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In Which I Decide My "Social Anxiety" Is Actually Low Self-Esteem

Time to exercise some more naval gazing!

I often tell people that I have a small amount of social anxiety. I often dread going to group functions, and will agonize over whether or not I'll actually go up until the moment I actually arrive. I have shown up, and just turned around and gone home before actually finding parking, although that's a pretty rare and extreme occurrence.

When I tell people about this, they often have the response: "Well, you don't seem anxious". Thank you, but that's not really the point. It's almost like they associate social anxiety with social awkwardness. I'm sure there is quite a lot of crossover there, that's really not my issue. I don't end up with panic attacks, or lock up in front of people, I just really have to push myself to make it out on a given night.

For some reason I've been thinking about impostor syndrome a lot lately. My understanding of this is that it's a feeling that you don't deserve the recognition/praise that you receive. "You did really great at the sportsball today" "Thanks, but it's really just the team carrying my worthless ass and then I made a lucky shot".

For the third prong of the "Bryce, what the fuck is wrong with you?" fork: I've definitely got low self-esteem. I'm nearly forty, I'm overweight, balding, and I like to spend my days playing videogames while cuddled up with my three cats. (No, I'm not dating anyone Mom.) Maybe low self-esteem falls under the umbrella of "social anxiety" but since I've never finished a psychology course, I'm going to assume that it's different enough for the purpose of this discussion.

So, why don't I go to more social engagements? Why do I go months, maybe years without seeing some people? On some level, I think that no one actually wants to spend time with me, if they say otherwise, I assume that they're just humoring me, out of pity or something. This is completely irrational, I don't do this with other people, why would they do it with me? As always, that's the problem with irrational feelings, they're hard to rationalize your way past them.

So, I debate: "Do I really want to go there? I'll probable have fun. It'll be nice to see Bob, or Terry. They probably won't care if I'm there. Their night MIGHT even be better if I wasn't there." ad nauseum.

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