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By Holly Riordan
When you are too anxious to socialize, you sit around waiting for a text message to come through your screen because you are too nervous to send the first text yourself. When no one reaches out to you, you feel isolated. Alone. Abandoned. While staring at a blank screen, the little voice in the back of your head mocks you. It convinces you no one likes you, no one cares, no one notices when you are not around. The longer you spend on the own, the more you convince yourself you are always going to be alone.
Of course, if someone does happen to text you, you are going to be smacked with stress. You are going to waste time trying to come up with the perfect reply, trying to find the right emoji, trying to figure out how to strike a balance between being friendly and clingy. Since you only have a scattering of social interactions throughout the week, each one seems like a big deal. If one goes wrong, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it. You won’t be able to handle the embarrassment.
When you are too anxious to socialize, the idea of being invited to a party is as horrifying as the idea of being the only one not invited. You are never satisfied. You are either alone in your bedroom, wishing you were out with friends. Or you are surrounded by people, wishing you could crawl back underneath your covers.
You are a living contradiction. You cannot stand the boredom of being alone — but you cannot stand the stress of being around other people either. You do not want to spend the weekend all by yourself — but you do not want to spend it at a crowded bar or a noisy party either.
When you are too anxious to socialize, you become your own best friend. You spend most of your time finding new ways to keep yourself occupied. You distract yourself with books and movies. You try to ignore your growing loneliness. You tell yourself you are better off on your own as a way to protect yourself, as a way to stop feeling so miserable about having no one to invite over on weekends or text after work hours.
When you’re too anxious to socialize, it’s easy to start thinking less of yourself. It’s easy to start wondering whether you are worthy of love or friendship. It’s easy to allow your insecurities to get the best of you. However, you have to remember no one is judging you as harshly as you have been judging yourself. No one is going to examine the words you type in a text or the facial expressions you make in a conversation as deeply as you have been. No one is going to care about your ‘mistakes’ as much as you think. Most people will not even notice them.
When you’re too anxious to socialize, you need to break out of your comfort zone in order to achieve happiness — otherwise you are going to stay stuck in your routine forever, wishing you had the courage to make a change.