Category: Relationships and Social Skills

I’ll Manage My Relationship Anxiety, but I Also Accept it

Earlier, I wrote about how someone recently accused me of being too formal and cancelled our date cuz I asked him what his expectations were for communication after he suddenly went from messaging me all day, every day to barely messaging me. I asked me therapist if I did something wrong, and she said no – that he and I just aren’t the right match.

I have anxiety, and interactions with people are one of my biggest anxiety buttons. I’ve decided  that, since I bring my anxiety up respectfully, take responsibility for it, and don’t talk about it too frequently, it’s okay for me to bring up my anxiety, and right person for me, as well as the right friends, will be people who can be patient with me and can appreciate direct, vulnerable communication. Everyone has flaws, and it’s okay for me to have this flaw as long as I do my best to manage it. My flaw can also be a strength, since it enables me to catch relationship issues early on before they get bigger.

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Never Mind About That Date

After getting rejected last weekend, I put myself back out there and tried to set up a date for Monday. At first, he said, “I’d love to!” but he ended up cancelling. He said that I’m too formal.

Earlier, he went from messaging me throughout the day every day to suddenly slowing way down. The first time he took all day to reply to a message, I didn’t say anything about it. He messaged me himself to apologize and say he thought he had answered. The second time it happened, I messaged him the next day to ask if he wanted to wait until the date to continue talking.

He said that he has trouble remembering to use the dating site and asked if we could use another app, so I added him on Facebook. He started a conversation on Facebook, and he told me that it seemed really formal of me to ask a question like that. He said that he’s used to fucking around more with people. I didn’t feel good about that. I ended our conversation a while later to have lunch. After lunch, I messaged him again to say that I felt bad about how he criticized me when I made myself vulnerable trying to find out what was going on. I said that his comment about fucking around made me feel pressured to try to be entertaining, and I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. I added that before that, he had been very complimentary, and this was the second major change in his demeanor that I had seen already.

He replied saying that he didn’t wanna be a source of stress for me or for me to feel like I have to change. He said that he wanted to get to know me. Our conversation ended with him saying “Good vibes.”

However, he later messaged me saying that he wanted to cancel. It makes me anxious when someone changes their behavior, and I got burned really badly from trying to share my concerns with him. It has been a pattern for me to get anxious about a friendship or relationship and then for the other person to dismiss my concerns or even reject me altogether for it. I’m in so much pain. It’s hard to keep trying to build the social life I want and find a partner, but I want these things so badly that even with my difficulties weighing heavily on me, my social needs compel me to keep trying.

I’m gonna bring this up at my next therapy appointment, but I’m afraid that my therapist will think that it’s my fault that this keeps happening to me. I’m afraid of being judged. I’ll make another post about this sometime this week to share my therapist’s thoughts on the subject and how I feel about her input.

Staying Hopeful About a Goal After Rejection

Earlier this week, I wrote about how I got rejected on a first date and how I dealt with it. Another tip that I have for coping with rejection is to keep looking for other opportunities. I got back on OkCupid and messaged someone else. Now I have a date with him on Monday. If I had given up, I wouldn’t have a date to look forward to now.

Another example of being persistent after rejection is J.K Rowling. She said that she received “loads of rejections” before Harry Potter was published.

If you keep trying, the odds are good that someone will eventually respond favorably.

Dealing With Social Rejection

Yesterday, I went on a first date with someone I met on OkCupid. He ended the date after only half an hour and said that it was nice meeting me without adding anything else, like that he had a good time.

I spent hours yesterday and today googling things like “reasons you rejected someone,” trying to figure out what I did wrong, but I wasn’t able to find much information. The only thing left is for me to look for ways to cope.

I’m trying to keep in mind that there are people who enjoy my company. For example, I recently ran into a former neighbor, Isaiah, and he invited me to hang out with him at the library, which we’re doing tomorrow.

Since rejection makes me feel helpless, cuz it’s outside of my control, I’m doing something that I can control by posting on my blog. This is also helping me cope.

 

A Friendship Didn’t Work Out

I mentioned earlier that I was worried that my friendship with Kellie wouldn’t last, and I turned out to be right. We’re both going through stressful times in our lives. I became more anxious, and she became inconsistent, cancelling plans at the last minute or even not showing up without telling me she couldn’t make it, which spiked my anxiety even more.

