Do Not Panic

Social Phobia: A persistent fear of finding oneself in situations athat might lead to scrutiny by others and humiliation or embarrassment.

I didn’t realize I had a form of social phobia until a few years ago when I realized how much I’d panic sometimes just to have to use the phone or use a checkout line. My social phobia is quite mild though, I can certainly function just fine, I just tend to find ways around dealing with things that cause me to panic.


Stores: I get nervous sometimes when I have to go through a checkout, I tend to get my money ready ahead of time and repeat what I need to say in my head until I feel fully prepared. I just don’t want to be caught off guard and end up fumbling around. I fear I will piss someone off who is waiting behind me. I’d much rather do my shopping online if I can.

Driving: I try to avoid left turns, completely. I will go out of my way so I don’t get stuck in a left turn where I might not be able to turn and people will honk at me or I could cause a traffic jam. This amuses Manly Man but then he drives like an old lady and will sit in a left turn until the cows come home.

Phone: I hate hate hate the phone, which is ironic since part of my job requires answering the phone and sometimes dealing with angry people (although not nearly as much anymore). If I am in a panic mode I just won’t answer the phone. Once I had to make what I believed would be a very difficult call, I had to have a cosmpolitan and a cigarette to make the call. What am I afraid of? I don’t have the best hearing so I worry I won’t understand someone and annoy them by having them repeat what they said. I worry that there will be that awkward moment where you try to end the call and can’t.

  1. Amanda

    October 6, 2008 at 1:19 am

    I hate the phone too… but I’m okay at work, for whatever reason. I don’t mind being paid to talk to someone, but if it’s a personal call I always feel like I’m inconveniencing the person I’m talking to.

  2. crystal

    October 6, 2008 at 9:14 am

    I don’t do phones either, but it tends to be more of an issue with outgoing calls than incoming. Even as a child I don’t think I ever called anyone, and I know for a fact that I never called my highschool boyfriend more than maybe twice – and one of those calls I made my sister dial. At work I hate making calls to people (Supertech usually ends up calling people up for whatever reason anyway, so it works out ok), but calling and arguing with insurance companies is not as much of a problem.

  3. H.

    October 6, 2008 at 10:12 am

    You know how I am with phones. I think I’m okay answering the phone at work because I don’t really know these people and it doesn’t matter what they think of me. But when I have to talk to a friend or even some relatives, I freak out. I’m also very quiet in social situations, like during lunch at work. I’d rather observe people than join. Unless I’m at a party and tipsy, then I insist on being the center of attention. :heather:

  4. Tara

    October 6, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Typical female stuff, I think. We’re taught to be nice, to not offend, etc. I actually enjoy calling and reeming companies out. I don’t mind making calls to anyone actually. I did in my teen years, but not anymore. I sit in the middle of the intersection until it’s my turn to turn, even if the light turns red and I’m still sitting there, then I turn. I decided a few years ago that I didn’t care what anybody thought, about anything I did. I’m not mean and I don’t go out of my way to hurt people or make them mad. But dammit, I’m gonna get what’s mine or do what I need to do! 🙂

  5. Robin

    October 7, 2008 at 11:19 am

    @Amanda – Yeah, me too with the inconveniencing.
    @crystal – Yes outgoing calls are much harder, I dread them.
    @H. – Yeah, alcohol sure solves social anxiety problems for me.
    @Tara – I don’t think I was raised in any certain way in regards to being a woman, I think I’m just very self-conscious and have major anxiety problems. I have always worried too much of what others think of me, I hate that about myself :blush:

  6. Tara

    October 8, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    You don’t have to be raised that way outwardly — it’s all over society.

  7. Robin

    October 8, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    @Tara – I agree, I just don’t think it applies to me, I have just always been painfully shy since i was born and I think that has a lot to do with my anxiety now.

  8. Heather B

    February 9, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    I’m a little bit of the same way in regards to the checkout. I hate the idea of someone being mad at me in any situation. So I try to avoid it at all cost

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