Mental Health

What I Want New Friends to Know About My Anxiety

Lately, I’ve been trying to meet more people, whether it’s to date or just to make friends. I notice that my anxiety impacts this a lot. I also know that it’s a little hard for other people to sometimes understand, and that’s okay. So I decided to put together a list about what I want people, especially new people I meet, to know about my anxiety.

1. It’s not your fault, and it’s nothing against you.

2. I WILL appear more shy and quiet than I do over text.

Over text, I am super fun, blunt, outgoing, flirty…all those good things. In person, I’m really quiet. A big part of this is because I have a speech impairment and some things are just easier for me to communicate over text. But another part of it is because of my anxiety.

3. I may hide in the bathroom.

Either before, making me late for our meeting because I had an anxiety attack walking towards our meeting spot or during because I needed a breather.

4. I may ask a lot of questions that you normally wouldn’t be asked.

5. Although I try my absolute best not to, I may cancel plans.

My anxiety can sometimes make me feel sick or feel like I can’t breathe properly. Sometimes the anxiety is crippling. I try not to let my anxiety stop me from doing stuff but truth is, sometimes it does. Also, I don’t use it as an excuse not to meet up with you. If I don’t want to do something, I’ll let you know.

6. It’s a lot harder for me to trust.

7. All I really need from you is honesty and patience.

I often get asked from people I’m just getting to know, “is there anything I can do to help with your anxiety?” All you can really do is be patient and honest. I do have support from people I’ve know for years. But at the beginning of our relationship, there’s nothing you can really say or do to calm the anxiety down, but those are two things you can do to make sure it doesn’t get worse.

8. I may need you to keep the conversation going by asking a lot of questions.

Silence is one of anxiety’s worst enemies. So try to fill it.

9. I may need you to make “first moves”.

No matter how much I may want to do something, my anxiety will probably talk me out of it. No matter what, I will think you’re going to reject me. So just do it.

10. I can be indecisive sometimes.

There is often a battle between my anxious thoughts and my real, rational thoughts. They both say two different things, therefore making me a little indecisive.

11. I tend to overthink things.

Almost everything people say or don’t say, do or don’t do, I overthink it, especially when I don’t know the person that well.

Despite these things, I’m an awesome person. If you look past my anxiety and accept the fact that you may need to be a little patient, I can make an awesome friend or girlfriend. I’m fun, blunt, outgoing. I dedicate my life to helping people, therefore, I will always be there for you (unless you do me wrong and don’t apologize).

Jessica Victoria
<p>Jessica Victoria, 24, is a writer and advocate for mental health, disability and LGBTQ+. She uses her personal experiences and knowledge to help and educate others.</p>

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