Yes, I Have Social Anxiety — Here's How You Date Me
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Yes, I Have Social Anxiety — Here's How You Date Me

And we promise we'll try to change.

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Yes, I Have Social Anxiety — Here's How You Date Me
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Let’s all admit it: all of us get anxious when we talk to new people. However, for some of people, that feeling never really goes away, no matter how many times you’ve met that person or how long you’ve known them.

If this is you, you probably have some form of social anxiety. It’s a debilitating, cruel condition that robs you of so many joys in front of you. At times you feel lonely, even around people. You yearn for someone — anyone — to talk to you, about literally anything. And almost as often, you beg and plead for someone — everyone — to leave you alone. To let you wallow in your bed because you’re done with people. Because — and a lot of times you don’t want to admit it — you love being alone.

And then there are times where love and passion find you. Yes, even at your loneliest, happiest or busiest, love works in mysterious ways. And so here you are, finally willing and able to share your life with someone new. The doubt, the boredom, the uncertainty of life just seem to melt away.

That is, until they don’t.

You see, social anxiety doesn’t stop for anyone who has it. Not for a friend, not for a parent, not for a boss and especially not for a significant other.

So what if you’re on the other end? What if you’re that significant other dealing with your socially anxious boyfriend or girlfriend? Well, first off, I’d like to give you a huge congratulations. Individuals with social anxiety don’t open up very often, so good on you for finally getting that nut to crack.

The thing is, too often we take our significant others for granted. That they’ll always be the same person, day in and day out. The gut-wrenching feeling is that isn’t true for people with social anxiety. Anxiety strikes in so many ways, and it can all bubble up at the drop of a hat.

So what’s a person to do? What if you’re dating someone with social anxiety?

Please realize we didn’t choose to be like this.

Now I know that sounds like an excuse, but it’s true in our reality. Just like people don’t choose to get tired at the gym or be full at a buffet, anxiety is something bestowed (befallen?) for many of us at a very young age. Now that isn’t to say that it can’t be beaten: just like getting too tired too early at the gym, social anxiety can be overcome. And believe us, we’re trying harder than you can imagine to beat it. But it’s not going to happen overnight. So take solace in the fact that nothing you can say or do can affect your significant other’s condition. It’s not you, it’s the brain.

Yet, that isn’t an excuse for inaction. For us or for you. We work hard every single day, nitpicking our actions and googling our condition to make us feel better. Like many people, individuals with social anxiety yearn to be understood and accepted. It’s why they’re so careful when they speak and so careful to watch what they do. So the best thing you can do is understand them. Pick up a book. Google “social anxiety.” Understand. That’s all we really want in life, social anxiety or not. If you’re going to give us our all, you at least owe us that much.

Every silly scenario in our head, at that moment, is real.

As real as your feet touching the ground when you sit. As real as the keystrokes you take when typing something into your browser. The things in our head aren't things that might happen — to us they've already happened. And the funniest thing? We’re not oblivious to our thinking. We know it’s irrational, yet we still do it. Kind of like how moths go to the light even though somewhere deep down they might know what’s going to befall them. So the best thing you can do is assure them that their fears are understood, but irrational. Because we don’t overthink, rather we’re addicted to overthinking.

We need our alone time.

Need it like babies need milk. So don’t be surprised if we don’t open up to your besties right away. We’re either secretly searching for a way out of the room or trying, desperately trying to add to the conversation. A little push helps immensely — like a “hey, you watch that show too don't you?! What do you think?” — but please know that sometimes offering to leave helps even more. We promise it’s not your friends.

We’re constantly comparing ourselves to you.

Constantly. I’ve had the privilege to be dating someone who’s the complete polar opposite of me in terms of social skills. Gigantic personality, assertive, loud, strong-willed, knows how to get her way, knows how to respectfully run her mouth and doesn’t care about what other people think. Now, at first, that seemed like a blessing. How great it is to be loved by someone whose traits you idolize.

Yet, month after month, it devolves into a comparison game. Why can’t I be like them? The brain asks. .

We know these thoughts are irrational too. Yet we still think them. Call it habit. But we don’t need you to tell you how not to do things. We just need you to listen. As scary as it sounds, both for you and for us, we’ll be able to figure it out ourselves. That’s what our therapists and meditation apps are for. And the great thing is we can trust you to be there when we do.

Every victory is like the Super Bowl times the Olympics.

Every time we go out and interact with people, we feel like we’re trying to tackle all 22 men from both the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons while out-swimming Michael Phelps in a full suit of armor. We love celebrating ourselves, even if it is just picking up the phone instead of sending a text, or ordering food at McDonald’s.

This might very well be the hardest relationship you’ve ever been in. And we're sorry for it.

Realize that every single day we’re making a conscious choice to stay by your side, despite the self-doubt, the nagging insecurities and the uncontrollable self-deprecation, hoping, wishing, praying that you’ll feel the same way we do about you.

And the great thing is that you do.

We appreciate you every single day for it. We wish sometimes you didn’t have it this hard. But we know that you wouldn’t have it any other way.

And we love you for it.

All we ask is that same love and understanding in return. And we promise, promise, promise we'll work on ourselves.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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