2017-09-08 On Social Anxiety and Meeting People

It has been a while since I woke up before 6AM, which feels like a really good thing. I feel like I am in a much better place than I was a month ago or two months ago and certainly a world away from where I was at in January. I’ve been fighting my way to a healthier, happier life all year and it’s been an uphill climb, but I really am getting there.

I really don’t think I could have gotten this far without quitting my job. I’m not looking for some continued justification, but it is nice to have some validation that I made the right decision. I also think it has helped these last few months having no contact with Matt. The “once in a while” communication and continued analysis over our failed relationship was unhealthy for me. My friend Rebecca called it, and she was right.

Aside from those two factors, I believe that deciding to try and date again has been a bit of a rollercoaster and have questioned that decision multiple times. I’ve also contemplated exactly how a person should try to meet new people, especially an introvert like me that does not get out much.

People say that you should just do the things you love to do and whatever is supposed to happen, whoever you are supposed to meet, will come naturally. Have those people ever suffered from social anxiety? Do they know how hard it is to put yourself together enough to go to an event and participate all alone? It’s not easy.

So far this year I’ve gone to about half a dozen events put on by the Nebraska Writers Collective, including poetry feedback readings, storytelling slams, and fund raisers. I’ve also gone to Barcamp and a few other random events, such as the “Great Minds” series and a “Reverse Pitch” kickoff. Each time it is sort of the same thing.

The day of the event I’m nervous all day. I go through the motions to decide what to wear and walk myself mentally through getting there and parking and finding a place to sit. I have to psych myself up for it and give myself multiple pep-talks about how it’s going to be fine and that nothing bad will happen. Sometimes the anxiety is worse than others. The more unfamiliar the situation, the worse it is I think.

When I go to whatever it is, I’m generally OK, as soon as I settle into a seat. My heart always races at the thought of having a conversation with a stranger so as soon as I am seated, the chance that someone will approach me is less likely. I probably put out some signal with my non verbal communication that goes like this.. “Don’t come near me, I’m not wanting a chat”. Which is probably why I never meet anyone, and am unlikely to meet anyone at some meet up like that.

When it’s over, I make a beeline for the door and my car as that is where I will find relief from the anxiety knowing that it is behind me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a total social failure. I can navigate talking to people and having conversations just fine, but the way it makes me feel is not super awesome and I usually come away from it second guessing something I said or kicking myself for being awkward.

Despite all of that, I do keep trying anyway. I’m totally comfortable at the gym, but I’ve been going there for over 10 years and nobody has ever approached me so I’m not holding my breath for anything to happen there. In my head, the dating app was my best bet for finding someone new. I tried it for a few months and that was enough to convince me it was NOT my best bet, but have had people say I was maybe on the wrong one (I did the Bumble thing).

However, just about the same point that I was “giving up” on the Bumble, I did meet someone who sparked my interest and seemed different than the other people I had met. I’ve perhaps written about a few of our meet ups and some of the interactions thus far, but at this point, I am starting to have a little more trust that this could be really good. I’m so guarded and cautious because of my recent experiences and I also have a bit of a wall up around my heart because of my delicate emotions.

Even so, I am optimistic about where it is going. And I am sure that has also been a factor in my outlook and mood lately. I don’t want to hang my hat on the fact that another person is what is responsible for my happiness, but I can’t deny that it does play into it. I’m certainly capable of being happy and healthy without having a partner, but it does seem easier when you have someone to communicate with and some things to look forward to.

I also enjoy sharing things with someone else and talking about things with someone else, and though I have a fair number of acquaintances, people have their own lives and don’t have time to really dig in and spend hours and hours on that kind of stuff like a partner would. So far, I’ve really enjoyed all of the conversations with my new friend and am looking forward to the next time we get to see each other. That will probably be sometime this weekend. I’m making pico de gallo with this weeks tomato harvest and have promised to bring some over to his place. It’s a win/win. 😃

Anyway, it’s now almost 7 and I’m getting up to get the kids moving for the school day. It’s Friday so yay for the last day of the “workweek”. It means more to them than me at this point.

Cheers To The Start of the Weekend,
~Miss SugarCookie

One response to “2017-09-08 On Social Anxiety and Meeting People”

  1. I have no experience with dating, but it’s great you are trying and getting a little more comfortable with the person you met on Bumble.

    Going to events alone is not a bad thing. Good on you for attending gatherings that interest you. I often go to stuff alone as well. I think I go with the expectation I won’t talk to anyone there but I try to set a limit for myself to just go and have a good time. Yeah, me too with the “please don’t talk to me” radar, lol. I wonder if people can tell from my body language that I am afraid of someone approaching me and trying to talk to me. I both want that kind of social interaction but also don’t, out of fear anything and everything I say will sound stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

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