Acting as a Social Crutch and Trying to Fail More

I found myself pathetically paralyzed with anxiety this evening. I wanted to attend a comedy show where my friend was debuting but the show was not well marked at the bar. I asked a waitress how to get to the comedy show and she mentioned a side door. That side door was closed and locked. I circled the building twice before texting my friend but after ten minutes with no reply, I left. He called me finally and told me how to get to the show. I returned but once I got to the front door of the bar again, I could not bring myself to go in, walk to the back, and open a door which I couldn't identify from the outside peering through the windows. I again left. 

I feel stupid for not going in. I feel like I let down my friend for not supporting him at his debut show. I don't fully understand why it was so scary to proceed, I guess because I was told, by staff, how to get the show and now I was going to circumvent what I was told. I'm perhaps too afraid of being in the wrong, an extension of my fear of failure. I remember in my youth, some friends at the time would venture through low risk buildings we weren't supposed to be in (like a big church) and I tagged along. I wasn't at ease in those times but I felt emboldened by being with friends who were the leaders in these adventures. Yet today I just aborted from a comedy show that I already had pre-paid to attend. 

This made me recall something I felt about auditioning. I remember early on I looked at going to auditions as a way to improve my social stuntedness because interaction with people is a regular requirement for landing gigs. But I realize that perhaps instead of actually repairing my social skills, I merely distracted from the issue by only becoming practiced at task-based social interaction

See it's easy for me to engage when there's a task at hand, so when I had auditions my social role was clear - come in, polite greeting, do the lines, and bid a kind farewell. There's little or no deviation from this norm because auditions are short, most are two to three minutes and rarely over five. I thought this was helping me get better at being social but I don't think that's the case, it did nothing to ease real life interactions where the roles are not so scripted and the task not so clear. Like a vampire, my presence at auditions was invited. Plus most everyone running an audition is professional and kind, it's not a real social interaction but a manufactured one.

One of the reasons I love acting so much is because it gives me permission to play. I am hyper concerned of boundaries in the real world, I want to stay miles away from people's boundaries so there's not even a whiff of me trying to push anyone's. But when that camera rolls and the director calls action, I get to put responsibility of what I do on the script or the scene or the character. I cease to be Raj who doesn't want to risk anything for fear of rubbing someone the wrong way and I can be someone else, someone who doesn't feel like a high schooler when it comes to engaging with new people.

To be fair to myself, I have improved somewhat from where I started but tonight revealed how far I may have to go to start taking actual risks. I understand I need to fail more, much more, but failing in social settings feels like the ultimate faux pas and humiliation because it's my actions causing the reaction of someone else - it's not just me being harmed but potentially another person who has to correct my error. 

For me, I'd rather just not error at all, take no risk, which I understand is not practical but, in my experience, it is very doable.