Oh wow - I can also relate to this thread - big time
! I feel like a big grouch, but I dread
the thought of encountering my neighbors and when I do, my anxiety is manifested as all kinds of hostile thoughts and feelings. In my head, I get mad at the neighbor for "timing" their activities "perfectly" so that they can run into me.
I get paranoid that the men are "checking me out", looking at my butt or something (many females may like the thought of this - but for some reason it really bothers me in this situation). I also get mad at "fate". My social-anxiety makes me one angry b*tch.
Despite my extreme social-anxiety, I've been on a bit of an exercise addiction for the past few months and I go for 45-minute power walks around my neighborhood 3 to 4 times a week. Let me tell you...it certainly isn't easy on my psyche. Cars will be backing out of their driveway (or pulling into their driveway) just
as I am right there at the driveway - whenever anything like this happens, I always feel like it's an opportunity to get stared at. All sorts of "cruel" stuff happens. Last week, I was walking by the house across the street from me, and the couple who lives there happened to be out toward the front of their driveway talking. I get all tense as I approach the house (and the lady hasn't exactly been friendly to me in the past - I've been out walking and in the distance her car will be passing, and she'll just be staring at me w/o seemingly making any efforts to speak) - I go through all the usual anxiety stuff about suddenly not knowing where to look, etc. I made a conscious decision to casually look the other way just to relieve my tension a bit and to do something with my gaze - but a few seconds later, I make the decision to look their way and perhaps speak. When I look at them, both of them are just standing there staring
at me - and it seemed as though they had been staring at me for "awhile" too - for at least a few seconds before I discovered it. They continue staring even after I look at them. I try my best to "play it cool" even as my head is going haywire - I just look at them (well, perhaps mainly at the man b/c it is easier to look at one person than to try to look at them both) and say "hi" in a cool manner. The man responds with a "hi" - the lady just continues to look at me w/o speaking.
It was so upsetting - I'm burining up with negative thoughts inside. I even seriously consider (and I'm still considering it) approaching them and "explaining" to them what I am dealing with. People make judgements about you perhaps having no idea
just what is going on in your head - and I think this incident may be yet another case of this. It's as if they were talking amongst themselves - "will that rude, stuck-up b*tch speak to us?!" and/or "there goes the saddity one...". Sometimes you just want to tell people in no uncertain terms that not everyone finds it easy to speak to others - some people are dealing with significant shyness issues. They just don't know how much I suffer.