I have social anxiety, I much rather stay at home than to be in a social situation full of people. This which confuses many people I know because they see that I engage with people a lot. Of course, I talk to other people, it’s just small talk. It never blossomed to anything more than that. The occasional ‘hi, how are you?’ type of thing. After all, it would be very awkward not talk to people if I was forced into a room of people. Even when I do engage in small talk, I always wonder if they will judge me.
The thing is, I don’t even have to talk to someone to feel like I am being judged. It can be at any social situation. Everytime I walk into the gym and see big bulky guys. I pull out. I feel like they are all staring at me and judging me. Thinking if they will make fun of me because I am not bulky like them and can’t lift more than 20 pounds on a good day. This social anxiety at the gym got so bad that I ended up building a mini gym at home because of it.
Everytime I get invited to a sporting event where I have to play a sport I am not good at, such as basketball, I pull out. I make up some shitty excuse saying I’m busy. When in reality, I’m thinking that they will judge me negatively for not knowing how to play the sport. I reject invitations to college parties because I will feel judged if I don’t conform to their ways of partying, such as hard drinking. I don’t share many personal things with people I don’t know either because I feel that I will be judged for having certain traits.
I still feel my future friend out even when I think they are not judgemental. I slowly reveal some personal traits and see how they react. I would feel comfortable engaging with them if they don’t care and like me for me. If they admire and respect me for my traits and reassure me that it’s ok to be me. I am glad that I have a few very close friends understand and who love me for me. Without their constant support I’d be lost. I would feel that everyone is judging me and it’s not ok to be me. These are the friends that I can fall back on if I feel insecure. I sometimes wouldn’t go to an event if my friends weren’t going because all eyes would be judging me.
To be honest, it is ok to have social anxiety because it allows you to find people who understand you and love you for you. They will allow you to be you without being judgemental. It’s better to know one person who understands and loves you for who you are, than to know millions of people who don’t understand you at all.