I have weird habits, hobbies, and thoughts. Sometimes in conversation those things surface and I say weird things.
I can be self deprecating and completely geeky. I can be rude and a bit oblivious. I can be ditzy and downright strange. It’s okay to be some of those things some of the time.
As a person with ongoing anxiety, both social and general, I sometimes feel nervous about how to act and therefore don’t act right. Or don’t know what to say and consequently say weird things.
I’m not always sure if people are laughing with me or at me so I lean towards self deprecation. That way, if they are laughing at me, I’m laughing too. Unfortunately, too much self-deprecation makes it seem like I either don’t care enough to be genuine or genuinely feel disappointed in myself.
When I try to move from self-deprecating to genuine I can find myself falling into zealously geeky. There is nothing wrong with being geeky or geeked about things that I find wonderful. The problem arises when I’m wholly geeked about something and sharing it with the wrong people. People who find it silly and bizarre.
It’s hard to explain what it feels like to start at social anxiety, where there’s a genuine feeling of fear and anxiousness about interacting with people, and end at that thing I love being chuckled at. Back to self deprecation…
So, what’s my solution?
Don’t Say Weird Things.
1. Don’t say things I’d be upset if people laughed at.
I don’t mean to be bitchy and selective, I meant to be careful. Some people are the perfect people to talk to about video games, but don’t really get comic books. It’s rude and sets me up to be disappointed when they don’t get why it’s awesome to me. Or worse, dismiss it out of hand. I’m boring people and pushing them away by not discussing things we have in common.
Some people are more open to learning about things that excite others. Once I figure out the difference between those people and the one just politely engaging in conversation, I’ll see about sharing my passions with them.
2. Don’t complain and vent for the sake of it to whoever will listen.
Having been on the receiving end of these vents, I can honestly say they’re bullshit. They get old. and they’re annoying. I try to be a polite listener but don’t sometimes it gets out of hand and people don’t realize they’ve taken a mile. This winging and venting, while necessary, is dangerous. I don’t want to be mental dumping ground for other people. And I don’t want anyone to think I’m petty, jealous, lazy, or just a shitty person who can’t be happy for others. Which is what I think when people make a habit of bitching for the sake of it.
3. Don’t talk about family to non-family.
This is just about loyalty. I’m sure my mother talks about me to my father and my sister, but I’d be taken aback to hear she gripes about me to her co-workers. Unless we’re on reality TV, I expect family matters to stay private. It’s not a matter of what I want to say or how much I trust this person, it’s a matter of would my Husband/Sister/Mother etc. want this person to know this thing about them or understand my need to talk about them to this specific person.
4. Don’t lie or tell people about lies or other unscrupulous things they may disagree with.
It’s not only a matter of lying it’s also a matter of being consistent. Nothing makes me give someone the side eye like being inconsistent in their words and deeds. If I want someone to trust me, step one isn’t saying, “Trust me.” It’s being trustworthy.
The second point is remembering that honesty exists in degrees. Some people think pirating music is terribly dishonest and unscrupulous, others think it’s just files and musicians make money other ways… Whatever! The point is Religion, Politics, and Morally questionable activities are topics to be avoided.
5. Don’t say negative things about things that may be important to people.
Similar to avoiding conversations about my morals or theirs, it’s important to avoid insulting things that may be important to others.I don’t really like kids. But I won’t go into detail about that when someone brings theirs up in conversation. Just like I don’t want to hear anyone drone on about how video games are lame and anti-social. STFU; you don’t know my life. And I don’t know yours; So I’ll STFU too.
[If you're wondering what Step 1 was, it's over here.]