What that means is that sometimes I get tongue-tied and don’t know what to say. Sometimes I let conversations run inside my head but worry about what the possible outcome of them will be, and end up saying nothing. Sometimes I quite literally have nothing to say whatsoever. And sometimes I do say something and don’t get the reaction I expected and consequently feel weird.
As you might expect, this makes the prospect of “making friends” a fairly terrifying one. Obviously I have made friends over the years, otherwise I wouldn’t have any right now, but I can never quite remember how it happened. In some cases, it was a simple matter of being thrown together in some context — living together, studying together, working together — but in others, it’s not quite so clear.
While I am more than happy with the friends I do have, I do sometimes wish I could have more. That may sound greedy, but the fact is that I don’t get to actually see the friends I have all that often. The vast majority of them live in the States (thank you, Internet) and the others live just far enough away for it to be A Big Effort to go and see them. And, you know, sometimes I just want people to play board games with. I bought a copy of Legend of Drizzt, one of the cooperative Dungeons & Dragons adventure games, this week and I’m hoping I get the chance to play it more than once or twice. If I had more friends (who liked board gaming) then I’d be able to play it more often — at the moment, however, it’s determined largely by mutual availability and whether at least one of us can be bothered to drive about 50 miles. I’m more than happy to for the prospect of board game fun, but it’s the former bit that can be tricky sometimes. Hopefully if and when Andie and I manage to move a bit closer to Southampton it’ll be a bit easier to be more spontaneous — as it stands, however, it’s a relatively rare treat to see people.
This is all rather self-pitying I know, but I direct you back to the first line of this post. Social anxiety makes the act of making new friends — even the prospect of just talking to strangers — a terrifying and difficult prospect. Even in an environment that should be “friendly” — I know there’s a local board game shop in Bristol that does games evenings, for example, but I don’t even feel especially confident about that. My mind gets caught in a cycle of “what ifs” and I just end up deciding not to go.
Perhaps one day I’ll get over this social anxiety and be more confident about making new friends and considering that people might actually want to spend time with me if they don’t have to. That day is not today, however, which means that I’m all the more grateful for the friends I do have and the time I do get to spend with them.
Anyone fancy a game of Legend of Drizzt?