Me: I hate feeling so lonely all the time, I just wish I could make some friends.
Anxiety: Make friends? No. You can’t do that! You’re safe at home by yourself. Besides, people don’t tend to like you, remember? They always think you’re boring and awkward and unattractive and annoying and…
Me: Okay, I get it but I don’t want to be alone anymore. I want to have fun, maybe join a club or something?
Anxiety: A club?! No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Absolutely not!
You can’t do that. Every club you’ve ever joined, you’ve always quit. You’ve always been the shy, awkward one in the corner that everyone ignored. Remember how awful you felt? Always feeling like you didn’t belong, uncomfortable, self conscious, anxious.
Me: Oh yeah, I forgot about that.
Anxiety: You’re inadequate, socially inept, never good enough, or fun enough, or pretty enough, or interesting enough, or smart enough, or funny enough. I mean, honestly what do you even have to offer and can you even begin to imagine what could go wrong?
Me: I haven’t actually thought about it… like what?
Anxiety: EVERYTHING! How are you even going to join a club? Make the first move and talk to somebody? How? Where? Randomly message them online? What are you going to say? ‘Hi, you don’t know me but I’ve found this online and thought that I might like to be apart of the club, by the way I struggle with social anxiety so I’ll probably be a right mess when you first meet me’
What if they think you’re desperate and needy? What if they completely misunderstand you? What if you instantly make a bad first impression and you haven’t even met them yet? And then you’ll have to meet everyone else and what if you stand out like a sore thumb? Where would you meet them? A pub? A public place? What if you have to drive there by yourself and get lost? What if there’s no parking and you don’t know what to do? Or what if you can’t park properly and everybody watches you try? What if you walk in by yourself and can’t find them? I mean you’re basically searching for a bunch of people you’ve never met. What if you walk in and they all just stop and stare? What would you do then? How would you deal with that? What if you don’t belong and end up wearing the wrong thing and they all just look at you and judge? What if you don’t understand what they’re talking about and have to awkwardly sit or stand there with a vacant look upon your face? What if you say the wrong thing, mix up your words or can’t think of anything to say at all? What if they think you’re stupid or boring? What if nobody actually likes you and you’re just awkwardly there, feeling like an outsider? What if nobody comes to talk to you? What would you do then?
Me: Oh wow, that’s a lot to take in. I hadn’t thought of these things before.
Anxiety: Well? What would you do?
Me: I…. I don’t know.
Anxiety: Exactly! See, I knew you wouldn’t be able to handle it. That’s why it’s best to just avoid it altogether. You’re fine where you are and most importantly, you’re safe.
Me: Yeah, I suppose you’re right.