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People Are Sharing the ‘Weirdest’ Things They've Done Because of Social Anxiety

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Living with social anxiety is tough in a world that often forces us to be social. At its worst, the fear of interacting with others can affect our lives greatly, convincing us to avoid social interactions all together and making us miss out on opportunities. But in lighter moments, life with social anxiety can also give us funny stories only others who struggle with it would understand.

On Thursday, a Reddit user asked others on the platform, “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done as a result of social anxiety?” People with social anxiety exchanged funny and relatable stories that might sound familiar. And while living with social anxiety isn’t the same thing as being “awkward” or “quirky,” the people affected by it do deserve to laugh at themselves every once in a while. Let us know if you can relate, and tell us your own social anxiety story in the comments below.

Stories You Might Relate to If You’re a Chronic People Pleaser

1. “After work, I decide to get a beer at a bar. I teach night classes on a side of town I’m not used to, so I go into random sports bar and I sit alone. I do not watch most sports. Later… Me (in my mind): it’s getting late. I should go home. Random guy: hey, this Texans game is good! Can’t believe (something footbally happened). Me: (pretending to know football stuff): yeah, these dudes are dope! The Texans are in for some trouble if they mess up! Guy: FINALLY! Someone on my side!! The guy buys me beer. We are now best friends. Turns out we are the only fans of whatever the other team is in this bar. We bond over our outsider status. I have no idea what to say and as the night goes on, he keeps buying beer. I have pretended to like football for too long to come clean now. I end up watching the whole game. Our team lost. I didn’t get home until midnight.” — Chumbolex

2. “I was at the mall, not intending to spend much money at all. I was by myself and I tried to avoid all of those annoying mall salesmen that desperately try to bring you over to their booths…. Well, I looked at one of them and…. Ended up spending over 100 dollars on a nail-kit because I was too anxious to say no.” — nooneislucky

If Avoiding People Is More Your Forte…

3. “Climbed a tree to get away from people at an outdoor party. Stayed there until everyone left and then went home.” — Captain_Frying_Pan

4. “I once hid from my family when they came over for the holidays out of fear of interaction. I hid especially from one of my cousins who was socially aggressive and just made me really anxious. I had nowhere else to hide where there wasn’t people, so I went into my bathroom and hid under the sink (I was about 8) and just planned to stay there as long as possible. My cousin (the aggressive one) came in, took a long and winded shit and then left. I just stayed there and am to this day even more terrified of interacting with him. I saw nothing but I heard…. every… sound.” — killjoytrash

5. “Told my mom I couldn’t go see her because I had plans with my friend. Told my gf I couldn’t hang out because plans with my friend. Cancelled plans with my friend, explaining that I had to help my mom with something. Stayed home and didn’t leave my room at all that day.” — Billionairez

6. “I once hid under a pile of blankets to avoid talking to someone I knew was coming up to my boyfriend’s apartment for a few minutes.” — sadisticspice

7. “Walked into a bar that was packed full of people who had all come home for Christmas to my small town. I knew everybody there. I walked in, walked through the crowd, right past my sister, and out the back door. When my sister and I saw each other, she looked at me, like, oh fuck. You’re freaking out I bet. She knows all about my social anxiety. She knew exactly what I had just done, and she thought it was hilarious.” — TractorGeek

8. “Skipped out on a really good job interview because they wanted me to do a presentation in front of a few people as part of the interview.” — gonefishin999

9. “Driving to a party, sat outside of it in my car the entire time, left. Next day, said I was there.” — rakhira

10. “I’m someone who suffers from severe social anxiety/phobia so a lot of things I consider normal would probably be considered weird to most. Just off the top of my head…..I don’t take my trash outside or check my mail until very late at night or early mornings due to the fear of my neighbors being outside. Same goes for taking my dogs for walks, I have a special route I take that after a lot of trial and error results in the least populated areas. When I go to the store I will wait until an aisle has nobody in it before I get what I need. Overall I simply will go way out of my way to avoid any social interaction even if I could get something done twice as fast by interacting. Such is my life.” — Crazy_Wulf

When You’d Do Anything Not to Inconvenience Others

11. “I once got off the wrong bus stop on purpose because I didn’t want to tell the bus to stop, so I just waited for it to stop itself.” — BurningTimber8921

