Ask Amber: Amber helps a guy get over social anxiety, sort of

By | April 11, 2012 at 9:38 am | 2 comments | Ask Amber, feature slider, Features | Tags: , , , ,

Knock Knock Knock!

I’m glad there are three knocks and not two. I am in no mood to write a knock knock joke.

This week’s question!

Hi, Amber:

I have extreme social anxiety. It’s to the point where I have minor attacks at grocery stores if I have to talk to someone. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’ve tried drinking and taking pills to calm my nerves, but I just get sleepy and groggy. I don’t really like it. I’ve always been shy and nervous, but it’s getting really bad. I went from hanging out with friends once in awhile to not at all. I work from home. I can do everything from my computer so I don’t HAVE to go anywhere. I interact with people on Facebook, but that’s about it. I pretend to go places. I even pull random pictures of nature and buildings off the internet and post them as if I took them. I have this virtual social life and it’s all bullshit. I’m lonely and I feel insane.

How can I get over this?

Thanks
Home Alone Harry

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Holy Holy, Home Alone Harry. First of all, I’m sorry you’re struggling and feel alone and live a lie on Facebook. If it makes you feel any better, we all live a lie on Facebook. Don’t beat yourself up over it. One time, I posted a picture of a sandwich that I didn’t even make. The caption read, “Ah, just another successful day in the kitchen.” Everyone believed me! If you ever want to spice up your virtual environment, I have lots of pictures of people who remind me of Sissy Spacek (I love her). I can send them to you if you want. You can Photoshop all the wide-eyed, dirty blonde ladies into your pictures! Home Alone Harry and Sissy look-alikes just changed their status from ‘single’ to ‘in a relationship!’

Alright, you probably don’t want to socialize because you have a deep fear of rejection. It’s easier for you to stay home. You can’t fail at relationships if you don’t try, right? You are winning at socializing by not failing at it. This makes you a social genius. NOT. PSYCH OUT. SORRY. YOU ARE NOT A SOCIAL GENIUS. YOU HAVE MAJOR PROBLEMS AND NEED TO GET OUT OF YOUR HOUSE.

Hopefully you’re a hoarder. If not, it might be a good idea to start hoarding– so that the health department will come and kick you out. Do you have nine dead cats in your toilet? Good. Do you sleep on old rusty car parts? Perfect. Are you unable to look out your windows because they are blocked by banana peels, dirty underwear, prosthetic legs, juju beads, regular beads, re-fried beans, jelly beans, ceramic Precious Moment angels and extension cords? Victory will be yours! You will be evicted any minute and will be on your way out the door and into the real word, sir! You will be forced to meet new people and have new experiences. HOARD HOARD HOARD!

If you aren’t a hoarder, congratulations on taking out the trash.

You need some friends, Harry. A good way to socialize with someone face to face is to have a pizza delivered. Invite the delivery person in for a chat. You can say “Hey, thanks for the pizza. Do you want to come in and have a conversation with me? I’m afraid of people and am trying to get over it.” They might say, “No thanks” or “Sure.”

If they say “No thanks,” slam the door in their face, run over to your computer, post pictures of Sissy Spacek look-a-likes on your Facebook page and watch the “likes” pour in. This’ll help numb your feelings. If you need to masturbate, go for it.

If they say “Sure,” offer them a comfortable place to sit and ask them if they want a slice of pizza. Hopefully, they’ll be a talker and will talk about themselves and you can just sit back, listen and respond with, “Oh cool” or “Yeah” when necessary. But, you must prepare for the worst. What if they eat all the pizza and don’t say a word? They could also steal all your shit. Don’t sweat it, this world is full of assholes and this’ll be good practice for you. Whatever you do, don’t give up. Keep trying to communicate with people.

Here are some good conversation starters:

1. Tell a story about a time you almost died and/or a story about the time you went to prison. People love this crap. If you don’t have a story like this, go out and get one! Push yourself off a cliff or rob a taco truck and go to prison. You need stories. Whatever you do, DO NOT tell people about the good stuff going on in your life. People DO NOT like to hear about others’ good fortunes. It makes them jealous, resentful and bitter. Be sure to keep it awful.

Ok, I guess I only have one example for conversation starters. Sorry.

On to your distaste for booze and pills: It’s a blessing and curse that you don’t really like these things. I mean, they could eventually kill you– so hooray for you not liking them. But, on the other hand, booze and pills could really make you feel like a social hero. You’d say the funniest things at parties, maybe you’d nail a dance move like the robot, then you’d black out and wake up next to a girl who also enjoys booze and pills.

Is she pretty? It’s hard to tell, her face is covered in tear smudged mascara.

Was she crying? Oh yeah, she was telling you how awful her childhood was while you were having sex with her. Later, after she leaves, you might send texts to each other, especially if you got her pregnant. Millions of people use brain altering substances to help them socialize, it may not be your thing now, but keep it in mind.

On a serious note, a lot of people struggle with social anxiety. We care too much about what people think about us. The good news is, most people aren’t thinking about us. They are thinking about themselves. When you start to panic, think, “Nobody gives a shit about me.” It sounds twisted but it’ll help you relax. Remember– the focus isn’t on you. And, here is where the paradox comes in. If you’re around someone, shift the focus on them (without judgement) and just be nice. Instead of trying to impress them, ask questions about their life. It’s the kind thing to do.

Ok. I have to go now. Let me know if you’re ever in LA, I will deliver a pizza to you.

Peace,
Amber

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Featured Artist: Dave Marca is a graphic designer living in Northern Colorado. He naturally gravitates towards drawing penises on things, no homo. Check him out at thefoolscorner.com.

About the Author

Amber Tozer

Amber Tozer is a stand-up comic and writer living in Los Angeles. She finds human behavior both hilarious and horrifying. Follow her on Twitter @AmberTozer

  • unrelated_stories

    Something like this happened to me once.  I was eating in a Subway restaurant and all of the napkins were out.  So I had to use paper towels from the bathroom!  It was insane. 

  • faithchoyce

    I fucking love this.