You know how I totally didn’t smile at you just now when you smiled at me? Well…I’m very uncomfortable in social situations and I found my mind wandering…thinking about places I’d rather be where I’d be less likely to humiliate myself…and I didn’t notice you smiling. When I did finally see you, my mind was still wandering and it took me a minute to process Oh! That nice lady is smiling at me! and by the time I did you turned away. And now I’m kinda in this humiliating place where I’m staring at you obsessively, hoping to get another chance, and I’m almost certain I have my crazy eyes on. I can tell I have them on because now everyone looks scared of me…I should probably leave.
You know how you and I know each other slightly but yet when you acknowledged me with a word or a smile or a greeting I got all flustered and furrowed my brows at you? I know that made me look really mean and bitchy but really I’m just uncomfortable with human interaction in many capacities and that makes me unable to place familiar faces. So, while you may have immediately remembered we used to work together, I kept trying to remember you from that exercise class I took and all of that thinking made my face hurt. Please don’t be offended.
You know how you came up to me at the party and complimented my shoes? I’m sorry I laughed a “Thanks” and then awkwardly talked about how much my now-dead dog liked them too. I just don’t do well at parties where I don’t know anyone and I overcompensate by trying to be “funny” which always ends up falling more into the category of “rude” and possibly “over-sharing.” Be lucky I didn’t talk about my lady problems.
You know how you made that joke and I laughed so loud everyone looked at me and then I snorted and responded with some sort of weird combination of profanities? I promise you I don’t usually curse. I just get nervous and sometimes my nervous persona has the mouth of a sailor. It’s like some part of me reverts back to Junior High when dropping the f-bomb earned you cool points. I’m sure your sister, the Sunday school teacher, is probably still praying for me and my foul mouth. Tell her, “Thanks.”
You know how you invited me to that gathering at your house and I sat in the corner looking surly the entire time? That’s just the face I wear when I’m terrified I’m going to humiliate myself. I’m prone to laughing too loud, cursing too much, and telling inappropriate stories involving my own bodily functions when I’m anxious in social situations. Since all of these things end up haunting me for weeks after a party, I try to avoid them by hiding somewhere and interacting with no one. Trust me, you would much rather me stay silent in the corner than break out my poop stories. It never ends well for anyone.
You know how I called you the wrong name? Yeah. Sorry about that. I know who you are. I’ve talked to you on several occasions, but often times my nerves affect the part of my brain in charge of name recall. I do it to my kids, too. I promise. You’re very memorable and if I ever see you one-on-one, I’m certain to do better, but this group around us is making my brain stop working.
You know how we know each other and you were so kind to open the lines of communication at that party? And I barely responded and went and talked to someone else? It’s because you’re really pretty and I get super intimidated by pretty people because I often feel like an oaf at social events. So, what came off as rude and bitchy was really a compliment to your appearance! You can thank me later.
You know how I never talk to you and often run away when I see you? It’s because that one time we hung out I said something really humiliating and I have nightmares remembering it and when I see you it triggers and weird Social Anxiety form of PTSD and running away is the only way to stop my brain from replaying that horribly embarrassing moment from 5 years ago in my head.
You know how you always invite me to do things and I never accept? I value our friendship, but I’m still a little intimidated by you, and I’m terrified we’re not at the point yet where I can say/do my usual stupid/embarrassing thing and still preserve our friendship. Maybe if you tell me a story about your social anxieties next time I’ll feel less like you’ll judge me when I inevitably start complaining about boob sweat around your small children.