12. “My roommates and I hosted a party. I wasn’t having a good night, and went into my room to find two people I didn’t know making out on my bed. I said, ‘Please leave when you’re done’ and went in my friend’s room instead to curl up and freak out.” — Stop_Sign

13. “When I was about 11, I stood in a room with my mom and her employees after an office Thanksgiving luncheon. They were chatting away about various things and we were all snacking. I took a bite of turkey and as I went to swallow it, it lodged in my throat. I kept swallowing as hard as I could but it wouldn’t budge and I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t have a drink near me, either. So, I stood there attempting to get it down while giving NO INDICATION that I was literally choking on my food… Because I didn’t want to interrupt the conversation or draw attention to myself. My vision was starting to black on the edges and I was full-on panicking inside when I finally got it swallowed down. I remember breathing heavy through my nose and my eyes watering, thinking how stupid I just was but now I DEFINITELY couldn’t say anything about it. Sometimes it feels like anxiety will kill you, sometimes it almost does.” — Sinnocent

14. “I had to pick something up from someone’s house and was desperate for the loo, didn’t want to ask to use the bathroom in their house so instead picked what I needed up, rudely rushed through small talk, basically ran to my car, drove far enough away they couldn’t see me and then parked again and half pissed myself running into a bush. Wasn’t even the first time I’d been to that house…” — faatiydut

When Words Come Out in the Wrong Order

15. “I had just changed schools when I was 13 and was trying to make new friends. We were all sitting at the lunch table when this girl named Autumn sat down with a salad and the dressing was really weird looking. I loudly told her “Melted, that looks like Autumn cheese.” Everyone looked at me like what the hell did you just say? I tend to spoonerize a lot when I get nervous. I mix up whole words or just several letters in each word. Keeps things interesting and now I’ve done it during work meetings. It’s also hard to form coherent sentences. I also used to cry while giving book reports in front of the class. Gotta love social anxiety.” — Oglefinmuffintree

Accidentally Being Rude When You’re Really Just Anxious

16. “I used to have [debilitating] social anxiety; to the point where even interacting with a cashier would make me nervous. It’s much better now, but I do remember there were many instances where i’ve said some pretty awkward things or showed improper body language. For example, in college, I was sitting in the common office area for my job as a TA at the time. I saw one of my coworkers talking to his friend. For whatever reason, I thought the proper way to get his attention was to rudely interrupt their conversation by screaming across the room and saying to his friend “Hey you! stop talking”. I did the stop sign hand gesture to her. And then I proceeded to ask my coworker a question, all with an awkward cocky smile and everything. They both looked so confused, but my coworker decided to answer my question instead of calling me out for being rude. phew. I even knew at the time, what I did was awkward, but I just didn’t know how to express myself, and even my body language was wrong. Luckily i’ve grown a lot since then and I don’t do weird things like that anymore; i’m mostly functional in social settings.” — ChickenNRiceLover

17. “Ignore people when they try to talk to me and hope they don’t think I’m being rude.” — blubarron45

18. “I was in a supermarket in Portugal and this lady was trying to tell me that the free samples aren’t meant for me to take more than one of. Since I spoke Portuguese I understood her, but I decided to say ‘Sorry I don’t speak Portuguese’ in English… then she said it again but I’m English, so then I started speaking French!!! I started to cry out of panic and left the supermarket. So embarrassing. I didn’t leave the house for a few days after that.” — internetsatan

When Social Anxiety Makes You Do ‘Odd’ Things

19. “I can’t swallow if anyone is sitting remotely near me.” — mutant-in-charge

20. “I was in a grad school interview and I was scheduled to meet with a particular professor for 30 minutes. We ran out of things to talk about after about 20 minutes. I am not good at making eye contact, but confident people make a lot of eye contact, right? So I continued to make eye contact with the professor for about a minute with no words being said, constantly thinking “don’t break eye contact, what should I say?, don’t break eye contact, this is horrible” until I came up with something meaningless to say.” — felis_catus0304

21. “Mouthe words after I say them… It’s really weird.” — XenorVW

22. “I’m at the point where I rehearse my interactions before groceries get delivered to my door.” — Aggyness

Lead photo via ccharisma Tumblr

Originally published: November 20, 2017
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