I love being around people. I get my energy from being around others as long as they're the right people for me.
I love talking to new people and forming new relationships. The people I have in my life are what keep me going.
I could easily do brunch with a friend, a movie with a different friend and end the night with group karaoke all without needing a break in between hangouts.
I am the definition of a people person.
Because of this, many people don't believe me when I tell them I have social anxiety.
Most people associate social anxiety with shyness and/or introversion, but these groupings are mutually exclusive.
Shyness is feeling apprehensive around new people.
Introverts recharge their energy by spending time alone whereas extroverts recharge their energy by being around others.
Social anxiety is a type of anxiety that stems from social situations in which one is afraid of being judged negatively or embarrassed.
With these definitions of these different groupings, let's talk a little about what being a socially anxious extrovert means to me.
For me, it's like a constant battle in my brain.
I know that in order to keep my energy up, I need to be around people. However, I'm afraid of putting myself in new social situations in fear that I wouldn't be accepted by others.
For example, I recently started going to a poetry open mic in my hometown. I've only been going for about a month now, but it has easily become my favorite activity!
Some of the people I've met there have become my best friends, but it didn't start out that way.
The first time I went in August, I was terrified. I didn't know a single person, and everyone already knew everyone.
I pretty much clammed up in fear that I wouldn't have anyone to talk to there. I didn't want to go up to a random person in fear that I would be bothering them if they just wanted to sit alone.
However, once I met my good friend for the first time, he introduced me to many other amazing people there.
Now, I have a great group I go with every week. I feel loved, accepted and encouraged to be my best self!
Even though the idea of putting myself in social situations makes me feel like I'm going to throw up, I push through anyways because I don't want to miss out on new friendships.
The first thing I think in new situations is, "What if no one likes me? What if no one wants me there? What if no one talks to me?"
However, I try my best to counteract these negative thoughts with, "What if these new people are amazing? What if I fit right in? What if I meet my best friend here?"
My desire to be around others is greater than my fear of new situations, so I put myself out there anyways. It's never been easy, but it's always been worth it.