say, “Hey, I get really bad anxiety about these things, and sometimes I’m just going to ask you if things are going OK.” They really, usually are.
You had it right from the get-go: Brunch happens. You know what you're getting into, depending upon who's with you. I don't have a lot of context about your brunch here, but since you say you were not the only presumed offender, I'm gonna assume you weren't smuggling in a flask of vodka to spike your OJ at a 10 a.m. baby shower in the church basement. A certain quantity of shenanigans were expected—even welcomed—from the outset and you did your part to uphold them.
But can we talk about why you're feeling weird? Did you wake up with an odd bruise or a new pet that you don't remember acquiring? Are there text messages of upset from a fellow bruncher, or have you been unceremoniously unfriended by one or more of the party? I suppose what I'm asking is, is there physical or digital evidence that something went awry?
If there's an actual chunk of blackout, then perhaps there might need to be a moment of reflection about things—not even about that brunch specifically, but, like, generally.
If there's concrete evidence of a bad thing having happened, it's better to rip the bandaid off. Spare yourself the worry, ask a trusted co-bruncher for the cold, hard facts, see what you can do to mop up any messes, physical or emotional, and forgive yourself.
And if there's no evidence—just a "the call is coming from inside the metaphorical house where the house is actually your psyche" situation—I'd like you to do me a favor. Close your eyes, draw a deep breath in through your nose, hold it, and let it out through your mouth. Then do this two more times. Are you in a slightly better state of body and/or mind? Good. You deserve to be, but maybe your brain didn't get the message.
Our brains are just assholes sometimes. They lie to our bodies and souls for no good reason other than the fact that they can. They don't necessarily mean to, but some of us just happened to get saddled with grey head blobs that are bad at firing the right chemicals at the right time, and make us feel weird and scared for no good reason. (And for some people, alcohol exacerbates that.) It's sometimes incredibly hard to remember in the moment, but what you're sensing isn't necessarily based in reality. Doesn't mean it doesn't feel that way, but if you can possibly separate out the facts from the feelings and give yourself a damn break, you might even be able to get some breathing room and recall that you had a grand time with folks you dig.
Feel free to brunch with abandon. (And maaaayyyyybe a drop less mimosa.)