I want to talk about something that is more bloggy and not really writing related. However, I feel like a lot of writers could sympathize with this trait, which of course is social anxiety. I was talking with a friend of mine recently and she told me she had really bad social anxiety and if you knew her, you wouldn’t think so. To me she seems very confident and charismatic, but I guess it’s because I knew her well enough for her to be comfortable around me. And then the very next day, my best friend invites me to a girls night out . While we’re on our way there, we start talking about… you guessed it; social anxiety. I thought this was too strange to not talk about.
In case you aren’t aware, social anxiety is a feeling a person gets when they are surrounded by a lot of other people they don’t know. It’s a feeling that shuts most of us down and we climb back into the comfort of our shells. For me, it’s gotten so bad to the point I left the get together my ex boyfriend put together and I sat in the car the rest of the time. This is not a fun time. It’s not only the fact that you feel the pressure to be outgoing to strangers you don’t know, even though you are not an outgoing person, but you also feel the pressure of the host (or boyfriend) getting upset with you because you disappeared. When he finally found me, it was not a fun conversation. He didn’t understand and it made me cry; and he hated when I cried. So, ya know, MORE pressure.
There was another time I was out with my sister and she invited me to a place filled with her co-workers from work. And when I say filled, there were at least 20 people there that all knew each other and I sat in the corner like an awkward turtle. I tried to make small talk, but it usually only lasted a minute and then they would get bored. I’m not one to initiate conversations to strangers. But I am totally different if people ask me questions, because I am a friendly person and I want to talk and get to know people, it’s just hard sometimes. I ended up leaving that party to and hiding in the car. Luckily my sister understood and helped me a little out of my shell.
I guess the point of this blog is to be aware of what social anxiety is and that it is a real thing and to understand it. We’re not trying to be rude to your friends or create drama by leaving an uncomfortable situation. (trust me, drama is the LAST thing we want) I feel like my sister did the right thing by asking me what was wrong and trying to help, rather than getting upset that I just left and tried to ruin her night.
Having friends in your life who know you have this, can help so much and actually helps to build better friendships.
Oh, the girls night out wasn’t bad. I debated texting my friend from the bathroom to tell her I was ready to leave, but I also didn’t want to be that person to make her leave if she was having a good time. I knew she had the same issue I had, but she knew more of them than I did and she opened up more. I ended up not telling her over text and tried to be more social. It was awkward for sure, but certain things they talked about I was able to contribute too, and that helped a lot.
You may not experience this yourself, but may have friends who do. It’s all about how you react. Try to understand why they might be quieter than usual, or leave frequently. don’t get upset or call them out in front of others. You’ll only push them further away.