As a person with anxiety, I know how hard everyday activities can be- the worst of them being having to engage in conversation. I am also painfully aware of how completely irrational I am when it comes to conversing with another human being. It is actually quite comical if you think about it. So, if you would like to know what goes on in a person with anxiety's head or if you are a person with anxiety and want to laugh at yourself, read on.
(Author's note: Wouldn't it be horrible if I was the only one who feels like this in a conversation? My anxiety is acting up already and I haven't even published this yet.)
First and foremost, try to avoid people to the best of your ability. Never go out to bars. Never say "yes" when people ask you to hang out. And, if you see someone you know walking in your direction on the street, bury your head in your phone and act like you are responding to a very important text message. Another option could be to change your direction all together. Be sure to do this even if you like the person approaching you.
Please note that even people with anxiety are human. We need person-to-person contact sometimes too. If you find yourself desperately needing interaction, consider going out to a movie or a loud concert. These kind of activities are best for people with anxiety because you won't need to actually partake in conversation during them. Instead, you can pretend to be engrossed in the plot or completely captivated by the music.
Another option would be to spend ridiculous amounts of time with your closest family members. People like your mom or dad think you are absolutely amazing so you know you can't do anything to mess up that image they have of you. However, hanging out with your parents after a certain age for large amounts of time can be considered uncool. Resort to this option at your own risk. Now, if you absolutely, absolutely cannot avoid conversation any longer, here are some steps to approach talking with another person.
1. Think of the statement you'd like to say to the other human.
Repeat it again and again in your head until it sounds perfect.
2. Find the exact right time to initiate conversation with this well-thought out statement.
3. Think of an exit strategy.
You have to be as specific as possible because otherwise you will come across as rude.
4. Once you have completed steps 1 - 3, it is time to initiate conversation.
Give yourself a pep talk. "You can do this! You've done it before!"
5. Repeat yourself a million times in an effort to reduce confusion.
6. Constantly analyse everything you're contributing to the conversation including the pitch of your voice, the depth of your responses, your vocabulary, and if you're taking too many pauses.
7. Think about everything the other person is saying as a code.
If he or she says "smell" instead of "scent," for instance, break away from the conversation as soon as possible because that obviously means you need to reapply deodorant.
8. Be sure to repeat this thinking process over and over until the conversation is finished.
9. After every interaction, scrutinize every detail of what you just said and store it in your long-term memory so you can think about it for years afterward.
There you have it- how to have a conversation like a person with anxiety. If you have any questions, please be sure to direct them to me via email so I can reread my response 100 times to ensure I don't have any grammar errors, I am coming across as polite, I formatted it in a way that looks professional...
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