On social anxiety

In everyone’s life, there comes a time to make serious decisions. Decisions like, “Coffee or tea?”, “Should I pretend like I’m on my cell phone so I don’t have to make eye contact with the street canvassers outside the Whole Foods?”, and the worst, often contemplated while staring longingly at the birthday cake in the office lunchroom, “Does my diet start right now or tomorrow?” The obvious answers are of course coffee, yes, and tomorrow … but then I’m reminded of that awful saying about the harder decision being the right decision and the miniature young Jane Fonda on my shoulder is all “PUT. DOWN. The CAKE.”

Ugh. It’s true, I know it’s true. The harder decision is almost always the better one. It will probably take a lot more effort, and it might be a little bit painful, but in the end, it is so much more rewarding. So it’s time for some concept application: social anxiety.

Lately I’ve had a lot of trouble making myself be social, and it’s not due to lack of opportunity. On any given weekend there are parties, concerts, and gatherings that I just let pass me by. They always seem really fun, and I always say that I’m going… until the time comes around and I simply sit at home, pretend I forgot about said event, or feign sickness. This happens for, well, pretty much everything. And it’s never that I don’t want to go, because somewhere deep inside, my conscience knows that I would enjoy myself – I’d meet new people, make them laugh, maybe have some meaningful conversations, possibly even make some friends. No it’s not that I don’t want to go, it’s just that going takes so much more work.

Things that give me anxietyWork:

– Showering

– Applying makeup

– Wearing clothes that are not as comfortable as pajamas

– Picking out said clothes

– Deciding what form of transportation to take

– Deciding what time to arrive

– Putting on (and then taking off and then putting back on and then taking back off) warm layers

– Dealing with static

– Shaking hands and talking with strange people

– Thinking of relevant things to say

– Awkwardly laughing at bad jokes

– Worrying excessively about appearance and presentation of self (Goffman anyone?)

– Plotting an easy escape

– Attempting to execute escape and getting drawn into another conversation

– Trying very hard not to look too often at attractive people in the room

– Re-adjusting clothes that are not as comfortable as pajamas

– Monitoring all food and beverage intake to match that of company

– Doing the whole goodbye thing

I could go on, and in greater detail, but I’ll spare you because I’m sure you’re already feeling uncomfortable. Am I right? (Yes) Social situations can be really damn uncomfortable, and I’m not just talking about the clothing. It is so much easier to stay home, bake some cookies, and watch netflix. But what does that really do for you?  If anything it’ll give you a few extra pounds and make you sad that your life is so un-movie-like. This is why the seemingly easy decision to stay home instead of going out is the wrong one.

Come on. Pull yourself together. It’s Friday night. Just go.



  1. You’re awesome. Thanks for sharing. See you soon, please.

  2. I totally love you and know exactly how you feel! Find a partner in crime and just do it! It is always so much fun once you push yourself to go out there! Who knows who you will meet!
    As far as the cake goes, just eat the cake! I much rather have delicious cake in my mouth than still fit in my skinny jeans ;)

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