The Mighty Logo

When Your Anxiety Makes You Seem Like You Don't Care

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

When you’re living with anxiety, sometimes the social cues you give off are misread, and not in a good way. You may come off as uncaring, aloof or like you have a major attitude problem. But those things couldn’t be further from the truth. You feel like yelling at the top of your lungs, “I am a very nice person and I care about what you’re saying!” to someone who has perhaps taken you the wrong way. But instead, you skulk away in a cloud of self-defeat, wondering if that person will ever give you another chance.

Actually, it’s when we care the most that we may seem the most apathetic about something. That is the paradox of an anxious mind. We don’t want to seem too eager or overzealous, so we try to tone down the nervousness, sometimes to our own detriment. I have heard many times, “I thought you weren’t interested,” when in fact I was so interested I pinned a lot of my life’s happiness on the prospect that had been presented to me, only to come off like I did not care one iota.

To be candid, an anxious person is usually thinking so many things at once that sometimes it is hard to bottle it all up into a clear, concise conversation. An anxious person may come off like they don’t know what they are talking about, when really they are an infallible expert on the topic. It is just another misinterpretation of someone who is trying vigorously to collect their thoughts only to present them in a jumbled, hard-to-understand manner.

If you should come across a person with these characteristics, be patient, have an open mind, and listen to what they have to say. People with anxiety are often the most caring, compassionate people, and great friends and listeners. They are hard workers and amazing employees, oftentimes because they are overthinking so much about their work they become consummate perfectionists. Given the chance (and the benefit of the doubt when they come off like they couldn’t care less) they will exceed any expectations you have of them.

Originally published on the author’s blog.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via pecaphoto77

Originally published: August 15, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home