10 Worst Scenarios for Socially Anxious Introverts

If you’re like my brother and me, you’re a socially anxious introvert. We both stress about the littlest things that go on in our day-to-day lives, like talking to the cashier at the grocery store or being forced to make small talk with someone in an elevator.

My mom also considers herself an introvert, but unlike my brother and I, my mom has no trouble chatting with the cashier or the waiter. When I go out to dinner, I prefer that the waiter visits my table three times total and no more than that – once to take our order, a second time to bring us the food, and the third time to bring us our bill! In fact, they’ll probably get an even bigger tip from me if I don’t have to go through the discomfort of talking to them more than that. Please tell me that someone can relate to that?!

Like my mom did, maybe my brother and I will both outgrow our social anxiety one day? We’ll see. It kind of seems like I made some major improvements over the years and now I’m slipping back to my old ways.

For now, here are 10 scenarios that are sure to bring out the social anxiety in me. 

 

1. Making a phone call

To basically everyone and anyone. Only a few people are exempt from this.

 

2. Going to the grocery store

Not the shopping part necessarily, but the fear of having to make small talk with the cashier. Sure, a friendly smile and a nice hello is welcomed (otherwise I’m honestly going to wonder why the cashier was so rude to me later), but there’s something kind of stressful in worrying about how the cashier is going to treat you.

Yeah, self-checkouts exist in many stores, but I rarely have that few groceries where I can actually use the self-checkout, and I’d probably just screw something up at the checkout and need to talk to someone in customer service anyway!

 

3. Leaving a store with a security alarm

Usually leaving a large store like Target provides me with the great feeling of relief that I’m finally getting the hell out of there, but that’s not with a little bit of worry that I’m going to set the buzzer off somehow. Those damn cashiers always seem to forget to remove the security chip!

 

4. Going to the bank

I avoid going to the bank at all costs, mainly because I always use online banking, direct deposit, and the check deposit function of the banking app on my phone. However, when I do go to the bank I feel the anxiety creeping up on me. Are they going to think I look suspicious for some reason? Do I not look like my driver’s license photo? Eek!

 

5. Ordering an alcoholic beverage

On the same level of going to the bank, I always fear that I’m not going to look like the photo on my driver’s license photo for some reason. Not that it stops me from ordering a drink, but it does cause me some anxiety. Plus, I worry that I’m not going to be able to pronounce the name of the drink that I really want to try, so I always settle for the same old. Sigh…

Ordering a drink from a loud bar is a whole different story. I feel like I have to shout it for them to be able to hear me!

 

6. Shaking hands in church

I don’t go to church that often, but I grew up Catholic and during every mass, you’d have to offer other people the “sign of peace” which required shaking hands with the people standing around you. I’d really prefer if I could just stand in place and offer people the peace sign without having to turn around or make any sort of social effort.

 

7. Group dinners, or group anything

Unless I know the people really well, group dinners are pretty much hell on earth. (Though, I’ll always provide a small group over large, in just about any case). Plus, as a vegan, I already take enough shit about the food I eat and don’t eat from the people I DO know, so I’m certainly not interested in taking any crap from the people I DON’T know.

 

8. Starting a new job

This one is super obvious, but I had to throw it in here. Being a socially anxious introvert, I’m basically never going to go out of my way to get to know anyone at work (especially when starting a new job) unless they make the first move. The only exception is if I notice the introvert in them and/or if they are the new employee (for example, that is how I met Robin, the co-creator of this blog)!

Other than that, I’m definitely not going to make any effort at making friends and you’re definitely not going to see me at any after hour dinner or drinks session.

 

9. Holiday gatherings

I’m not a fan of small talk or “catching up” without real purpose, and usually those are the things that holidays require, unless it’s with the people you already know super well and spend a lot of time with.

Plus, is there anything worse than opening gifts and having everyone watch you? Is there anything more overwhelming than talking to 20 different people in a two-hour time period? Plus, one can only dodge so many hugs!

 

10. Talking to the neighbors (or simply being seen by them!)

Maybe it’s because I want to feel safe, secure, and comfortable being a socially anxious introvert in the comfort of my own home, but being outside in the yard while the neighbors are out makes me feel so exposed, like I can’t just sit in the yard enjoying the sounds of nature around me. I’ve gotten better about at least going outside when they’re out, but you’re still not going to see me making small talk with them any time soon.

Alex Beane

Alex is a freelance writer who holds a BA in Professional and Creative Writing. She has a strong interest in veganism, holistic health, and emotional and physical wellbeing. When she isn’t reading and writing about health and wellness, Alex is trying new plant based recipes in the kitchen or can be found volunteering with a Minneapolis-based animal rights organization or local rabbit rescue. Find Alex on LinkedIn or view her writing portfolio.

  • Jeni

    I’m totally with you on 7 of 10! 🙂 I’m really glad someone else hates seeing their neighbors in their yard. Before I moved out, we had a huge yard in Fridley. A retired couple lived next door. They’d sit outside and smoke all day every day in spring and summer. Their lawn chairs faced our yard of all places!! I felt like I was always being watched and couldn’t fully enjoy the yard unless I was out of their sight. :/

    • I totally laughed at loud when I read this – this sounds exactly like how I felt with our old neighbors! Thankfully they moved last winter, but it was the same exact thing. They’d sit out on their deck all day and would just stare at us all the time! It made me so uncomfortable. I felt like I was always being watched. I’m glad I’m not alone!! 🙂