hey pru, i’m about to go into my last year of uni, and i’ve been really taking a look at my wreck of a life. i’ve always had a lot of social anxiety, and my default is thinking anyone i interact with just automatically doesn’t like me and just tolerates me, but now i realise that’s probably pretty irrational. and so i’m thinking about ways to reach out to people without feeling shitty about myself, but i don’t know? i guess it’s weird to just send you this but you give really good advice

Anon, I confess I’m not a good person for giving this type of advice – I mean advice specifically about social anxiety. My personality is one that doesn’t really dwell on other peoples’ good opinion of me (for most people in the world, I couldn’t give a fuck), but I will try to give you some advice that I think might be a little bit helpful, while also suggesting talking to a counselor while you’re still at university and have access to campus resources.

I think a lot of times social anxiety of this nature – worrying about people liking you; worrying if you’re only being tolerated; worrying if someone is laughing at you about that dumb thing you said – comes from a misunderstanding of how much people around you think about you. 

I don’t mean this in a mean way, but honestly, nobody thinks about you as much as you do. You yourself see and interact with dozens and dozens of people each day, and I doubt you remember all their details. Even if someone seemed awkward and odd, you don’t dwell on it unkindly. Maybe you think about it for 1 or 2 minutes more than the other people, but then it floats away from you, and you move on to other considerations. In the vast universe, everybody is busy and worried about their own awkwardness and drama, and they’re unlikely to be focused on yours in any targeted way unless:

1) They’re genuinely concerned about you. This comes from a place of love and friendship, most likely, and we should all be so lucky to have people love and worry about us and our happiness.

2) They’re genuinely making fun of you. This comes from a place of this person being a fucking dick, and thus beneath your notice. By just being this person, they’ve immediately become the lowest rung on the ladder, and you should ignore them freely.

I hope this helps a little, Anon, if nothing else as a nice gut check reminder. You know that feeling when you’re on the beach early in the morning and the sky is huge and infinite? Or late at night somewhere far away from people, and you look into the rivers of stars? Where you feel cosmically small and very temporal? That you’re a tiny moment in reality? That’s a blessing – it means our worst mistakes can’t be that bad, and that while we expect great things of ourselves, the universe doesn’t require them. We can be exactly who we truly are: occasionally marvelous, usually very average, but good to our friends and family and good to our communities and kind – forgiving. That is exactly enough and just as it should be. 

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0 Responses to “hey pru, i’m about to go into my last year of uni, and i’ve been really taking a look at my wreck of a life. i’ve always had a lot of social anxiety, and my default is thinking anyone i interact with just automatically doesn’t like me and just tolerates me, but now i realise that’s probably pretty irrational. and so i’m thinking about ways to reach out to people without feeling shitty about myself, but i don’t know? i guess it’s weird to just send you this but you give really good advice”



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East Coast Gazette has a terrible editorial focus and tends to use a lot of ALL CAPS but TOTALLY NOT BECAUSE OF HARRY POTTER. Stories in progress as well as snapshots will be listed in the "box full of snapshots" below, website archive for stories and assorted tomfoolery is glitterati.

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