7 Signs of "Minor" Social Anxiety

Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Let me start by saying that I don't dislike our neighbors. Truthfully, I don't know them that well, but from what I can tell they are kind people.

However, if I'm headed out the door and I happen to hear them in hallway I freeze. I will actually wait by my door and listen until I don't hear them anymore. Once it's safe to leave I make my exit.

Last week I was in a hurry and not on my guard when I walked out my backdoor only to see our neighbors walking up the stairs right toward me. For a second I actually thought about darting back into our house, but they had clearly seen me. They had also seen me do a weird stutter step when I thought for a moment about walking backward, like a dog caught between a couch and coffee table, back into the safety of our home.

Instead, I decided to do what any normal human would do- I began to look at my doorframe like I was measuring it. With my hands. As if I had never seen a doorframe before, and most likely in my neighbors opinion, never seen other humans, either.

Until they said, "hello."

And I responded, "errrr ughhhh huuuuu heyyyyy." Let's not forget speaking to other humans when you've been locked in a hole for 18 years isn't as easy as a task as you'd think.

Did I mention this was the first time I met these specific neighbors? Made a great first impression, I'm sure.

As I told Chris this story later that night he simply responded, "Tay, that's not normal."

Okay. Fine. Perhaps some of you might be thinking the same.

What next? I suppose you're going to tell me it's also "not normal" to panic when you're about to say someone's first name in case you get it wrong even though you're 99% sure you're right because you've known them about about 2 years now, but there's still that one chance...

Or that you daydream about the time you spent as a kid hiding under tables that were covered with long tablecloths that draped over the side so they became your own private hidden fort of solitude and comfort?

Remember the parachute game? What a treat that was. The only problem was that all of my other classmates had to be there. Me and parachute could have gotten on quite well just the two of us.

To this day, when I walk into a busy classroom and see an open desk in the corner it's like the heavens just opened up. A corner seat might as well be a spot under a table!

Same goes when I find a person at a party who I actually know and enjoy and they suddenly become my lifeline. DO NOT WALK AWAY if you are said person. Or do, because the longer you stay the harder it will be for me to let you go.

Lastly, when I have plans with a friend (a friend I actually want to see) but they have to cancel, I rarely (if ever) get mad about it. Because deep down I'm kind of happy. Cancelled plans = pure joy.

So what do you think? "Not normal?" Okay. Fine.

Is this considered "minor" social anxiety or simply traits of being an introvert? I'm not sure.

I know that I'm not by any means scared to see people outside of my house, I'm simply scared of the small talk that usually ensues because of it. Scared isn't the right word, perhaps I should say dread. I dread the small talk. And so, I bail.

I've created a sweatshirt that sums up my hermit-ness because that's what I do.

BAIL- as in the University of canceling plans. (The tag for my sweatshirt above.) I'm really proud of this one because it speaks to my heart and describes how I usually feel.

The lighting is off, but it's navy blue and oversized and oh so comfy. Found here.

So now I ask, what's it like to be on the other side? To be the person who is good at socializing and looks forward to seeing neighbors in the hallway. To be the "the Chris," if you will. I feel like it must be nice. Exhausting, but nice.



29 comments:

  1. Lol i can't believe you wrote a post about something as serious as social anxiety just to plug your tshirt business /o\

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    1. I wrote an honest post about things that go on inside my head and have my entire life, and like everything I design, I made a shirt that reflects this. Perhaps people work through things differently? I think people leave shitty comments with an intent to hurt when they're feeling bad, so for that I apologize if this hit you the wrong way.

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    2. I think the shirt is cute! Haters gonna hate. Ignore it and keep making those cute shirts!

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    3. Omg I loved this post!! I struggle from literally the exact same thing - same exact feelings on small talk, etc. and I handle it by making fun of it as well. It makes it easier when you can make light of something that basically consumes your life. Love the sweatshirt - might just be my fav design of yours so far and I'm def going to order it!

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  2. Thank you for talking about your social anxiety, it is something I struggle with as well. Even though other people see me as outgoing on the inside I am freaking out... "what do I say next" "what if the conversation lulls"... it's nice to know I'm not alone in this battle. <3

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  3. Hah! I totally relate. My fiancé and I just moved into a new studio... the first week, I'd stand by the door listening very carefully to be sure no one was in the hallway and then dart into the shared laundry room and put my clothes in within 30 seconds, to quickly dart back into the safety of our apartment. Christian, on the other hand, would actually listen FOR neighbors in the hallway and then coincidentally walk out at the same time to make new friends!!! WTF?!? Mind boggling ;)

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    1. And I remember we're both INFP from a past post so.... I think its kind of normal?!?! That's what I'm telling myself ;)

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  4. Being a lifelong renter, I can totally relate. I've def waited by the door for the coast to be clear........like you, I absolutely dread small talk!

