I’ve said for the last few weeks I would write more about my social anxiety but I haven’t. I’ve attempted to start a post several times but haven’t really known where I wanted to go with it..ect. It isn’t a big secret that I have social anxiety. I always have a hard time discussing it online because it’s easy for me to type words across a screen. No matter how poor my grammar and spelling is I can still get my thoughts across a computer screen and that could be why there are so many creeps, or hard talkers online... If we have ever had a conversation in real life then you know my blogging is generally the same as how I talk…very scatter brained and a mile a minute. I don’t deny that.
My social anxiety has never manifested itself on the internet. Let us be honest, you can be anyone you want on the internet. Hell, I could be a 50 year old balding man and you would never know. You often times believe you are getting a snapshot into someones lives but then again do you really know that/ Why I love blogging so much is that it is as fast or slow paced as you want. If I want to “read” and interact with 100 bloggers in five minutes…I can. If I want to slowly take my time and read 1 blog per hour…I can. There isn’t any time crunch or pressure to “read all the blogs” and “do all the things”. So yes, one could argue that internet wise I have absolutely no anxiety. To be clear, I’m not saying the internet is my comfort zone I’m saying that you can never truly get a 100% accurate sense of anyone through just the internet.
As far as real life my social anxiety comes about in two different patterns and it isn’t the typical afraid to meet new people pattern that most people associate it with. Meeting new people and talking in front of people have never given me issues.
First, I hate crowded places. Things like concerts, extremely crowded restaurants and amusements I avoid like the plague. Let’s talk about the Nike Women’s half marathon with 15,000 people in a brand new environment. If you ask anyone I talked to for the month prior I nearly did not do this race because I was so fearful of 15,000 people in an environment that I had never been too. Three days before I was supposed to leave dad told me he would come and watch. If he hadn’t said that I don’t know if I would have done it. I am glad I broke my comfort zone and did though and I hope to say the same thing with the New York City Marathon but I know I’ll have an arsenal of support with me. I have been dying to go to the Ke$ha concert in a few weeks which will also be a huge barrier to break for me.
It isn’t just crowded road races though…anywhere crowded makes me claustrophobic. I’m lucky that because I eat at different times of the day I avoid a lot of extremely crowded restaurants. Although I will admit the crowdedness of a restaurant has never been that bothersome to me as long as the seating is spread out and it isn’t overly noisy.
The second aspect that I deal with is the fear of judgment on certain things. Not blogging, not running, not how nappy my hair is…but things like work and school. I wrote a long time ago when I first moved to Oswego, I had to call my boss at the time about my housing situation. I was living on the outskirts of campus and they were supposed to have my name on a list…they didn’t…I had to call my boss who could help me. It took me at least 10 minutes and working through a panic attack, half in tears to call. (she had no idea) but then after I did, she came helped solved the problem and that was that. I can’t explain to you exactly what triggers them but I have found once I get into that state or funk I need to take a step back and just relax and remove myself from the situation for a few moments.
Finally, the last part that I have grown into and is probably obvious with some of my blog posts too…if I don’t have anything to say…I don’t. Sometimes in “real life”, if there is a long awkward silence then that is fine with me…I don’t care. I’m probably lost in my own thoughts and don’t ever force conversation. I don’t mean to be standoffish or just ignore people (I don’t do that either). Here is the best example I can use about someone saying “how was your day?”
I’ll typically respond something like “good, just worked but nothing too exciting” versus something like
“it was good, worked and checked emails in the morning, went to lunch at Panera and then afternoon had meetings at 1 and 2 and then did some more email work at 3”…
In my mind I think oh that is all they really want to know…a general basis. If I ramble more similar to the second line they are secretly thinking I need to shut up.
Social anxiety is something that peaked junior and senior year of college but I have since been making great strides with. Though it is easier to talk about when typing a post, it is still something I struggle with. It isn’t that I want to come off as standoffish and I try my best to make more conversation.
Question for you: Do you find it easier to type/write something in words versus expressing them face to face?