The One Thing You Should Never Call Someone With Social Anxiety
Dear friend whom I go to parties with,
I am actually a very talkative person. Once I get on the topic of something I love, it’s hard to shut me up. Sometimes, you might say, I talk too much.
But I have social anxiety.
When I meet new people or I am put into a situation where I only know one or two people, I am very quiet. I nervously laugh at jokes. I laugh too much. I say silly things that repeat in my head over and over, telling myself, “You definitely just sounded ‘stupid.’”
I fidget with my hands or play with my pop socket on my phone. Sometimes, I’ll even play Solitaire or a random game if I have no service on my phone to still occupy my nervous mind.
My head is filled with worries of how I look. “Did I overdress? Did I underdress? I should have worn the other top. Look at those girls, they are so pretty, I could never dream of looking like them. They are staring at you. Probably talking about how ugly you are and why you are even at this party.”
My friend whom I came with is telling me, “Quit being so quiet (antisocial) and talk. It’s making me uncomfortable.” I put my phone down or snap back into reality after my mind has drifted down a path of “what ifs” and “why did Is”.
I laugh the words off, but it hurts. I get those awkward stares from others in the room after I am called antisocial. Which, in turn, makes me more anxious. I get to the point where I want to leave, even though I have been there all of 15 minutes. In one situation, I even waited until a friend fell asleep so I could slip out and walk home because I was so anxious.
So please. If you see your friend go quiet at a party or social event, don’t call us “antisocial.” Start a small conversation with us. Get us on a topic we feel comfortable with. Deep down, we want to be included in the fun, but it’s hard for us to go into a crowd and let loose so easily.
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Getty Images photo via Marjan_Apostolovic