It’s been a long time since I was around a lot of people on a regular basis, so I haven’t experience huge amounts of social anxiety for quite a while. There have been odd days here and there but not prolonged periods like when I was at school or work, avoidance has been doing it’s trick. Now I am at university, however, I am starting to get those feelings again more often. I’ve already missed a few meals because I’ve been too afraid to go into the kitchen because I can hear voices of other people in there who I don’t know. I’ve even got to the point where I came out of my room to get a drink, walked to the door and heard people laughing and shouting and just walked back to my room to hide until they had gone.
One thing I’ve been told several times is that university societies and clubs are good places to meet people, and wanting to try and make some friends I decided that I would challenge myself and go along to some. I really wanted to join the Cine society but unfortunately that wasn’t running 😦 I ended up asking the president of the psychology society if it was ok if I joined now, since I didn’t sign up at the fresher’s fayre and she said yes. Last night they had a film night so after much worrying and arguing with my mum over MSN about going, I eventually plucked up enough courage to go there. Now, one technique you see in a lot of literature about tackling SA involves making predictions about social events or occasions and then going along anyway, then comparing what happened to your prediction and hopefully then realising that you were wrong and things turned out better than you expected. Unfortunately for me, last night was another occasion where what I predicted turned out to be exactly right; the other people there were all friends and knew each other and I ended up on my own looking like a loser. There were only 7 people there and the other 6 were all talking about people they knew and things they had done on previous nights out and stuff, hardly topics I could join in on even if I could bring myself to butt in on others conversations. So that turned out to be useless just like the other times I have been out, other people just don’t go to things alone looking to make friends. Despite what my mum says, it is highly unusual for someone to be my age and have zero friends, everyone else has people to go places with.
I don’t know what to do now really, I’d been told that everyone at uni would be in the same situation; that they wouldn’t know anyone either so they’d all want to make new friends, but that isn’t how it’s turned out for me. Everyone already knew tons of people from college, school or their jobs, on the first afternoon here when I went into the kitchen to say hello to my flatmates, there were already a bunch of their friends in there and I didn’t know who was living here and who wasn’t at first. I didn’t arrive with a prepared social group, I’m alone.