Dear Social Anxiety,
I’m writing you this letter because I’m not sure any words would actually come out of my mouth if I saw you in person. I’m sure you’ve seen my humorous musings across the web like a confident speaker of my mind, but you’ve also seen me flub a simple greeting in person like I was about to vomit. Yep, that’s me: the guy who comes in confident, makes solid eye contact then fumbles through small-talk and social cues into awkward oblivion.
Remember, just a few weeks ago at the health food store, I was weighing my to-go salad and tried to strike up conversation with the cashier when you popped in? After fumbling the plastic box and juggling a fork, sliding my debit card too soon and on the wrong side a number of times I was ready to get out of there. I’m sure she didn’t even notice though, right? Actually, I don’t know. I bet she laughed about the whole thing, rehashing every gory detail with her cashier friends. What do you think? I’m sure you agree. I’ll just never go back there to be on the safe side. It’s for the better.
Oh, oh, oh, don’t forget when I ran into an old friend from high school recently, and you happened to be there as well. It was great to hear about all their accomplishments—starting a family and a career—it’s just too bad neither of us could come up with anything on the spot, besides a grimacing smile and, “Wow. Cool, cool.” We could’ve mentioned the humorous musings, but they’d just think it was a lie; I’m sure. Oh well. I’ll just like a bunch of their Facebook stuff hoping they’ll notice mine as well. Eh, that’s probably not a good idea either. Let’s just forget the whole thing ever happened. Hopefully they have forgotten and aren’t instead at a huge high school reunion, I didn’t know about, telling the story of our interaction to everyone about how I’m so pathetic. No, they forgot about it. I hope. No, I know they did—I think so.
It’s weird, you know? It’s like you’re the only friend I’ve got, but maybe that’s because you prevent me from ever being able to speak like an actual human being in public. I mean, we get along great! It’s just that it’s easy to get along with the voice in my head that says, “We’re fine, nobody even noticed you walked right past your car in the parking lot and had to backtrack to it. Although, they might have. You should hurry up and get it and drive away fast before the whole lot starts laughing at you.” You’re just so supportive and rational. Yet, when you show up I do irrational things to avoid interaction. What’s up with that?
Do you think everyone in line behind me at Jimmy John’s is just rolling their eyes, sighing and even the more vulgar people have begun making faux masturbatory gestures? They probably know I’ve scanned the menu four times, then ordered the same thing I always get. Hopefully none of that is true, but you’ve lead me to believe so.
Speaking of, do you think the people at the bank are still high-fiving each other in the back every time I make a measly deposit? They sure do seem to be giggling each time they hand me my receipt, wouldn’t you agree? Of course you do.
I almost forgot about when you made a double time appearance the other day as I was standing in line for the restroom. You convinced me to pull out my phone to avoid speaking with anyone, then you made it clear in my head they were screen-peaking. I put my phone away and my head down. Problem solved. We sure do make a great team, Social Anxiety!
I was wondering if you’d be making an appearance at the number of weddings I’ll be attending in the coming months? I’m sure you’re not going to RSVP, but you’ll just make a drop-in appearance as I drink far too much and wonder if people are laughing with me or laughing at me as I hit the dance floor to do “the robot” among my plethora of other terrible moves.
Anyway, it was good seeing you the other day. I’m sure we’ll be running into each other again very soon. Like in about two seconds when I finish typing this and look up to see the faces of everyone at this coffee shop staring at me—which I assume is what is about to happen.