Tag: relationships

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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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.

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.

Being Patient With Yourself When Learning

As I’ve talked about in other posts, I’ve learned a lot lately about conflict resolution skills. I’ve made a commitment to myself to use them from now on when I’m dealing with conflicts, but I’ve slipped up a few times along the way. I was telling my therapist how much I regret that.

She said something that helped me forgive myself and move forward: “Do you expect a kindergartner to be able to write a 12th grade paper?” Now I see myself as a student working to master a subject. I realize now that it’s okay to need some practice at a skill before mastering it. If you’re trying to learn to get better at something, keep in mind what my therapist said about the kindergartner. Since you’d be understanding of the kindergartner, extend the same understanding to yourself.

Why I Won’t Pace in Public Anymore When I’m Upset

I had a horrible day today. When I was at the bus plaza, I was so upset that I started pacing inside. My emotions were running so wild that I wasn’t paying attention to where I was going. I accidentally walked really close to a mother with her two small children. We did an awkward dance around each other and the mother said, “Fuck, lady.” Although I’ve talked about learning conflict resolution skills, I admit I faltered and didn’t react well. She followed me across the street to keep yelling at me. Security guards at the plaza tried to placate her while I made an escape.

I’ve been thinking more about that encounter. I thought at first that she was just a giant asshole, but I see now that I did, although unintentionally, invade her and her children’s personal space. She didn’t know what was going on in my mind, so she may have thought I did it on purpose to antagonize them.

This incident reminds me of another time I paced while upset in (sort of) public. I was in an assisted living facility at the time, and I was pacing up and down the hallway. Someone thought I was on my way to his room and yelled at me, accusing me of trying to break in. I thought at first he was just a giant asshole, too, but looking back, maybe I didn’t realize how close to his room I had gotten, and it really did make it look like I was trying to break in.

I wish that people wouldn’t keep making negative assumptions about my intentions. It’s really hurtful. However, at least in part, I can kinda see how these two people might’ve taken me as a threat due to my lack of attention during emotionally charged pacing.

I think that two incidents is the beginning of a pattern. Pacing while upset in public seems to cause trouble for me. I wanna break this pattern. From now on, if I get upset while I’m around other people, I’ll sit or stay in one place until I can calm myself down. I’m not sure yet how to get myself to calm down. I’ll talk to my therapist about that tomorrow and share what I’ve learned here later.

Edited on 8/15/17 to add: my mommy just suggested, “Maybe you could pace somewhere people would expect it, like at a park.” I’m willing to try it, but I’ll still be careful to do things like look ahead instead of at the ground so that I don’t disturb anyone. There’s a beautiful park downtown with lots of birdies that I like. If I feel the need to pace when I’m upset again, I’ll go there to walk my feelings off.