After feeling some of my summer anxiety triggers the other day and getting through a looong week of days off that left me feeling lonely, I was all of a sudden invited to a neighbor’s house for a get together with the other moms. EEK!
The lesson in today’s post is this:
When it comes to Overcoming Social Anxiety– Pick Your Battles…
I was in my front yard when my neighbor pulled up in her van and invited me to come over for drinks with the other ladies on Saturday night. I was caught off guard and immediately said That sounds fun, ok, instead of saying something like, That sounds like fun, let me get back to you.
I went inside and called my husband at work, all freaked out.
Dina just called and invited me to come to a get together at her house this Saturday. She gave a quick run down of the ladies who would be there. 3 of the people are ones that don’t like me. I don’t know what the hell to do. What would you do if you were me?
Bob: I wouldn’t go.
Jill: Yes but its important for me not to avoid situations because of social anxiety. I try to go to everything I’m invited to. Blah blah blah
Bob: You asked me what I would do.
Next I called my mom and spilled it to her. I went on and on about how I don’t like to be left out and why when I am invited to do something is it always with the Mean Girls and what the hell should I do?
Mom: Honey, don’t make yourself upset about this. If the girls you like aren’t going, why would you force yourself to go and feel bad the whole time?
So I didn’t go. It may seem like a little thing, but to me it wasn’t. I struggled internally with trying to examine my motives.
I really try not to ever avoid facing situations where my social anxiety is triggered. I know in order for me to continue getting better I have to face situations and use my coping tools.
Was I using lame excuses to avoid a social gathering?
I don’t think so. Who would want to be around people that don’t care for them?
When the hostess called the next day to give me the time, I told her I would be busy but hoped to be able to join them later.
A little white lie. There. Done.
If there was the remotest chance that any of the moms I am friendly with were going, I would have gone in a heartbeat. I know I would have. It still would have been a struggle, but I would have gladly taken it on, knowing there were friendly people at the party.
I am now seeing that I did a very loving thing to myself for not going.
I honored my feelings and protected myself from a no-win situation.
There is a time and a place for everything. I practice self treatment for social anxiety at just about every chance I get. But I also have to balance that with a little common sense. It wouldn’t benefit me in any way to go to this get together given my history with the people who were going.
I’m not looking to be everybody’s best friend. I’m not trying to make everyone I encounter like me.
The goal of exposing myself to social situations is to learn to be more comfortable in a variety of settings and work towards overcoming my social anxiety once and for all.
My friend Maz said it best here:
You don’t have to go and you certainly don’t have to beat yourself up if you don’t.
We had a night out at work this week on the curry train I wanted to go but I don’t eat curries. So I made a choice not to go. Yes I gave myself half a day of poor me, but on the night I was actually pleased I didn’t put myself through it.
Do you pick your battles, ie, choose where you will and will not go- and otherwise have boundaries- while overcoming social anxiety?
I wish you peace,