I’m a pretty outgoing person, but I’m also deeply anxious. This sounds problematic, and it is. I love going to my local coffee shop, for example, but once they learn my order the pressure I feel to engage socially becomes so overwhelming that I never darken its door again. I’m running out places to procure my daily latte.
Rather than be all woe-is-me about my current state of existence, I prefer to think of myself as a jeggings-wearing enigma wrapped in a riddle and croissant crumbs (I buy a croissant to go with my latte). My positive attitude aside, being an outgoing broad with an anxious streak to beat the band does have its pitfalls. Here are seven of them.
1. Your thoughts run wild when you go to the bar alone.
They’re a great place to meet people. They’re also great if you just want to sit with your book and people-watch. If I don’t have plans on a Saturday night, I might hit up a bar just to be around people and get out of the house.
It’s awesome … until I start thinking about it. Do people think I’m desperate? Trolling for something strange? Do they think I was stood up? Does the bartender seem lonely? Should I talk to her? Is it annoying to be the person who talks to the bartender? Anxiety please, hold the rocks.
2. You panic that everyone you meet doesn’t like you.
I love meeting new people. Human beings are fascinating, but I’m not a sociopath — I just love learning about them. The anxious creature who lives inside me is deeply concerned that every single person I meet likes me. While I’m smiling and nodding and learning about someone’s passion for phrenology, my inner-freak is panicked, positive they already started their own burn-book about me.
3. You dread being the first to arrive somewhere.
My mama didn’t raise no fool. I know being late to meet people is gauche, but my fear and hatred of being the first to arrive someplace has made deciding where to be some place impossible. I’ve arrived at restaurants fifteen minutes early and gone for thirty minute walks so I can swan in and be stylishly apologetic. I’m so sorry.
4. You’re constantly worried about how your face looks.
You’re out dancing, let’s say, or at the party of a friend of a friend. It’s a cool place and you’re having a great time, when all of the sudden you freeze. What is your face doing? Has your lipstick gone rogue? Is your eyeliner going all “why so serious”? Also, your arms. Oh my god, have they always just hung this way? Quick, I’ll hold this railing. F*ck, I have one other arm with a hand attached. Oh, there’s sliders. Sh*t! Now my face is probably covered in hamburger meat.
5. Your mind never lets you go to sleep at a decent hour.
Let’s pretend you had a great day. You hung out with great people, work was a success, you’re feeling confident and happy … until you close your eyes to go to sleep and suddenly remember that one time your sixth grade teacher caught you swearing and gave you detention. Oh, the shame!
6. You don’t know how to say “no.”
When you’re outgoing it’s your tendency to say yes to things. That’s great! It makes life that much more fun and spontaneous. You’ll experience so many new things, but you also might end up agreeing to go paddle boarding on Manhattan’s East River in your black-tie ensemble because you don’t want your date to think you’re “girly.” Be girly. You’re a girl. Girls can and should say no whenever they want.
7. You’re the worst at small talk.
At the elevator in the office, you find yourself shoulder to shoulder with a co-worker. You know each other, but not well. You ask about the kids and when that’s done, you talk about the weather. You do this because you’re kind and because you understand social convention. But as an anxious person, while you’re mouth is talking about the chances for snow, your mind is thinking about the inevitability of death. Oh, you lovable scamp.