The Social Animal

Ever wondered about the term “social anxiety”? Not “fraternization under-achievement”, or “network procrastination”, or even “interaction unwillingness”. But raw anxiety. It’s a diagnosis, I’ve looked it up, and I hereby claim it. It’s the cape I scramble under to hide the other mentioned terms.

The encyclopedic elaboration of the term “Social anxiety” is long and tiresome. Fortunately, my journalistic background allows me to take things out of context and make it sweet and short: “It can occur at different times of life, and for different reasons”.

Some never come out of it, but marinate in the unfortunate soup like stressed-out pickles. The rest of us accidentally step in the anxiety thing only now and then. We blush, stammer and wipe our clammy hands whenever life urges us to leave our comfort zone and flaunt more social skills than we honestly believe we can muster.

But again, social anxiety might pop up at some point in life just to, poof, go away again later on. That means I hardly speak for all of us right now. So maybe it’s not you. It’s me.

Back in the days when I was young and optimistic – last month – I honestly believed that if I miraculously got more time on my hands, I would be more social. Bah! Humbug! Even during nice, slack holidays I turn out to be all too much like the old me. I never remember birthdays, and when I bite the bullet and give someone a long due call, you can bet that I’ve been rolling it around in my skull for quite a while. I’m a lousy friend and a disappointing daughter. For some obscure reason they still stick with me. Maybe because I’m low maintenance, but most probably they’re waiting for the person that I truly am – to my own mind: A social person, who’d love to have people dropping by, or do some dropping myself, throw occasional parties, bring a pie over to the neighbors and touch base every day with the folks back home.

Working the social scene can be such a bother. I mean, not necessarily to the point of breaking out in cold sweat. It’s more like an obstacle that it’s tempting to leave unattended. And to make matters worse, it is all too easy to find the loop holes: It’s too hot outside to go visit, or too cold. It’s too late in the day, or too early. One shouldn’t bother people on work days, and they’re probably away for the weekend. Even if you’re not busy, there’s a good chance that they are. Besides, personally, I would like to catch up with old acquaintances when I look my best, am at the peek at my career and just happen to be in the neighborhood. Is that too much to ask?!

Since social anxiety occurs occasionally, like a common cold or something, it’s probably best to wait it out until one feel perky and extrovert. Mom said there would be days like this, right? She just didn’t say how many. And so time goes by. Even though today probably is the very diem one was meant to carpe.

“Live each day like it’s your last” is another word of wisdom in this regard. But, seriously, one would be exhausted from doing all the social calls, taking farewell. And who would like to exhaust themselves on their last living day? Exactly! Au contraire, one should be far better off living  each day like it’s ones first; Nice and slow, like one got all the time in the world to pop up and call on peoples’ attention. Why, if forty is the new twenty, I really do have time on my side.

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3 thoughts on “The Social Animal

  1. We should form a club of bad friends and dissapointing daughters.
    Different disorder here, but many of the same symptoms… ;>

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