I’m loath to blog again today, but I just remembered something that happened on Shabbat that I should have mentioned.  As usual, I didn’t stay long at the kiddush (refreshments) after the morning service at shul (synagogue).  As I walked out, briskly, as is my wont (not least because I was struggling a bit with social anxiety and more with OCD), someone called after me, “You’re always in a hurry to leave!”  This was the same guy who said a while back that I should have gone to yeshiva (rabbinical seminary), thus reinforcing a lot of negative thoughts I have about myself and my social and romantic prospects because of that decision; now he was reinforcing my social anxiety by saying I should stay at events even when no one is talking to me and I’m feeling really out of place, or perhaps that I shouldn’t walk quickly home (even though it was raining!).

I thought of several sarcastic or meaningful retorts to the “You’re always in a hurry” comment on my way home, but was too late to say them (l’esprit de l’escalier).  Of course, I would have been too shy to say them even if I had thought of them in time.  But I guess what comes to mind now is, “Yes, I am always in a hurry to leave, because I have no friends here and I’m worried about people judging me.  Like you did just now.”  It’s all very well my former date and my parents saying I shouldn’t care what other people think, but sometimes it hurts.  Likewise, it’s hard to accept the advice of my CBT book that I should be able to ‘prove’ to myself that other people don’t think negatively of me when I have a lot of evidence that they do and while some of this evidence is perhaps out of date (coming from my childhood), as this incident shows, some of it is more recent.

I don’t know if this is related to why I’ve been so down since getting dumped, when I coped pretty well with several previous romantic rejections in the last six months or so, being a bit down for a few days, but not so depressed and certainly not for such a long period.  Granted there was a bit more of a relationship this time and my hopes for the relationship were higher, but perhaps some of the depression is related to being lectured on how I could be more eligible if I was less “frightened” of other people and cared less about what they thought of me.  It was probably meant well (but then most bad things are), but it left me feeling not “We aren’t right for each other” but, “I’m broken, no one could ever be right for me.”  Then again, that’s really no different from the woman who dumped me over my mental health issues (and chickened out of telling me straight) and I think I got over that much more quickly.  Of course, it doesn’t help that my therapist is away.

Incidentally, I don’t know if I really don’t have any friends in shul.  There are a couple of people I talk to a little and who seem to like me a bit, but I find it hard to sustain a real conversation.  Does that mean they aren’t my friends?  I don’t know.  I haven’t had many Shabbat meal invitations (one and a half, really in about seventeen months going to this shul) whereas single people at Orthodox shuls are, I understand, usually inundated with them, although I suppose things are complicated by my wearing a tallit (prayer shawl) which normally denotes that a man is, or has been, married, so maybe some people don’t realize I’m single.

3 thoughts on “Social Anxiety, Again

  1. This is why I no longer go to shul (I’m still from though). This is very well written and I look forward to reading more of your stuff!!! If you’re having friendship issues, come check out my blog (not advertising – i really think it will help). If you do, read it in order (otherwise you’ll get confused). You seem like a really cool person so good luck with everything x


  2. Thanks! I don’t think I’ve ever been called “a really cool person” before! I had a look at your blog, it seems very good, I’ll try to read through all of it when I get the chance.


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