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Social Anxiety


This post is meant to be light-hearted and laugh at the things we do because of social anxiety

If you want to know whether your actions are because of social anxiety, you’re in the right place.

I’ve done plenty of things throughout my life that I thought was normal human behavior, albeit feeling uncomfortable at the time. I’ve always felt different and a bit wackier than the average person, but I never thought I was the poster child for social anxiety.

I honestly thought everyone reacted the same way in certain situations.

Still, it was only until I married a non-socially anxious person that I finally saw my way of doing things might seem strange or funny to others.

If you’re socially anxious, you’ll relate to this list, but if you’re not, stick around to learn more about the people in your life who have social anxiety.

10 things I do because of social anxiety:

1. Plan out each conversation in advance

If there’s a party to attend, a happy hour, a work function, or any other event involving people, I plan out my topics of conversation.

I play out all the scenarios in my head, from the hugs I’m going to give to the handshakes I’m going to extend. I think about how to start each conversation, and I memorize many questions to ask. For each person I know will be there.

Should they deviate from my plan, I’m screwed.

I sometimes role-play the whole conversation to have the upper hand and prepare myself. If that’s not social anxiety behavior 101, then I don’t know what is.

“Sally, I had NO IDEA you were competing in the world’s book of records for fastest sweater knitter. How on Earth did you get into that?!”

“Mark, what a COINCIDENCE. I was reading about cryptocurrency the other day. What do you think about itDo you think we’re going back to the Gold standard?”

“Jimboooo, I HEARD (but I stalked you on Instagram) you bought a camper and are planning to live out the #vanlife!”

2. Check to see if there’s someone I know around

I do a double-take in the morning to ensure I don’t run into chatty neighbors before I walk outside. The same thing goes for when I walk into the neighborhood grocery store.

My eyes are constantly darting from left to right so I don’t accidentally end up in a 20-minute conversation, trying to figure out how to get out.

It’s not that I’m not friendly, but I know that if I’m on a mission and have a purpose, the last thing I want to do is engage in meaningless small talk.

3. Run across aisles to avoid someone

If I accidentally see someone who always likes to talk, I run over to the next aisle. I can’t recall the number of times I’ve strolled into a store and, out of nowhere, launched myself behind a rack, or an aisle, for cover because I recognized someone.

Did they see me? Oh God, I hope they didn’t see me. What if they saw me hide? What if they come my way now? What do I say? Oh God, why am I like this?

At that point, I don’t care about my grocery list anymore. I only care about not running into them, so I end up wasting my time avoiding them. Sometimes that doesn’t work because I’ll peek at an aisle only to have them walk toward me. Game over.

Usually, I’m by myself, so I don’t have to feel extra stupid. But when I’m out with my husband, I have to deal with him too because he snickers at the things I do because of social anxiety. Ha-ha.

4. Ask someone to make calls on my behalf

I have a long to-do list. Schedule car maintenance, set up annual physical appointments, figure out why my bill is 2x the amount, and sign my kid up for soccer class.

That’s just for today.

Tomorrow I have ten more calls I need to make. How on Earth am I going to survive them? Hey Mom, can you come over and call for me, please? I know I’m 34 but pleeeeasseeeee??

There was a time that would have worked beautifully. I never had to make a call.

These days, it sounds more like this…Honeyyyyy, can you call that guy for the car?? Babyyyyy, can you contact the bank and ask them to refund the transfer feeSweetyyyyy, can you please call daycare to let them know we are coming in late??

I mean, that’s the number one reason I married a non-socially anxious person, of course.

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5. Ask a friend to ask someone to take a picture

I always ask people if they can take a picture.

Nope. I’m not doing it. I’d much rather take a selfie, put a timer in, or lose my camera over the edge. Most of the time, though, I’m going to have the person I’m with ask a stranger to take our picture.

I can’t put myself in that position where I have to:

1. Stop a stranger
2. Ask them to take a picture
3. Hand over my new unpaid phone
4. Walk back
5. Take time to pose properly
6. Get the phone from them
7. Check the picture
8. Acknowledge it’s good
9. Ask for another picture if it sucks
10. Accept the sucky picture
11. Say thank you.

That’s too many steps, too much involvement, and too much human contact. I’d rather stay at a distance while someone else handles all of that.

I’ll happily do number 9, though. Thank you!

6. Refuse to call out a mistake

“Bob, I think you misspelled your name” is something I probably should blurt out. 

But I won’t because I’m not particularly eager to put people on the spot. Because that means I’m putting myself on the spot.

Sorry, Bob, you’ll have to lead the meeting with your name spelled Boob on the board.

I’m not sure what you were thinking there, but it isn’t my problem. Just like it’s not my problem that the date is wrong on the report, that you spelled my name wrong, or that I shouldn’t be in this meeting in the first place because you added the wrong Roxana to the meeting.

I’ll sit here…

7. Ask questions

Hi, my name is Roxana, and it’s been five years since I asked a question.

Ok, let’s not exaggerate. It’s more like three years.

Asking a question is scary for a socially anxious introvert.

I mean, chances are pretty high that it won’t come out right, which means I’ll sound stupid, and people will roll their eyes. Then life is over. It usually goes like that.

So, it’s much better to sit quietly and pray that someone else has the same question and that they actually ask it. Not sure what the chances usually are of that, but I’m doing just fine, blazing through life, waiting for someone else to ask my questions.

I can’t afford anyone thinking that I don’t know something, let alone something everyone else seems to know…

Ah, the things we think because of social anxiety.

8. Push the close button in an elevator at super speed

Tell me you can relate to this.

You walk through the sliding doors of your building, step up to the elevators and press the button. There’s no one else around you. You look back at the entrance and notice someone you know is about to come in as the elevator dings.

You run into the elevator, start pressing the close button in a panicky maniacal way, and barely make it as you see their hand about to stop the elevator.

Phew, they were too late.

Holy shit, did they see me??

9. Go in the opposite direction I need to go to

I do this thing where I become overly polite at my own expense.

For example, if I’m driving and I need to take a left-hand turn but there are five cars behind me waiting, and there’s a nonstop flow of vehicles coming from the other way, I’ll take a right turn instead and drive for 10 miles to not be an “inconvenience” to the cars behind me.

I hate making people wait for me, so I’ll go in the opposite direction if I have to.

Please don’t get out of your car and yell at me for not taking the initiative to go the moment I should have gone but was too scared!

10. Only go to places that let me book online

I don’t blink twice if I have to get a wax at a place that’s 20 minutes further, as long as they let me book an appointment online. There’s no way I’m going to pick up a phone, try to coordinate on the spot with the host on the available time slots and talk about the options I want to have. I’ll skip all of that; thank you very much.

I don’t understand how in this day and age, there are service-based businesses that do not accept online bookings. It’s so mind-blowing to me that it feels somehow fishy.

These are the top 10 things I do because of social anxiety, but I’m sure plenty of others will make you laugh.

The easiest way to start managing your social anxiety is to laugh at what it makes you do and then take steps to work through it.

Social anxiety is no joke; I know because I’ve lived with it for many years. But I can laugh at some of the things it made me do because if I don’t, I’ll give it too much power over me.

What things have you done because of social anxiety that make you chuckle?

I’m sharing the top 10 things I do because of social anxiety, with the hope it will make you laugh a little bit.

I'm Roxana

I went from being scared to ask a question out loud to hosting summits online. I love coffee, french crepes, and working from home. My mission? Help others build their social confidence to make friends, have conversations, and be comfortable around people!

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