On the topic of seeing friends or acquaintances after a period of not seeing them for about a month, I feel nervous and a little scared.
My insecurities are getting to me again. The last time I agreed to hang out with Annelise, it was during one of my days off when I was still working at the medical billing job in November. I remember the stress and anxiety I felt about the job was so present even on my day off that this intensified the small bit of anxiety I had about meeting up with Annelise. Then I told her I was feeling nervous about seeing her and that was unsure if I could come. She ended up reassuring her me that we didn’t have to meet if it was too much for me. Yet, I feel like I let her down.
Some days ago she invited me to hang out at meditation meet up within the social anxiety group, and then to stay for a hike in Central Park. This is all happening tomorrow. I agreed to come, though I did admit I was nervous about coming since I haven’t been to any group meetups in a while. Her response was to write back saying she couldn’t help me because she has problems of her own. My initial reaction was to feel hurt, almost like she was not really listening to me and was basically telling me to tough it out or don’t come at all. Now I wonder if I misunderstood her words since this conversation was through messaging and not face-to-face. After this, she told me to see if I could try to come to meditation, but if I didn’t, she wouldn’t blame me.
Having friends is one thing, but maintaining contact with them is another thing. It’s nerve wrecking when someone invites me to hang out. In fact, I had a friend ask me last Friday, to which I made up an excuse about “possibly” having plans on that day. He asked me again some days ago if I felt like hanging out, and I said I’d think about it. I couldn’t stop worrying about what he and I would do as an activity if we met up. Last time, we went to see a movie. But all the other times we’ve hung out, we have just walked around. And many of those times, I’ve been acutely aware (maybe to the point of exaggerating in my head) about how quiet I can be. That was my main motivation for being evasive over his question.
I dread having to play “catch me up” when I haven’t seen someone for a while and having to answer the question, “What have you been up to lately?” In the past, I’ve lied or just said, “Oh nothing much” in a faux-nonchalant way because I always think whatever I’ve been up to will sound very boring to the person I’m talking to.
I hope I don’t come across as whining about my same ol’ issues that I’ve discussed in previous blog posts. What I do know now is my mind is constantly working against me from the moment I wake up and all the way up to the moment just before I show up for an appointment, hang out or meetup event, in that it keeps giving me reasons not to go and I have to be strong enough to fight back each and every time. Sometimes, I lose by giving into my inner self-critic.
In your own experience, what has it been like for you to see friends or acquaintances after a period of not seeing them? What social challenges did you face during or after the meetup?