I recently wrote a post on why I sit in the front of Uber cars, and in it I briefly mentioned that in the past I’ve dealt with social anxiety and awkwardness and I had a comment from someone wanting me to talk about it. Which, true to the theme of this post, makes me feel awkward. But I’m taking the plunge and doing it anyhow because if anything, I want to be completely transparent with you guys. With that said, by “you guys” I am referring to my online friends and if I know you in real life, well this is awkward.
Social Anxiety or Socially Awkward?
Since middle school (how was that really 6 years ago?!) I considered myself to be awkward. I switched back and forth between classifying myself as delightfully awkward and uncomfortably awkward. Senior year I found some confidence and shook off all feelings of awkwardness, but it was quickly shattered and again I felt awkward and am still in that slump on many days.
It wasn’t until this summer when I mentioned my awkwardness to my friend and she assured me I wasn’t awkward.
What? Of course I am! How else do you explain the pounding in my head and knots in my stomach whenever I have extended interaction with anyone I am not 100% comfortable with?
I decided she was just being nice and forgot about it.
Again my awkwardness came up again with my roommate/long time buddy and she too said I wasn’t awkward. I explained the feelings to her and she mentioned that is must be social anxiety more than anything.
And it clicked.
I’m not awkward (or at least as awkward as I once perceived myself,) but rather I feel anxious in social situations and that is something that I am able to control a lot easier.
Reaching that realization was a blessing for me. Now that I know I am the only who feels uncomfortable I have no problems forcing my way through conversation and conversations have gotten easier for me. My biggest fear used to be making other people feel as uneasy as I did, and because I felt awkward I was sure that they felt it too and would prefer not to be in a conversation with me.
I really don’t have a problem talking to people now, in fact I really enjoy it. I have always considered myself an outgoing introvert in that I really love to interact with other people – it just tires me out so the introvert in me retreats and recharges and is ready to go again.
I am not going to lie and say that my social anxiety was crippling or devastating because it wasn’t. It was an inconvenience and something I am glad that I’ve finally figured out and am finally moving past. I am eager to shake it completely as I love meeting people way too much to let it continue holding me back.
What I do.
- Talk to everyone who seems open to conversation!
- Smile at strangers I make eye contact with!
- Go out of my way to talk to strangers (it’s hard!)
- Ignore my anxiety and be weird or awkward or whatever it is I am without letting it get to me.
I diagnosed myself with social anxiety and it was never close to a point where I couldn’t function. If you are having serious problems with social anxiety talk to someone, no matter how hard it is. If you don’t feel comfortable with that shoot me an email and I would be more than happy to give you the world’s biggest pep talk! I’ll be your number one fan because I want you to get to a point where you are comfortable and happy because you’re awesome!