19 Things You’ve Probably Done if You Have Social Anxiety
All the things I’ve done because of social anxiety…
One day last week, I was out for a run, when I happened to arrive at a road I needed to cross, just as a car started to drive down it. As I slowed down, I noticed the driver hesitate, as if they were wondering whether or not they should stop for me, so, to save them the trouble, I did something I’m sure my fellow awkward people will understand:
Instead of crossing the road, as I’d intended, I calmly turned left, and pretended that was the way I’d been intending to go all along, even though, no, it totally wasn’t. My intention here was to just run along until the car was out of sight (Which, to be fair, should only have taken a few seconds, given the road layout…), then cross the road at that point.
But the car stopped anyway: presumably for some other reason than letting my stupid self past.
So, instead of just going a few metres out of my way in my bid to not inconvenience this random driver, who I knew I would never see again, I ended up having to fully commit to this new path I found myself on, and now I live in a different village, under a new name and identity, the end.
I have NO idea why I did this. Like, none. I mean, it’s not like I’d have been committing some hideous faux pas if I’d allowed the car to stop for me, is it? Hell, it’s not even like either of us would’ve remembered it two minutes later. Even so, I went ahead and somehow managed to make a totally normal situation awkward: because that’s what I do, basically. It’s kind of like my superpower, except it’s not really a “power,” exactly, and there’s absolutely nothing “super” about it either, so… yeah. Like I say, I have no idea. What I DO know, however, is that I do things like this a LOT. And, if you have social anxiety – or are just plain awkward – I bet you do, too.
Here are some other things social anxiety has made me do: tell me if you relate to any of them…
Assumed that everyone you know secretly hates you, even in the absence of any evidence of this.
Lain awake at night cringing over something you did twenty years ago, that you will literally never get over the embarrassment of.
Felt like the odd one out in every social group you’ve ever been part of.
Pretended to recognise someone when you’ve absolutely no idea who they are. (I seriously almost invited the pizza delivery guy into our house one time, because we were having a party, and I assumed he must be someone I knew, but didn’t recognise. The poor guy was so bemused…)
Been forced to continue the charade even once you realise that the reason you didn’t recognise them is because you’ve never actually met them before. So now you have a new best friend, and neither one of you knows the first thing about the other. Excellent.
Taken the stairs because there was already someone in the lift when the doors opened and you didn’t want to have to make awkward conversation / equally-awkward silence with them for the two whole minutes the ride would’ve taken.
Sat in a club or bar on your own, while all of your friends pair off with handsome strangers, never to be seen again.
Pretended that you actually prefer sitting on your own, anyway.
Avoided going into a shop you want to buy something from because you go there so often that the shop assistant has started to recognise you and want to chat, and it’s just so awkward.
Bought something you didn’t need because the sales assistant was lovely, and you just couldn’t bring yourself to say no.
Had to go through social media and un-tag yourself on every single photo posted after a night out, because while everyone else looks effortlessly normal, you never fail to look like an extra from The Walking Dead.
Pretended to be doing something super-important on your phone, just so no one tries to engage you in conversation.
Asked someone to repeat themselves twice, because you couldn’t hear them properly, then, the third time it happened, just pretended to know what they said. Then spent the next few minutes in an agony of suspense, hoping you’ve given the appropriate response, and not just laughed at the news that their goldfish just died or something.
Thought you recognised someone from a distance and started waving enthusiastically, only to realise it’s actually a complete stranger, so now you have to pretend to be waving at someone BEHIND them, who is ALSO a complete stranger.
Refused to answer your ringing phone, then spent 20 minutes Googling the number that called you in a bid to find out who they were, and what they might have wanted.
Spent the day driving to four different post offices (Three of which are nowhere near your house), just because you have a ton of parcels to post, and you don’t want to be That Person standing at the post office queue for 30 minutes while a huge line develops behind you.
Waited until the street was empty before leaving the house, to minimise the chances of having to interact with anyone.
Avoided going into that shop you want to buy something from, because you know the sales assistant is going to pounce the second you walk through the door, and, honestly, you just want to grab the thing I need to buy and leave, with the absolute minimum of fuss. (YES, LUSH, I’M LOOKING AT YOU, HERE…)
Bought something you didn’t need just because the sales assistant was SO NICE.
These are the kind of things I do: and, if you’re a fellow Awkward Sort, they’re probably the kind of things you do, too. It’s important to note here, however, that you don’t have to fulfil ALL of the absolve criteria in order to qualify as awkward, and that many of the traits of Awkward Girls are ones shared with introverts and social anxiety sufferers, neither of which groups are necessarily awkward. Are you following this? Because it’ll be awkward if you’re not, won’t it
OK, your turn: what kind of things have YOU done, purely because you’re socially awkward?