“You’re too soft”

I was just thinking about a sticky situation right now with my housemates and our new landlord. We all have the same fundamental issue with him and we’ve been writing emails together to uh, make it clear to him (great way to bond with flat mates, 10/10 recommend) On the one hand there’s me wanting to take a diplomatic approach and cut out the threatening tone and some of the word choices that they’re punching into the keyboard (“hey, save the over analysis for the poems you do in English lit”) and the other three wanting to go in there (and duly doing so) with pitchforks and fire (law students… 🙄).

I was thinking about how much I hate confrontation and how according to common belief that’s supposed to be a major insecurity but then I thought… is it though?

[A] I can see how in some ways it can be unhealthy. Like if you’re terrified of confrontation (and I must own to getting a lot of adrenaline and a heart rate which I could almost hear echoing back while simply reading our landlord’s most recent reply.)

[B]But on the other hand, is it necessarily a weakness to value trying to get along/ take a peaceful approach to tricky situations?

Also isn’t keeping the rapport as strong as possible in all parties’ best interests?

I think in my personal case, both A and B are in play here. But thinking in non-personal, general terms, how about the idea that people are too quick to assume that disliking confrontations is weakness?

I hope that doesn’t sound ranty. I should have probably left the writing of this post until I was a bit more detached from the event that inspired it. But oh wells 🐸

“Third year already, hasn’t that gone fast?”

I’ve heard that line plenty of times this summer. Most Sundays at church every conversation with anyone over 40 plays out like this. And then comes the inevitable, “so what are you going to do after that?”

It’s not a new question, but the percentage of times it gets asked has gone up a lot (probably to almost 100%) now that I’m going into my last year of university.

My answer is always vague, because I still have anxieties about how to answer the question, and anxieties about the subject itself (that’s probably not good):  “something with publishing and editing”.

It’s just an area of life I want to sort out on my own, in my own time, with no questions asked. I’ve had anxieties around it for years and I nearly always betray some of it when people ask me about it.

But on the other hand, I can see that it’s just a natural path for small talk to follow. When people ask me what kind of work I want to do, there’s a social anxiety-induced voice in my head asking what do they think I’m capable of, and what if I sound too ambitious and then they look at me sceptically… and what if I don’t end up fulfilling my ambitions and then Jill Bloggs who asked me what I want to do when I grow up multiple times from 2008-2016 will see that I didn’t achieve that.

It’s not like I overthink things or anything.

Yesterday at church I had to laugh when Mrs H did the “Wow third year already” line and then followed it up with the bluntest form of this question that I’ve heard so far: “When are you going to start looking for jobs then?”

Context: Mrs H was my teacher when I was 12-15 years old at a small independent school run by this church (so a lot of the people there are my old teachers!) and was obsessed with using our “daily devotions” time to go around in a circle and ask each of us what career we aspired to on a near-weekly basis. She’s always been known for her blunt honesty which, at school, could be either entertaining or terrifying, depending on the situation!

 

Am I a horrible person?

 I’m really ready to go back to university now after the 4 summer month break. I have some great friends at home but… and it sounds really harsh… I’m ready to go back to university and not have to… I feel horrible saying it. 

Maybe it’s more of an introvert thing than a social anxiety thing but I feel like I’ve had more than enough socialising time back here. And I almost want to be a recluse for a while. But it’s not quite that because I also miss my uni friends a lot and I can’t wait to see them. 

A few very minor personality clashes have happened this summer but nothing serious. Just niggling things that always come up now and again. So it might be that as well. Also I felt like I let a friend down a bit today when I agreed to something and then backed out because I realised that might be a decision that would be bad for my anxiety. I think she was really disappointed. If I could be a recluse and have my very own straw hut in the Alps that might not have been a thing.

Anyway, disclaimer, I love my friends and I wouldn’t trade them. I hope I’m not an awful human being 👍

Any Ideas?

A few of us are setting up a peer support group for people aged 18-21 with anxiety and depression. We’ve got some funding going and we’re starting this autumn- all we need are a few more ideas!

It’s meant to be a friendly environment, where people can enjoy themselves, make friends, and feel able to talk about anything they need to talk about. The structure is basically that each week starts off with a mental-health/self-care related discussion and then we will have a couple of tables with activities, and sometimes a film.

We already have a few ideas, such as having a group scrapbook, making and painting arty stuff, film nights, maybe even making a short animation film together!

However, more ideas are always good.

If anyone feels so inspired, feel free to comment with any ideas for activities and discussion topics. Also, I’m conscious that some of the people who turn up might not be artistically-inclined, so if anyone has more ideas on how to please them too, you know what to do.

Reluctantly Leading a Radio Show

I’ve been helping out on this community radio show in my home town for donkey’s years, since I was about 13 or 14. And although that sounds nifty on my CV, I’ve always figured it’s fairly simple. I just turn up and talk on the show with the co-presenters, people I already know and I do a few extra things like News and Weather… When I was younger I was even more awkward than I can be (on bad days) now, but the others could spin anything like that into humour, so it wasn’t a big deal.

Not having the responsibilities of being in charge of the show helps.

The only problem is that the main guy goes on holiday every August, and every summer since I turned 18 likes to try and talk me into standing in as the main presenter. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to be on holiday at the same time and be unable to do it. Other times I just find an excuse. I led a show last year with two of the others. It worked out well; I’d maybe rate it 6/10. Having to lead it makes me quite anxious because this means that it’s my responsibility to come up with conversation starters and sound charismatic about it on air (and it’s one thing to start conversations, quite another to simultaneously be charismatic, in my case!)

In short, I had to lead last night, but it we Continue reading “Reluctantly Leading a Radio Show”

Stares and General Eye Contact in Beijing

Sometimes I have an issue with feeling like I was always being stared at and finding eye contact excruciating. It used to be constant, but isn’t often much more than a niggle nowadays. Most of it tends to be imagined. In Beijing it was real, because I actually Continue reading “Stares and General Eye Contact in Beijing”