I couldn’t handle it anymore and ended the friendship. I take responsibility for my role in our problems. We were in a cycle of neediness on my part and inconsistency on her part. I could’ve been more understanding. I’m not sure yet if I’ll need to limit myself to being friends with people who are able to be reliable to protect myself from anxiety, or if I’ll get to a point that I can handle my anxiety well enough to be more understanding of people who act like this.

I’m sad about the end of our friendship. I remember when she told me that I have a kind heart and that she looked forward to learning about my and my outlook on life. I felt the same way about her. What she said was a big boost to my self esteem, since people had complained before about how boring I am. I’m self conscious now about if people are having enough fun when we’re hanging out. Now the healing effect has been undone. My anxiety contaminated our friendship, and I find myself wondering if she’s glad that it’s over.

I keep ruminating about how things could’ve gone differently.

I’m trying to keep in mind that I don’t have much social experience. It was only a few months ago that I finally started to understand, thanks the my therapist, how making conversation works. Since I was mostly nonverbal for most of my life, I didn’t have much experience socializing. During what little socializing I did, I mostly just sat quietly with the other person till they got bored and moved on. Due to my lack of experience, I shouldn’t expect myself to be perfectly smooth at relationships right now. With this insight, I’m able to forgive myself for this failure and begin moving on.

Using Empathy to Deal With Rejection

Using empathy when someone says no to us can help us can ease the pain of feeling rejected (Rosenberg 121).

My friend Kellie recently moved to another state. We were planning to meet for dinner before she moved as a farewell. On the same day we were gonna meet, she cancelled without offering to reschedule, and at first, I assumed that meant that she didn’t wanna be friends anymore. My first instinct was to disengage, but then I remembered what I read about empathy. I said that I hoped she was okay, and I asked her if she was feeling pressured by all of the things she needed to get done before she moved. I said that I was afraid she didn’t wanna be friends anymore. She said that she was dealing with family issues and wanted to video chat after she moved. I’m glad that, instead of just not reaching out to her anymore, I expressed concern for her wellbeing, opened up about my anxiety, and tried to understand how she was feeling. If I had stuck to my initial instinct and assumption, I could’ve lost a friendship.

I asked my mommy if I could stay with her while I look for a place cuz my current living environment is difficult. She turned down my request, and I was really hurt. I thought that she must not care that I’m having a hard time. I felt like disengaging from that relationship, too. Again, I remembered what I read about empathy, and tried to find out more about what was going through her mind. She told me that she has become very introverted and needs alone time in order to process the information in her mind. She also worries about doing something wrong when she’s around people, which contributes to social situations draining a lot of her energy. I was better able to understand that turning down my request wasn’t about not caring about me, but about her needs. I think that empathy saved my relationship with her, too.

I’m sharing my stories to illustrate Rosenberg’s principle, and in case they help someone else who could be having difficulties with their relationships. My experience has taught me that empathy has a healing effect on relationships.

Works Cited

Rosenberg, Marshall B. Nonviolent Communication. PuddleDancer Press, 2015. Print.

Take Anything Less than an Enthusiastic Yes as a No

The writer of a letter to an advice column, who kept persisting when women responded ambiguously to their romantic overtures, was told to take ambiguous answers in the future as a no (Captain Awkward). This is an important social skill cuz some people are uncomfortable with rejecting someone directly. While it’s okay to prefer a different type of communication, it’s still important to respect their boundaries. Taking an unenthusiastic response as a no will also protect you cuz it’ll prevent wasting your energy on someone who isn’t interested. It’s a win win!

Here are some examples of enthusiastic responses to look for:

  • “That sounds fun!”
  • “I’d love to.”
  • “Yes.”

I made similar mistakes when I was younger. For example, when I was in high school, I asked someone out from the running team. He said, “I don’t want to date during running season.” I waited until the season for practice ended and then asked him out again, and he got upset. I’m more cautious now. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve just let go, partly so that he wouldn’t get upset, and partly cuz it’s better to hold out for someone who’ll wanna make time for me even if they have a busy schedule. I recently reconnected with two old friends, and the warm responses I got when I asked them about getting together or scheduling an im session felt so much better than the lukewarm response from my long ago crush. Holding out for people who show enthusiasm about you is worth it!

Works Cited

“#1009: Persistence is grossly overrated in dating and romance.” Captain Awkward. 14 Aug. 2017. Web. 3 Sept. 2017.