Social Anxiety isn’t Cool: Struggles of a Socially Awkward Twenty-Something

I don’t know when it became “cool” and “hip” to call oneself “socially awkward” and claiming pseudo “anxiety,” but it is neither cool nor hip! While I am thrilled and grateful that anxiety is something we can openly speak about, I cannot stress enough that being socially awkward/anxious isn’t fun. From personal experience as an anxiety sufferer (yes, SUFFER), I can tell you that I wouldn’t wish this on myself. I was born with it and cannot control it on my own. However, for your entertainment and educational purposes, here are the struggles of being socially awkward…

1. Going to the bar, EVER.

Going out anywhere is a struggle worthy of it’s own post. First, there’s the deciding if you even want to go. Okay, you never really want to go; you have to decide if the outing is worth the trouble or not. And then there’s the being at the bar/club. Here are some thoughts that run through my mind every time:

  • Oh my god, what if I get separated from the group? What if they leave without me? What will happen?!
  • That guy is going to put something in my drink. Actually, most of these guys probably would given the chance. Better keep my hand over the opening.
  • Oh god, that guy keeps looking at me. He probably wants to talk to me. Maybe I should go over there? BUT THEN I MIGHT GET DETACHED FROM THE GROUP.
  • It’s late. I already missed an entire House Hunters marathon. My parents are waiting up for me. Time to go home.

hobbit

2. First Dates.

Oh Lord, the first dates. What do you talk about? What’s not a good topic? What do I wear? All of these thoughts and more occur on first dates of the socially awkward. Uncomfortably looking at the check and wondering if you should offer to pay. A truly socially awkward person would probably say something about this and make the situation exponentially more awkward. And you might as well throw in the towel when you get two socially awkward people on a first date together. It just becomes a night of half hugs, bob-and-weave cheek kisses, and more “ums” than should be said. Oh yeah, and I’ve probably already facebook stalked you, so I know everything you’re telling me.

josh

3. Small talk with servers/cashiers.

I am personally the worst small talker in the history of the universe. I don’t understand how this concept works, to be honest. What does one small talk about? How does that WORK?! How do you do it without sweaty palms and shaky hands? I have to say that working in food service for nearly ten years has helped, but I’m still terrible on the end of it. “Oh I’m doing well today…” *dead silence*

conversation

4. FINDING A PARTNER IN CLASS.

This was the worst! It was always like “Oh hey, I have no actual friends here. I know some people, but I don’t want to be creepy. How do people do this?!” I always ended up either working on my own or being forced into a threesome with two people who clearly didn’t want me there. This same goes true for team-building events in the adulting world.

partner

5. Running into someone – and you’re so not prepared.

Even at work or when I lived on campus, I loathed running into people I knew. It’s like, you can’t just say “hi” and move on. Nooooooo. They have start asking questions while you’re walking in opposite directions. Do I stop walking and be late? Or do I keep walking and let them keep talking as I keep walking? Equally awkward: when you see someone first, and you try to dodge them before they get too close.

awakrd convo

6. YOU ALWAYS FEEL LIKE YOU’RE BOTHERING EVERYONE.

This is so true. I always feel like I’m bugging people. And I overanalyze everything I’ve said to see if it’s actually annoying. I’m like, “oh, sorry to bother you….” Or ending every single message with “I’m sorry if this seems like I’m nagging.” Being soically awkward means constantly feeling like you’re a thorn in the side of every human being in the world.

akward

7. Comforting sad people.

I just can’t. I have no words for this. I turn into Sheldon Cooper and I’m just like “there, there.” I’ll hug you, but I’ll get weird about it after about 20 seconds. And I’ll never ever know what to say.

comfort

Samantha Glassford

A born-and-raised Jersey girl with a chronic case of wanderlust, Samantha spends her days reading, writing, and planning adventures. She currently teaches classes at the community college while living at home with her parents, trying and failing to become a part of the proverbial real world. Her dream is for someone to pay her for writing and traveling, but in reality she'll probably be teaching forever. Follow her mundane musings on Twitter @SamanthaG2012, and check out her personal blog, wanderlustingmillenial.blog.com

1 Comment
  1. Thank you so much for sharing this – I feel like it described me to a T! I totally agree that I’m glad anxiety is becoming less of a taboo topic and can be discussed more openly. However I feel like people who don’t truly suffer from it can’t really understand my mindset and it makes it still rather difficult to talk about. But I love hearing that I’m not alone in how I feel in social settings!

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