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  5. Umm this post basically just described my life. I will do the exact same thing if I hear people in the hallway and I have to leave my house... my husband, on the other hand, would talk to a wall and will never, ever be the first person to leave a party. Opposites attract, I suppose? :)

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  6. I can't tell you what it's like to be "on the other side," because this is 100% who I am. I thought I was the only person who irrationally feared saying someone's name wrong, despite having known them for years already.

    Great post!

    Allie | www.lunavidablog.com

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  7. I have to be extrovert in my job but that's just acting! Hate, hate, hate trying to make small talk and am so bad at it, like others comments - my husband is brilliant!

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  8. I am the same way! If I pull into my parking spot and my neighbor is sitting in her car, I'll wait and wait, pretending to play on my phone, until she goes inside. Small talk is awkward and usually forced (I think part of that is because I'm not very empathetic). So I just avoid it.

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  9. Thanks for sharing with such transparency so I don't feel QUITE as idiotic �� I too DREAD small talk, and cancelled plans = THE PUREST OF JOYS

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  10. Oh my! So me! I was just thinking earlier about a conversation I had last night and I don't think I made eye contact not once! And the only reason I was thinking about that is bc someone told me last week I never look people in the eye when I talk! I would rather be at home and have cancelled plan any day!

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  11. Ok this made me laugh and that made me rush to the toilet so I would not have an accident, I am not sure why I found this so funny, it is not because it reminded me of all the times I would be out shopping and see my father in-law and hide, or the times last year mum and I had just parked the car and we see my cousin walking towards us so we stayed in the car and hid hoping he would not see us

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  12. I am the person who will spend the whole party by the food because a) food and b) it maybe looks like I'm actually doing something other than avoiding people?

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  13. My husband loves anything where he can talk to people. I love it because I get to be the arm candy who just silently nods and smiles. This post cracked me up

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  14. Thank you for writing - once again - something so relatable. I feel like have grown more socially anxious as time has gone by. Not sure why but I'm hoping I will eventually work through it.

    I'm sure you didn't write this simply to market shirts. You wrote this because it's your truth. People can comment such shitty stuff.

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  15. I love this sweatshirt and I've seriously done the stare at the doorframe thing or bolted back into my apartment when I hear the neighbors coming. My husband is like what are you doing? Just go. But I can't! Love your blog, always!

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  16. I can absolutely relate! I always seem to grab my phone and act like i'm busy when someone is approaching me, or I am out in public where social interaction has a 99% chance of happening!

    And I despise going to parties without knowing there will be someone there I know! It just makes me have a panic attack, per se!

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  17. This is 100% me. I've been like this since I was young. Now I have a job where I have to socialize & communicate with people, it sucks. Sometimes I pretend like I'm acting and as long as the conversation sticks to work related stuff I'm ok. As soon as it gets personal, I cringe on the inside and want to cry haha.

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  18. I do the exact same thing. Peek out to make sure no one is in the hallway. And if we do happen to meet. I totally freeze. I just hate small talk with strangers!

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  19. I know exactly how you feel! I frequently hide from the mailman when i'm home. We have a huge window right in front of our mailbox and if i'm home when he walks by its panic city.

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  20. I'm an introvert and my husband is social and can talk to anyone! I don't think its strange so not want to deal wuth people sometime! ;)

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  21. I'm an introvert and my husband is social and can talk to anyone! I don't think its strange so not want to deal wuth people sometime! ;)

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  22. I feel like this is the story of my life. I used to like people and socializing but now... all of these things are me. I don't miss this aspect of apartment living, cause I would totally do stuff like wait until I knew my neighbors were gone or distract myself with the doorframe to avoid talking.

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  23. My husband will hang outside forever talking with the neighbors, where I am peaking out the blinds to see if they're gone yet. Thank you for making me feel normal!! (I know it's not, but the illusion is great.)
    I went for the Bail sweatshirt, but ended up leaving with the sorry I'm late tee :)

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  24. Tay this is totally me and completely normal. Why should we hang out with people if we don't want to? Homebodies! 👊

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