Yesterday I went to a party. Walking in, I was completely sober and by myself. It was a party of mostly close friends and when I walked in, many people began to say hi to me. The sudden attention directed my way was somewhat overwhelming, catalyzing a brief wave of anxiety, and as a result, I didn’t get to say hello to everyone attempting to say hello to me. Later in the party, one individual who I neglected to approach initially sourly claimed that I had ignored him. While I had noticed his greeting, I didn’t acknowledge it; however, I did not neglect it out of any sort of malignancy. Rather, I was simply anxious and struggling to react appropriately to the situations around me. This was an interesting realization for a couple of reasons.
1) I often find myself being neglected and tend to take it personally. However, it is equally if not more likely that the person seeming to ignore me is simply experiencing a fit of anxiety themselves.
2) Miscommunications such as this one are likely common due to the ubiquity of social anxiety.
While I am prone to social anxiety, I would not describe myself as more prone to it than the average person. I think the takeaway here is not to take rudeness personally unless it is explicitly communicated that someone doesn’t like you. Rather, we should strive to recognize our anxiety in social situations in order to minimize the miscommunications that result from it.