anxiety · blogging · daily · daily habits · social anxiety · verbal communication · writing

Passing On Messages / Being Asked for Help

I never enjoy passing on messages for other people. Firstly, the immediate response I always have is a casual, “Sure, okay”, even though I’m screaming on the inside, “NOO, I don’t want to do it! NO!” The affirmative words always come out like an instant cue where I am compelled to give a reply right away, but the more rational part of my brain takes two seconds longer to ping me the reply I actually want to give. By then, it’s too damn late to take back the first response I already blurted out. And secondly, I dislike being depended on to deliver a message or do a thing. There’s an importance in the request itself and it freaks me out when people think I can be trusted enough to do xyz for them. Then I have to juggle my fear of “can I actually do it?” and “do I actually want to do it?” in addition to the person counting on me to finish the task.

A very awkward inducing request while I am on the phone with someone is when another person tells me, “Oh, tell ___ I said hi.” Really? Of the past times this has happened to me, I’m left to stiffly speak into the phone and say, “___ says hi”, and suddenly I continue being a pointless message deliverer when the person on the phone line tells me, “Tell ___ I said hi back.” Ugh, why??? I also hate being texted or phoned by a family member to notify someone else about xyz. Like that time my dad called me to ask that I give his reading glasses to my mom. It wasn’t hard to locate his glasses, but it felt like some serious word vomit to tell my mom (while handing her the glasses) that he had called and asked me to get his glasses and give to her so she could hand them to him later at the train station. Maybe that was my anxiety because I felt the need to “overexplain” myself to her when I could have been super chill about the whole thing.

Oh, and my favorite is, “Can you save me a seat?” question. If I could stamp a big NOPE sign on my forehead, I would. As a young child, I was almost always the one picked out of my brother and I to go find a spare table and sit there to “save” the spot while my parents went to order food for us. I had an onset of growing anxiety whenever I was instructed with this task. It was horrible because I was a generally well-behaved child, however, I was not very assertive or verbally strong with explaining my feelings or thoughts. So even to say, “I don’t want to do it because I’m scared of being left all alone at the table” was not in my vocabulary. I’ve witnessed some parents in today’s generation take slower steps with their children to better understand them, which I think was something I very much needed when I was a kid, even though there are likely some people today who sneer at this perceived “molly-coddling” type of parenting. In public, I once saw a young girl child and her mother came into a building. The girl began to swing her arms and make angry noises as she sat down on the carpet and refused to walk, while the mother quickly diffused the situation by calmly stating, “Honey, remember what we spoke about. Use your words so I can understand what you’re feeling. Why are you upset?” Although still pouting, the girl started talking about what was making her angry. I watched this situation with a pair of envious eyes. That type of verbal communication was never present in my childhood.

Sad childhood aside, I still can’t stand being asked to “save a seat” even as an adult. Maybe the pressure is less palatable when someone I know personally asks me to save a seat for him/her. Being asked by a stranger, however, is like being obligated to say yes to be nice and also kind of hoping I don’t have to fulfill the bargain if the person doesn’t come back after a while. The hardest is if someone else does come by to try and take the seat I was “saving” and I do either of two things: A) Say nothing because I’m a chicken, and after the seat is gone, go into stealth mode and sneak out of there like a ninja so I don’t have to deal with the shame of facing the person who no longer has a seat, or B) Awkwardly clear my throat and say, “Um, I need that seat” in the most passive and unassertive manner EVER.

One time I was asked to watch someone’s stuff while the person went to the restroom. It went swimmingly and nothing happened during the person’s absence, though I felt like a cop on duty, scanning the area around me for anyone who would try to approach the unattended belongings. Logically, if someone did try to take the stuff, I don’t know what I could have done. Tackle the person? Splash the assailant with water from my bottle? I would most definitely not be a screamer or someone who hollers, “Help, someone stop him/her!” if sh*t was hitting the fan. And also, imagine if I had said no when the person asked me if I could watch the belongings. Then there was that time someone asked me to take a photo of her and her friend. Ugh, I never know how to act when I have to play the part of the photographer, except take the darn photo. Leadership roles scare me, and I guess I feel this way when taking someone’s photo because it makes it seem like I’m controlling the situation and the people in it.

6 thoughts on “Passing On Messages / Being Asked for Help

  1. Omg I totally act like a cop on duty when someone asks me to watch their stuff, too. I remember on a show called ‘What would you do?’ they did an experiment like this. A woman asked people to watch her laptop, left, then another woman came and spilled coffee on it. THE HORROR. I also remember a funny cartoon where someone was told, “Tell ____ I say hi,” and she evilly thought to herself, “THEY’LL NEVER KNOW YOU SAID HI.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, that show. I remember there was an episode where a woman left her laptop in the hallway of a hotel while someone else was there. Then another came and stole the laptop before running out. And when the woman came back to find her laptop missing, the person who witnessed everything had to decide whether to speak up or not. I remember one guy was more focused on the fact the woman was freaking out on the hotel staff than caring about witnessing a crime lol. It’s weird how people act when they don’t know they are under surveillance.

      Now that you mention the cartoon, I think Natalie Tran had a video on something like that. This is off topic, but I still remember years ago seeing one of her videos that made me laugh so hard I had to subscribe to her.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Omggg it might totally be natalie tran I am thinking of actually xD great stuff. She needs to make more videos! And yeah it is really interesting… The show’s like… an interesting psychological and social experiment

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I ❤ Natalie Tran. And not just because she technically has the same first name as me, though I have an h in my name after the t. XD She was the first Asian YouTuber I ever saw and on some level I was like, yes, finally an asian has her time to shine on YT LOL. But also I loved how funny her skits were/still are.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, I might have felt obligated to do it when I was a kid but now it’s fair game to just ignore the request. Even worse is the “give a hug to ___ for me”. As if I’m seriously going to hug someone in place of the person who requested it. 😑

      Liked by 1 person

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