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25 'Impolite' Things People Do Because of Anxiety

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When you’ve lived with anxiety for a while, you become aware of the unique things you do because of it. Things like overthinking, overplanning and overcompensating are mainstays for many folks struggling with anxiety — but they aren’t the only ways anxiety manifests.

Sometimes anxiety can make us do things that are often described (and misunderstood) as being “impolite.”

Maybe you leave parties without saying goodbye to the people who invited you. Maybe you avoid emails, calls and texts because they feel too overwhelming. Or maybe your anxiety makes you lash out in anger at the people you love most.

If you struggle with an “impolite” manifestation of anxiety, you’re not alone. The only way we can set the record straight about “impolite” things people do because of anxiety is to talk about it. To open up this discussion, we asked our Mighty community to share one “impolite” thing they do because of anxiety.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. “I happily agree to meet, go out, make plans and then at the very last minute, I find some lame excuse to not go. At the same time, I feel relieved and terrible for that.” — Sylvia Z.
  2. “Purposely ignore calls, leave texts on “read” for days and lie to friends about why I don’t want to go out.” — Samantha G.
  3. “One of my most impolite practices is not responding to emails, texts or calls. I’m afraid of the conversation, even when they’ve reached out about something completely innocuous. I’m always waiting for bad news, or for someone to finally tell me they hate me.” — Kristy H.
  4. “Sometimes I space out while someone is talking to me and completely ignore everything they say because I’m trapped in my head.” — Antasia H.
  5. “Interrupting people during conversations. Sometimes it’s simply because I know I won’t remember what I wanted to say two seconds later. I see how much it irritates other people, but I can’t help it.” — Brittany L.
  6. “Sometimes, I get snappy with people, have an abrupt or harsh tone or blow up over something that seems small. I know it makes me seem rude, but I really don’t mean to do it. My anxiety just makes me be so on edge that, sometimes, the slightest thing can push me over.” — Ember B.
  7. “I am on my phone a lot in group settings. I know it’s not polite. I even dislike when other people do this. But if I’m having a bad anxiety day, it’s an easy way to keep my mind busy and keep it from escalating into an attack.” — Sharon E.
  8. “I have an uncontrollable small laugh when in serious, uncomfortable situations and conversations. Being told you don’t really understand the scope of a situation because you’ve let out a laugh is devastating. And people don’t tend to believe it’s not voluntary.” — Angela L.
  9. “[I] bite my nails like it’s my only source of food.” — Annie L.
  10. “Oscillating between not having anything to say in a conversation and feeling the need to say so much that I try to finish others sentences is definitely one of my bigger issues. Picking at my fingers while at the table is another one.” — Stephanie Q.
  11. “I get into emergency mode where I push people and things out of the way in search of a sink or toilet. The issue is when I get bad anxiety, I tend to cough violently and loudly until I throw up, spit up or cough out whatever is in my stomach or chest. Not trying to be rude, but it does happen that way.” — Erik M.
  12. “I don’t acknowledge people whenever I see them, usually because I’m always lost in my own mind, I’m really stressed out or I just don’t feel like being social. I have so many problems in my social and work life from this. It makes my anxiety worse.” — Madison B.
  13. “I get very sarcastic and defensive when anxious… I really just want to be left alone and it’s my feeble attempt of pushing people away.” — Jaci J.
  14. “I will just up and leave places with no warning. Parties, family events and even grocery stores. It’s really difficult to try to explain to people who do not have anxiety.” — Shawn E.
  15. “I do tend to reply in a bitchy way, I struggle not to. I have a lot of bitchy comebacks because I get scared and I feel attached, so I have to protect myself even if not necessary.” — Tina H.
  16. “I refuse gifts. Receiving gifts is the most terrifying thing to me. I only accept them willingly from my parents my husband and my best friend. Everyone else just sends a card. So much less anxiety.” — Mimi M.
  17. “I dissociate and get distant but if forced to be social during that time, I get awkwardly talkative and interrupt people or get frustrated and snappy/sassy.” — Angela O.
  18. “Stare at people a lot. I don’t mean to. And I zone out while they’re talking to me. I know it’s weird and annoys people but when I get that bad off, I need to be away from noises.” — Carolynn H.
  19. “I struggle with laughing at inappropriate times because of my anxiety. I always feel so bad because I don’t really think it’s funny, it’s just a reaction that happens.” — Allison S.
  20. “I constantly wear my headphones and am playing music and tune people out a lot. People may see it as rude, but for me it’s absolutely necessary.” — Samantha G.
  21. “I tend to fidget a lot during conversations. I feel like it makes people think I am bored or uninterested in what they are saying.” — Victoria M.
  22. “Sometimes I just do not want to be touched and I will just go way around people or just say, ‘don’t touch me,’ rather rudely.” — Mary R.
  23. “I pretend I don’t notice people in public in order to avoid awkward conversation, or to let them approach me first so as not to be rejected.” — Gail B.
  24. “I say things innocently that get taken the wrong way because I panic and am unable to see how there is a chance what I say can be misconstrued.” — Jess H.
  25. “I come off as very standoffish and as if I don’t like you and/ or don’t want to be around you or the situation. In reality I’m so anxious and worried about what people think of me that I can’t actively engage in conversation or even begin to try to have fun.” — Melissa A.

Can you relate?

Getty Images photo via SIphotography

Originally published: March 6, 2018
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