One thing I love about pot is how much it relieves my social anxiety. After smoking a bowl, I feel less overwhelmed by worries and more able to interact with people while being myself. At the same time, there are still some things about weed and socializing that make me uncomfortable. I want to be a kind human and a good friend while also being honest about my own behavior, so I'm not always sure when or how to be open about my pot use with new friends. I would also like some advice about how to navigate mixed groups of friends, some of whom are smokers and some non-smokers. Do you have any tips for being kind to other people who have different needs and experiences with substances?
— Anxiously Awaiting an Answer
Anxiety is rough, so I'm happy to hear that you — like many people — have found relief using cannabis. When it comes to medicating with marijuana, I'm of the mind that you are free to disclose (or not!) just as you would with any other medication. Let's say you toke up before meeting friends for a night out. You know it will help prevent you from hiding in a corner all evening and allow you to actually enjoy your friends' company. Is that any different than taking a prescription Ativan or Xanax?
It definitely makes it a lot easier if you live in a state where medical marijuana is legal, that way even the most judgiest of friends don't have a leg to stand on. But honestly, it's completely up to you and your comfort level to disclose your usage in a social setting.
When it comes to new friends, it can sometimes be tricky to gauge how down with the ganja they might be. First, decide if there's even a need to say anything. If this is someone you only see socially on occasion, then there's really no need for them to know your private business. However, if this is someone that you foresee a long-term friendship with, then it might be beneficial to have a chat about your cannabis use.
A good way to broach the subject with a new friend can be through casual chit chat. Bring it up to get a baseline reading (maybe not mentioning your own personal use, but marijuana in general), and then you can segue into talking about your own use if you feel like the situation is right. If you're comfortable with it, humor is also a great way to ease into it.
As for the second part of your question, when it comes to hanging out with mixed groups, respect is the number one rule. Let's say you have a crew of friends, but not all of them are drinkers. If you host a party, you'd make sure to include some fun non-alcoholic drinks as well, right? So now, just take that way of thinking and apply it to a smoking situation.
If you're hanging out in your home; establish some ground rules. Perhaps smoking only takes place outside or in a designated room. Make sure nobody feels left out — which could mean hanging back to chat with a friend while others go toke up. You also want to be conscious that marijuana doesn't take center stage, so maybe ease up on talking about it, or philosophizing about your favorite strains, and instead talk about something you all can relate to, like how you can't wait for season two of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt to start already. But seriously, when does it start?