Growing up, I had always been shy. I hated meeting new people. However, once I got to know them, I was all right. As I got older though, the shyness took on a new meaning. It was difficult for me to meet friends in college. I expected them to come to me. It took awhile for me to realize that if I wanted friends, I was going to have to go out and meet them. That was difficult to get out because I did not know anyone at college events. Eventually though, I made friends and I started going out more because of t hem. I really did not like to go out by myself and as time went on, it got worse.
Once I moved out on my own to a tiny town in the middle of no where, I found myself alone. I knew absolutely no one. People were constantly introducing themselves to me and inviting me to many events. Though I was pleased with the invitations, I often turned them down because I was too anxious about going to unfamiliar events with people I really did not know. I did not want people looking at me or asking me questions.
And my anxiety got only worse from there. I found it difficult to go to the grocery store. I would avoid eye contact and rush through the store as quickly as I could. I continued turning people down even though I know knew these people and would have really liked to go out. However, I was much safer when I was alone in my apartment. If I did go out, I was extremely anxious.
I do not have a lot of friends. If I do end up at these uncomfortable social situations with them, I always stick very close. I feel like I am bothering them by ignoring the rest of the people there and sticking like a shadow to my friends. It is extremely difficult to put myself out there and talk to other people. I often stutter when I am talking even though I do not have a problem normally. I also find myself talking rapidly and finding it difficult to explain myself.
I one time found this joke online for people with social anxiety only to me, it really wasn’t a joke. The joke said that a person would cross the street just to avoid talking with someone. That is basically me. I avoid eye contract. I refuse to go out if I see someone close by. I do not like using public restrooms with other people in there. I don’t like to even say hi to someone that passes me, even if I know them.
My social anxiety does hold me back. I wrote about some of my other problems holding me back and someone commented that that only happens if I let it happen. I do not choose to live this way. This is the life I have been dealt. And yes, I do sometimes go out of my comfort zone. I go out with my friends. I will go to church and the grocery store by myself even though it really gets my heart to racing. However, it is a difficult problem. It makes it difficult to go on job interviews because I cannot compose my thoughts or be open and friendly.
Inside my house, alone, is safe. The outside world is full of scary social situations.