How to be friends with someone with an anxiety disorder

1. Do invite me to parties filled with strangers because I need a reason to shower.
When you do, give me a week’s notice so I can practice smiling without wincing. I will also make up a dozen intelligent phrases to sprinkle into the conversation. For instance, “Funyuns are actually pig intestine.” And, for the love of God, don’t leave me alone.

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2. Do invite me to parties filled with people I actually know because friends are good.
In this situation, understand I really have to be on point because I will see these people again, and sometimes, that’s nice because they know I’m weird from previous encounters. Other times, it’s worse because I just get weirder every time they see me.

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3. Do send me random gifs of Benedict Cumberbatch.
This man’s ridiculous giggle is quite soothing.

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4. Do make sure all the pictures in your house are straight.
If your pictures are crooked when I come over, I’ll walk around fixing them for a half hour before realizing you’re still in the room.

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5. Do learn to recognize my “Get Me The Hell Out Of Here” face.
When things start going south (usually about two hours into any social situation), I start looking like Jack Nicholson in The Shining. When this happens, kindly usher me to the nearest exit.

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6. Do not hand me a small child without asking first.
If you honestly think throwing a baby at me is a good idea, may the consequences be on your head. It’s not that I’m scared of children. It’s just that I think I’ll drop them and I’m scared of children.

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7. Do forget when I say awkward things.
Sometimes, I might text you after we’ve hung out to say, “OMG, I can’t believe I said THAT. Please forgive me.” You probably won’t remember I said THAT, but I’ll have been obsessing over THAT for the past three hours.

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8. Do expect me to cancel plans without a viable excuse.
Some days, I can’t leave the house. Admitting this to you is way better than me breaking a finger on purpose just so I can say, “Hey, broke my finger. Rain check?”

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9. Do not talk to me at the gym.
The gym is a very safe place where I am in the zone. If you break that zone, I might notice I’m in public, surrounded by sweaty strangers. Don’t let me notice.

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10. Do laugh when I immediately assume everyone hates me.
Basically, every day, I think someone hates me. Realistically, I don’t think people hate me, but my anxiety does, so laugh. I might just laugh with you.

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7 thoughts on “How to be friends with someone with an anxiety disorder

  1. For #8, here are some really good excuses from my friend Tom Brown. My particular favorite is “I have to study for my blood test.”
    …I did my own thing, and now I have to undo it.
    …My plot to take over the world is thickening.
    …There is a disturbance in the Force.
    …I’d prefer to remain an enigma.
    …I’m attending the opening of my garage door.
    …I have to study for a blood test.
    …I’ve come down with a really horrible case of something or other.
    xoxoxo

  2. Loved it! Totally spot on. I wish people invited me out more often, that’s for sure. I end up hermiting due to the anxiety and my physical issues, which doesn’t help my anxiety or depression at all.

  3. I want to print these on a card and carry them around. Some days I question the sanity of anyone who actually likes hanging out with me. But I guess it’s easier to tell who my friends are this way. I do something totally weird like abandon them at the movie theatre, and they still text me when the movie’s over. 🙂 Of course, I probably wouldn’t like them if they were sane.

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