I work at a small company where most people are friends with each other. I get along with a few of my co-workers in the office and at work organized parties, but wouldn't call any of them friends.
I had been invited to a couple of parties organized outside of the office when I was a new starter, approximately 3 years ago, but my health declined soon after and so I did not spend very much time socializing with them over the years. My health issues also negatively impacted my social skills so I kept to myself during the bad times, often sitting in silence in the lunch room while others conversed. Occasionally I would try to re-integrate with conversations in the lunch room, lunches out at restaurants (a daily occurrence at this company) and after work drinks when my health was slightly better. Even at the best times during this period, I did not feel completely integrated into the group.
I also lost touch with my friends outside of work because of my very inconsistent health, and for unrelated reasons, I have no desire to get back in touch with them.
My health issues have been going on for closer to 6 years, and so I feel like I've missed out on a significant portion of my 20s, and that I have catching up to do in terms of forming friendships and having the experiences I've missed out on. I do not feel comfortable sharing this with any one of my co-workers, as I still don't know any of them too well, and frankly it's embarrassing to talk about a problem where the most visible symptom is "inconsistently worse social skills", as it just sounds like a bad excuse. (For what it's worth, I've recently told upper management about my health, it didn't affect my quality of work, but I do need flexible time off for treatment).
Starting from the past couple of months, my health has been getting better, in fact the best it's been for a long time, as I am finally getting medical treatment after several misdiagnoses. A few weeks ago, one of the beloved members of the group left the company and I revealed my health issues to him, apologizing for not being sociable as we'd gotten on very well in and out of work for the first few months that I'd joined the company.
At his leaving drinks, he said to me that he'd be holding a party and he'll be sure to invite me, as he did remember our early interactions fondly, and understood putting my health above everything else. The date of the party is coming up very soon, and I'd expect that invitations have already been given out to many of my co-workers.
Does the invitation seem like hollow promise made in the spur of the moment or a genuine one? If it was genuine, would it be too forward to ask the host directly, even though we haven't been in touch since his departure, or should I ask someone at the office about it, even though the people I know best are acquaintances?
However, I don't want to put anyone in an awkward situation where they only invite me because they feel like they've been put on the spot.