Confessions Of A Somewhat Socially Anxious People-Person

Confessions Of A Somewhat Socially Anxious People-Person

As oxymoronic as it sounds, it's a reality.
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I love people, I always have. I love making them laugh, I love conversing and exchanging ideas…but I’m also kind of afraid of them. If you’re close to me, this might come as a surprise. I’m usually outgoing, given the proper setting, and with people I know. However, despite my love of people, my fear of them can sometimes act as a catalyst for avoiding certain social gatherings. This fear is what enabled me to avoid those classic middle school pool parties, or even now, small social gatherings with people I don’t know very well in college. As a believer in observing through an introspective lens, I’ve broken down this propensity of socially fueled anxiety to a consistent theme: for me, it all goes back to insecurity.

Let it be known that I am aware this avoidance of the unfamiliar stems from a pit of insecurities. I can admit it: I have my fair share of insecurities. Most of us do, although many of us don’t like to admit to it. I always go back to the pool party example. It’s not that I genuinely didn’t want to go, I was just afraid to go. Just the thought of my coed classmates seeing me in a bathing suit was enough to keep me home. “I don’t even know her that well, Mom. She won’t even notice that I’m not there.” I had a laundry list of excuses, ready at hand. It made me moody, because I couldn’t explain what I was feeling without spilling out the fact that I was insecure. I can’t estimate the amount of good experiences I may have missed out on during those years.

The same thing holds true in my college years. As I try to acquire new friends and experiences, I can’t help that sinking feeling in the pit on my stomach. I can’t decide whether it is my fear of judgment or the painful awkwardness that comes with small talk. Either way, it makes me nervous, makes me doubt myself, and ultimately, sends me running. The next step is to find a way to slow down, evaluate the situation and remind myself that a social interaction like this isn’t going to kill me. It’s easier said than done. However, I also think that many of us just want people to like us. It’s this propensity to try and adapt to everyone else around you, to enchant them, to get them to relate to you. It’s this irrational desire that similarly makes it that much harder to branch out. You can’t please everyone, and you can’t, and shouldn’t, adapt your personality to match someone else. As my favorite country artist Kacey Musgraves once said, “You can’t be everybody’s cup of tea.”

Everyone has an Achilles heel; everyone has a battle to fight. We’re perfectly dysfunctional, often a heavy helping of redeeming qualities, with a small dash of imperfections. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve forced myself (or in most cases, been forced) to combat the desire that attempts to lure me into staying home. However, what I’ve found, is that it’s all about finding a way to remind yourself that no one has an expectation of you. It’s hard to remind yourself that your insecurities are often irrational and exist solely within your mind. Some days are harder than others, and I’ve been told time and time again to look at the big picture. I love my comfort zone, I love it so much. Yet I know it is my comfort zone that’s denying me the chance to venture out and meet new people. For me, it’s about taking it a day at a time. To rationalize my feelings, I have to peel back the layers, and get to the root of the anxiety. For me, nine times out of ten it’s the same old insecurities. It’s time to do some power stances and embrace more self-love. As are most things in life: this one’s a work in progress.

Cover Image Credit: mychemicalsecret.tumblr.com

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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A Day In The Life Of A Socially Anxious Person

"I better lower the volume of my phone. Someone sitting next to me might hear what music I'm listening to and judge my song choice."

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According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), social anxiety disorder affects 15 million adults in the United States. It is one of the most common mental illness and yet a lot of people don't know what social anxiety disorder (SAD) exactly is and have misconceptions about it. Social anxiety is often misunderstood as shyness. However, SAD goes beyond shyness. For someone with SAD, daily social interactions can be stressful to handle because of fear of negative evaluation and embarrassment.

To eliminate misunderstandings and spread awareness about SAD, here's a picture diary of what a day in the life of a socially anxious person looks like.

8:30 a.m.

"I better hurry and switch off my alarm before my roommate wakes up. I'm afraid she might hate me for waking her up this early."

12:00 p.m.

"I know the answer to this question but I'm too scared to answer. What if it is wrong and I embarrass myself in front of everyone?"

3:00 p.m.

"I better lower the volume of my phone. Someone sitting next to me might hear what music I'm listening to and judge my song choice."

5:00 p.m.

"I better keep practicing my order in my head otherwise I might stumble upon my words and make a fool of myself."

7:00 p.m.

"I am just going to delay answering this call as I'm afraid to answer the phone. I don't know who is on the other side and am not exactly sure what to say."

10:00 p.m.

"I'd rather not sleep, as if I try to, I'll be reevaluating all the embarrassing moments of my day."

Along with these thoughts, a person suffering from SAD might also experience physical symptoms like nausea, dizziness, flushing, palpitations, shortness of breath and tightness in the chest. If your day looks anything like the picture diary above and you have been experiencing physical symptoms, do not be afraid to seek help.

According to a survey conducted by ADAA, 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report experiencing symptoms for 10 or more years before seeking help. If you are someone who is suffering from SAD, always remember that there's hope. Always seek help as social anxiety disorder is treatable through medication and therapy.

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