I’m sure you have already heard of the saying ‘first impressions last a lifetime,’ and that is how it usually goes when you first meet someone. We often make a judgment when we first meet someone and then that’s how we perceive them for the long run.
Without knowing any facts, when we meet a person and he or she comes off as impolite, we simply label them as someone who is rude or someone who was not raised right.
People with anxiety and especially social anxiety have problems coping with new people and environments, which may come off as offensive and awkward to people who do not suffer from the same disorders.
There is a possibility that the “rude” person has anxiety and they do not mean to come across how they do. You could also be misinterpreting their gestures completely; so here are a few points that might remind you to be a bit more understanding toward people you have just recently met and have no idea about their lives.
Everyone is always happy to go out and have fun with people because who doesn’t? But for some during the last few moments, the anxiety builds up and gets the best of us, and let me tell you this – we will come up with 100 different excuses to not go out. The next step is finally cancelling our plans of going out and the feeling relieved; but do we really feel completely relieved? The answer is no because we feel guilty and terrible at the same time too.
There are times when we come off as unkind or we might also get frustrated over the things that might seem small. Don’t think that we don’t know how we look to you because we know that it’s making us look stupid and harsh; the thing is we don’t really intend to do this. It is just our anxiety that is making us do things and we have almost no control over it. When it’s all over, we do feel terrible.
While two or more people are conversing, we might interrupt them. Not because we don’t respect them or their conversation, but simply because we know we will probably forget what is on our mind two minutes later. We are aware of how much it irritates people but we’re unable to stop ourselves and after its done, the conclusion is the same – we feel terrible.
Not making eye contact with people while they are talking to us is sort of unkind, and it may come across as if we are uninterested, but sometimes we are unable to do so not because we are rude and we are trying to drop the conversation, but it’s simply because we are too anxious to look you in the eye.
The most common thing you will see in people with this disorder is that we will usually be seen using our phones in group settings and that is a very impolite gesture, but it is our escape – an escape from our anxiety. It keeps us busy and our mind focused.
When we are not in our ideal state, we do not lead people on. We make it clear through our gestures that we do not want you to waste your time, energy and effort on us simply because right now, we don’t want you to.
Intentionally avoiding someone in public is sort of our reflex move. This reflex is not because we do not want to be seen out with you in public or because we are avoiding any contact with you. It’s because of sudden fear and anxiety that takes over us. We do not want to make a situation awkward by saying something stupid or saying anything at all.
Our coping mechanism works very … weirdly. We might get very sarcastic when we are anxious or become really defensive, which might be unkind and not fun for people around us. Understand, that at that time, we need a little space and we will be alright on our own because it’s our attempt to create space.