anxiety · friendship · life · social anxiety

See You Again

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?

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4 thoughts on “See You Again

  1. I can relate to the anxiety of meeting up with people so much. I think the fact that you’re able to do it at least a few times is a good thing. In my case, I went full on hermit. Of course it isn’t as cut and dry as that but at this point I don’t think I have a friend I could just call and go out with. Sometimes it bothers me, but at times it doesn’t. Bizarrely enough working a retail job is really helping with my social anxiety. Whether it’s the fact that the work is so draining that I don’t have energy to be anxious or the fact that I see so many people that I won’t remembe. Right now, I only feel like a little bit of a weirdo and now I find myself initiating conversations. Of course, mentally, it is hard to get out of the over thinking process but I feel so much better about myself. In terms of friends, I think your friend probably just meant what she said, her own problems are at the forefront and she can’t be the help that you need right now. Us social anxieters (not a word but whatevs) have a way of convincing ourselves that people mean all kinds of things, but I think sometimes the simple version is the most accurate.

    I hope that this comment isn’t too me me me and incoherent 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve met some people within the social anxiety meetup that I consider nice, and I even text some of them at times, but I don’t think I can say I’d be comfortable asking them if they want to hang out. Even the few people I feel would be interested in hanging out with me, I worry about being a disappointment to them because I can be somewhat flaky due to my anxiety. Like canceling because I feel as if I can’t push myself to go through with it even though I feel so anxious.

      I have longed for a retail job for some time now. I hoped to get one as a way to force myself to interact with people. I thought it would help since everything would be going by so fast that I wouldn’t have time to mull over my anxiety. It seems to be working for you in your situation. Unfortunately, I have no job experience to speak of lol. The closest I got was my last interview at Macy’s for a seasonal housekeeping position, which I think went badly because the interviewer asked me a bunch of sales related questions that had nothing to do with the job description.

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      1. I get that completely, but I figure that anyone that doesn’t at least try to understand isn’t worth hanging out with anyway. If texting is what you’re comfortable with, then that’s fine, especially in this day age. My closest friends are people that I’ve never met, mostly because there’s no awkward social interaction, lol.

        You should definitely try, maybe after the Christmas rush when places start hiring again in January. My position is only temporary but I am kind of glad I went for it. I applied on a whim and had one day’s notice for the interview, so I just looked up answers online. My interview was terrible but this place doesn’t have particularly high standards (which kind of helps, LOL). When I first started, I was miserable because I didn’t know anyone and I was in my section by myself but slowly, I got used to asking for help and dealing with customers. The only issue is that some customers are rude and also I work in a huge shopping mall and the amount of people in it is horrific (it’s three long floors of crowd, ugh). So sometimes when it’s busy it does make me really anxious, but usually there’s always something to do so I try to focus on that.

        It’s worth a shot if you can find something. Perhaps try places that don’t really require experience or have a high turnover of staff.

        Although, I’m kind of nervous about what will happen when my contract ends because I don’t want to regress back to how I was before, but the social experience has been good. The job itself…well…I suppose money is money 😛

        Re: your interview, I have no idea why places do that. What are you supposed to know about sales without having worked there before? Sigh. Anyway, I’m gonna stop rambling now (I blame the Coke I wisely drank at 11am, lol).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve lost contact with a lot of my friends due to my social anxiety and the same issues you described. Especially that damned “What have you been up to?” question. I used to come up with tales to tell people which I felt were socially acceptable, as opposed to the truth which was “not much, just watching tv and playing on the computer”. But that got real tiresome trying to keep track of all the different ‘masks’ I put on to avoid my embarrassment.

    These days I’m much better, and now I try to make connections with people but I completely relate to what you are saying about how much effort it is to maintain that relationship. In a lot of ways I feel I just never learned how to socialise properly which could be why its so damned difficult!

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