I love my friends. I love them to burning pieces. I love their energy, I love their passion, I love the way they inspire me to be better. I love meeting new people and making new friends. It’s just in our nature to network with other people because we’re meant to coexist. I like the way we can talk for hours about complete nonsense and then go completely quiet, just to enjoy the space we’re in together. I love going out together and being a part of a collective excitement. I just love that feeling you get when you enjoy being around other people. And that’s sounds so far from “antisocial” if you ask me.
Maybe it’s the way I’m hesitant to agree to go out or the way I have my days where “I just don’t feel like being around people”. And that’s entirely okay to feel. It’s doesn’t mean I’m not sociable, though.
Imagine this: your best friend asks you a simple question and before you can answer, you feel yourself about to vomit. Or maybe you’re on your way home, trying to navigate your way to the bus stop through a thick crowd of people but you just happened to nudge someone a little to abruptly, and it creates a scene. Or maybe you dropped something that broke and made a loud noise, drawing every pair of eyes in the room toward you. None of this really happened. In reality, you answered the question, you made it to the bus stop, and nothing broke. But the vivid slideshow played through your mind the entire time up until you completed the task – if you’re lucky enough for it not to linger after.
The thing is, some people don’t have to take a moment and only imagine what this is like. Some people deal with this regularly. Going out to parties sounds like so much fun until the idea that you might make a fool of yourself zooms across your mind just as you’re about to say yes. Leaving the house in general sounds like a risk so long as there are people involved, for fear of the unknown. There are plenty of people who love to spark up a conversation and seem very approachable in that respect. But as much as it seems that they’re at ease, they could be worrying about and censoring words they want to say because they never know how the other party will respond.
And no. We’re not “shy”. There’s a perfectly good chance that someone out there would describe themselves as “shy” or “meek” that deal with this as well, but reluctance to socialize does not automatically equal “shy” or “antisocial”.
It’s better known as social anxiety or sociophobia, and it is exactly what it sounds like. It’s being weary about being social. It’s being unnerved with the idea that you’ll never know how interacting with someone will go until it happens. It’s knowing that you’ll almost never be able to “just talk to them” with a clear mind. It’s being told not to be so “antisocial” when you’re not against being social but you don’t favor the idea of the act of socializing being a wild card. These people have so much love in their heart for those they hold close and, in an ideal world, it’s enough to overcome our most controlling anxieties and fears; but we live in this one, where nothing is perfect, and we worry about how our conversations will go. Yet, we still have them because our weakness doesn’t define us.
Understand that we’re not “antisocial”; we want to socialize and be viewed as sociable. We’re not inherently “shy”; we’re open to making new friends and meeting new people. We’re not incapable of interpersonal connections. We just need more breathing space. We just want you to understand that we want things to go smoothly, and it makes us worry. So don’t be too bothered if we decline an invitation or two. Regardless of how many public events we go to together, you’re still dear to our hearts. Don’t let that slip your mind when we come off as “antisocial” next time.