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I Hate The Replay Function In My Brain


It’s 3am.

I woke up almost 2 hours ago fretting about a recent social encounter.

This is something I’ve commiserated over with many of my introverted or socially anxious peers. How, after some social situations, you have to replay them over and over again – to make sure you really discover and rehash all of the awkward moments you wish you had done differently.

It’s the most tell-tale sign of someone with social anxieties. The compulsive replay followed by detailed analysis and self-hatred.

Imagine we’re football coaches and we lost a big game. We get the tapes of that game and we go over them in detail, play by play. If we notice something wonky playing it at real-time speed, we rewind and play it over in slow motion. We focus on that one play over and over until we kind find that ONE MOMENT that caused it all to go downhill.

That’s my brain any time I hang out with more than 1 or 2 people I don’t know very well.

Last night I woke up fretting about one specific person with which I had very minor interaction. But still! I fretted! I think I was rude! Or at best I was apathetic! But I didn’t want to come across that way…WHAT DO I DO?

Well, I replay the entire encounter over, and over, and over again. Finding all of the moments I should have said or done something different.

So. Now what?

Well! I came up with a reason to FB message this person. I’m not even FB friends with her, but I wanted a Do Over! So I messaged her at 2:30am about some random (But relevant! I promise! I wasn’t grasping too much for straws!) issues I could find reason to contact her over. Also – maybe opening up the door for another encounter at which I will HOPEFULLY do a much better impersonation of someone who is NOT a total social reject.

(For the record – I only tried for a Do Over because this is someone I know I’ll have future interactions with. If I probably won’t ever see the person again? I just add them to the Vault Of People Who Think Kim Is A Social Invalid.)

That’s the life of someone with social anxieties. We replay encounters over. We hate ourselves in those encounters. And sometimes we find excuses to make another connection again so we can maybe have a do over under more controlled circumstances.

That’s ALWAYS the issues with me. Throw me in a group of strangers and I’m screwed. BUT! Give me a second chance more one-on-one? And sometimes I can redeem myself.


So! Do you do that? Do you replay and rehash social encounters? My friend recently told me that after a day of meeting/conference type things she had a hard time sleeping because there were SO MANY encounters to rehash! And that RIGHT THERE is why I don’t go to blogging conferences anymore. Too many moments to watch in slow-mo and relive the humiliation OVER and OVER and OVER again.

What about making up reasons to contact people at 2:30am so you can try to get a second chance to be less of a freakshow? Do you do that part too?

Here’s to hoping A) She sees the message anyway since we’re not FB friends and B) She doesn’t get too alarmed by the 2:30am timestamp on the message.

I mean, normal people send FB messages at 2:30am too, right? PLEASE TELL ME THEY DO.

9 thoughts on “I Hate The Replay Function In My Brain”

  1. I recently saw someone at Target who I used to be friends with but who my social circle kind of had a falling out with. I caught a glimpse of her and know she saw me, but before I could register to say hello to her, she was gone. So I felt like she maybe thought I was ignoring her, which was not my intention. Therefore, I spent the next twenty minutes scouring the aisles of Target for her to tell her I had not ignored her. I never found her, and now I am pretty sure she thinks I ignored her. This was weeks ago, and I am still thinking it over. I want to go to her house and knock on the door and say, “I wasn’t ignoring you that time at Target MANY WEEKS AGO,” but I think that would be overkill at that point, and she might not even remember the incident in the vivid detail I do.

    This is just one of my many examples, but it is one of the more recent ones. My brain is often on a constant loop of cringe-worthy moments, some dating back as far as middle school

  2. Just yesterday my sister asked someone she just met why he was limping. He has Lou Gehrig’s Disease! She was mortified. What can you do? Apologize (if necessary), smile and move on.

    My (other) sister has a friend who is a children’s oncologist. He puts things into perspective by asking, “did small children die as a result of something you said or did?” If not, everything will be okay.

  3. The replay function? ALL. THE. TIME. I really hate when I think I’ve gotten past something that happened a while ago, and then my stupid brain brings it up and it’s just as cringeworthy as ever. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten up the nerve to try for a do-over, though.

  4. I do this. I even have an incident from high school (20 years ago) that I still replay in great detail from time to time.

  5. All the time! Especially when I have tried to make some catty sarcasm that came out straight up bitchy or, worse: insulting. It keeps me up and when I think back on it a week later my stomach does that same dropping out thing that it does on roller coasters.

    Most people think I am pretty outgoing so it surprises them to know that lunch almost killed me in school. I would fret all morning that no one would want to sit with me at lunch. I’d start asking people at nine if I could sit with them and even after I got a confirmation, I would still fret that they would ditch me or there wouldn’t be room. My worst fear was ending up alone. It was so bad in high school that I got permission to go home every single day for lunch. To this day, if I am alone, I only eat in secret where no one can see my aloneness.

  6. Well, no, I don’t have this. I like everybody (easier that way) and I enjoy socializing. Thank you for writing about the replay syndrome. I try to be very kind to and interested in everyone I meet, because I am interested! Your introspection makes me determined to redouble my efforts in that regard, so that nobody has to replay interactions with me. (Or if they do, those replays are good ones).

  7. That’s the difficulty. I enjoy socializing in general – it’s just very exhausting :)! Those replay experiences are the minority, unfortunately they cause me severe anxiety so I have to work on reminding myself of the positives. That whole social encounter was full of fun and good – much more than awkward – so I have to work at reminding myself of that so I continue to put myself out there. Otherwise, I’d use those minor awkward moments to keep me in.

  8. I’m an experienced “replayer”. Of all kinds of awkward situations or, what’s probably worse, but possibly my main problem, of situations I considered awkward on my account, but the other people involved have forgotten after a few minutes. At least I hope they forgot it quickly and not replay it in the “OMG, remember that stupid thing she said” kind of way.
    After reading your post I’m so glad to see that I’m obviously not the only one. Thanks for describing this in such an apt way. Glad to know that I’m not alone in this. Now if we just could find someone who will teaches us to rehash the good things instead of the bad things, that would be ace, wouldn’t it?

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