No one is thinking about you nearly as much as you are
Few things produce as much anxiety as being thrown, like chopped meat, into a pack of human strangers.
Enter the room. You know not a sole.
Whether you are type A or type B, the prospect of comfort to this new group is unlikely. You can hear their subconscious quips and criticisms through met eyes and huddled shoulders. They confirm how silly you look and how unwanted you are. Somehow everyone knows exactly your worst fears.
You try justifying their criticism and tell yourself, ‘people tend to like you once they get to know you‘, but these people don’t know you, so how can you find comfort when your comfort is usually found in the familiar.
Strangers are not familiar.
Why so anxious? Judgement, of course, is your primary fear.
‘My jokes won’t be funny, no one will understand’
‘I don’t want to inconvenience anyone with the burden of speaking with me’
‘They won’t like me’
You’re Your Own Worst Enemy
It’s all happening between the ears.
Relax… really, take it easy. Grab a beer, put a smile on that dial and back yourself.
You’ve lived this situation before, was it really that bad last time?
Just this once, try seperate yourself from the centre of your own universe.
Because no one is paying you attention. No one is passing judgement. When the roles are reversed, do you really sit back and judge strangers. Perhaps you do, which is why you expect it for yourself.
When your mate invites some new person to a Sunday BBQ that was supposed to be just ‘the boys’, do you really cast as horrible judgement you seem to be accusing everyone else of casting upon you?
Of course not, because you’re a decent guy. This isn’t a type A, type B, introvert, extrovert, confident, not confident, attractive, not attractive type of thing.
It’s about trusting others and even more so… measuring your own self worth.
The lonely room life has entered you allows you to believe the worst things about yourself. It exposes your naked character to be critiqued and judged in every way you fear it deserves.
You usually have the comfort of your family and friends to cover your flaws, because they understand the context from which they were formed. They know your face gets unusually red when you drink, they know how dry your satire is, they understand which buttons to push and (more importantly) which buttons to avoid.
You don’t have any protection in a room full of strangers.
So How Do You Fit In With Strangers Then?
Accept the truth of the universe that no one cares about you nearly as much as you do.
Your anxiety is wasted energy. It’s self inflicted.
Understand that any judgement made, real or not, is only fleeting. And whoever was paying attention enough to cast it, quickly forgot it and returned the centre of their own universe, returned to further manifest their own doubtful and anxious autobiography.
Everyone has at some time stood in your shoes!
It would be absurd to imagine that only you feel these things. You are not a specially loathsome individual to feel the anxiety you feel.
You are simply human. It’s going to be alright..
So don’t let the beauty of this moment slip.
Step outside of your head, just for a moment… and embrace your naked character.
Put on a smile. Move in a direction.
And embrace the weightless freedom of null anxiety.