SA person vs Non-SA person

The following post is based on things that have happened to me over the last couple of weeks, to show the differences between the thought processes of socially anxious people and people who don’t suffer from social anxiety, by showing how they’d (likely) react to the same situation. (And yes, I’m aware of how ridiculous some of my thought processes are).

At the beginning of last week, I was out cycling, when a group of four male cyclists around my age passed me. One of them (who was rather attractive) said hi to me as they passed me.

SA person (me): For some reason (probably the suddenness of that guy saying hi to me after hours of not speaking to anyone, combined with the fact that my brain seems to take longer to process things when I’m anxious), I couldn’t say hi back to him. It was almost as if I was physically unable to speak. Naturally, I started to feel really bad about it immediately afterwards, thinking about how rude/ weird I must have seemed, and how I can’t even say a simple “hi” to someone I find attractive.

THIS is why you don’t have boyfriend, Gemma. You can’t even interact with other people on the most basic level. How can anyone even BE so awkward? *Keeps thinking about how rude/ unfriendly I must’ve seemed and how awkward/ crap I am at talking to men for the rest of the day*

I wanted to race and catch up with him, and get his number. 😛 But I’d already cycled about 20 miles by that point, with about 4.5 (mostly uphill) miles left to go, so I was a bit knackered. (And there’s also…y’know…the small issue of a chronic and crippling anxiety disorder to contend with). Oh well…at least it didn’t (as my online friend joked) cause me to crash/ fall off my bike.

Non-SA person: * Either says hi back or doesn’t. Whichever option they chose, they don’t obsess about it for the rest of the day, and probably don’t even give it a second thought.*

Last week, before I had returned to work from my 2 week break, I bumped into (not literally; that would have been even more awkward…) my manager while out walking my dog. He seemed to come out of nowhere and suddenly said hi to me. I said hi back and then stood there awkwardly for a moment, expecting him to say more, but he kept on walking.

Non-SA person: That was a bit awkward. Oh well…

* Thinks about it maybe once or twice, but doesn’t obsess about it/ beat their self up about it*

SA person (me): Gemma, why are you so bloody awkward?? He probably thinks you’re even more weird, awkward and socially inept than he did before. You’re always so awkward around other people. He’s probably going to eventually fire you due to your awkwardness and anxiety getting in the way of things. He’s probably wondering why you’re staying at home on your holidays and why you’re out walking the dog all by yourself. You’ve just made yourself look like even more of a weird loner. Congratulations! You’ve just won the “most awkward person ever” award!

*Starts sweating and feeling nauseous*

* Makes a big detour/ massive change to my walking route, so that I’ll be unlikely to bump into him/ his family again, because that would just make things even more awkward.*

* Keeps scanning the area to make sure that he and his family aren’t there*

*Obsesses about how awkward I must have seemed for days afterwards*

Yesterday at work, I accidentally said good morning to the same colleague twice.

Non-SA person: That was a little bit awkward/ silly. Oh well…I’m sure they’ll realise it was just a silly mistake and they won’t think any less of me.

SA person (me): He probably thinks I’m even more weird, stupid and awkward than he already did. He probably thinks there’s something wrong with me.

* Feels very embarrassed, anxious, and upset about it for the rest of the morning*

By the way, the colleague I’m talking about is the same person who first pointed out how quiet I am, so for this reason, I have been trying to make an effort to say “good morning” to him each morning (I know it isn’t much, but at least it shows that I’m making an effort). Well yesterday at break time, he made the sarcastic comment that “You can’t get Gemma to shut up”, while a couple of other colleagues laughed. I tried to force a smile but I was quite annoyed by his comment, and the fact that people are constantly making these kinds of comments about me. And all his comment really did was make things even more awkward, as I had no idea what to say to him (maybe I’ll just try asking “What do you want me to say?” the next time someone points out how quiet I am). A couple of minutes later, the same colleague asked me: “Are you this quiet at home?” I chuckled and simply said “no”. I suppose at the time, I was trying to show that I’m not quiet once a person gets to know me, but in hindsight, I probably just came across as even more rude (perhaps my colleagues think I’m deliberately choosing not to speak to them) and weird than I did before. I hate social anxiety.

Ah well…at least I managed this a couple of days ago:


I at least managed to give myself a pat on the back for that. I apologise for how weird/ cringe-worthy my last couple of posts in particular have been. And I apologise for always apologising. And I apologise for not having a backbone. Actually, if I could just throw in this disclaimer for all future posts and for everyone who knows me:


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7 Responses to SA person vs Non-SA person

  1. Just A Random Person Passing By To Drop Off A Comment says:

    Hello again.

    I’m not here to flare up for not replying to my email. I understand completely your situation.

    When someone makes a comment about me that is like a stab on the throat I tend to be in a bad mood the rest of the day. Direct or indirect.

    So you’re not alone.

    I don’t comment on youtube videos anymore because 1) some people there are rude 2)even a simple reply such as “Your point is?” Can make me very worried for days. (That comment makes me feel embarassed and that I’m someone who isn’t smart enough to have a “point” in whatever they say)

    So I have a similar experience.

    The “sorry for being…” post……ah,I remember those days when I thought I had to apologize for being myself. And I still get annoyed,irritated when people say “Just be yourself” I’m like,do you want me to be annoying,boring,stupid,lame,unlikeable,[insert negative characteristics here]? Or do you want me to be someone else? Then you’re gonna stop complaining?

    I rarely talk to my classmates,yet I hang out with my schoolmates alot. You have to choose your friends wisely. Who is worth keeping and who is not. True friends are hard to find.

    Nowadays,I’m forced to face things that will cause me anxiety. And guess who else is involved? (You can email me about this.)

    It’s a good thing that you are able to stand up if you fall. You’re able to go through problems. You are strong enough to overcome hardships in life.

    Sorry if I was being arrogant or I offended you or something. I was trying my best to help you because I know how it feels to have social anxiety. Btw,I’m sure that you have positive traits. Remember that everyone has flaws.

    (Not sure if this will help,but…) If you know that you’re going to think negative thoughts,stop it right away. Distract yourself from it.

    • Gemma says:

      Hi. I apologise for not replying to your email. I’ve been really terrible at replying to emails lately due to how busy I’ve been and how awful I’m feeling at the moment. I’m about to go to bed but I will reply to your email tomorrow.

      I’m the same. It’s amazing that one simple comment/ look/ action from a single person can leave me feeling awful for the rest of the day.

      You are smart enough. I never bother commenting on youtube videos because there always seem to be A LOT of idiots lurking in the comments section.

      Indeed. People tell you that the way to make friends is to just be yourself, but they forget that I’m the most awkward person ever.

      I agree that true friends are hard to find. They may just be the rarest thing in this world.

      I have been trying to distract myself from the negative thoughts (it was part of the online CBT course I tried), but it’s easier said than done much of the time, especially when I’m at work.

      Thank you for your comment. No, you didn’t offend me. I’ll reply to your email asap.

  2. Liberty L says:

    really good post, can definitely relate, just about sums up the thoughts of someone with SA unfortunately, hope your well xo

  3. klodo says:

    God yes, I could probably fill several pages with awkward moments just like that! I’m certain my ex manager thought I was clinically insane! People advise you to not go over these moments again in your head as they just keep getting worse but it’s easier said than done. On the good days now I just think screw it, it was my anxiety and not my fault at all which is the only way.

    • Gemma says:

      I think the same about my manager and many of my colleagues. I agree that blaming the anxiety and not ourselves is the only way to get through these experiences/ not feel as bad about them. I just wish that other people could understand this.

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