I’ve known an online friend for about 4 years now. This good friend and I recently had a phone call, which I wasn’t expecting from her. I know she doesn’t understand the term anxiety or the different forms. Some background about me, I don’t like phone calls as I’m pretty socially awkward and have social anxiety. I only ever feel comfortable being myself(talkative and funny) around family members to be honest. Therefore, texting and finding people to talk with online is what I feel more comfortable with.
This online friend and I have only had about three calls since we’ve known each other. This last phone call was probably the worst of them all. I sounded monotone, socially awkward with awkward pauses, even rude when I don’t mean to be, thoughts weren’t fluid etc. I also disclosed how I have a phone phobia or anxieties with phone calls and said how this really isn’t me. She then said, “well who am I talking to then?”. The call lasted about 2 hours, but I know she could sense awkwardness and lack of social skills. I felt she was just being nice by staying on the phone. At the end of the call I said “maybe I should call more often, no matter how awkward it may be” and she said she “didn’t see it that way” (that I was awkward). But I knew she was just being nice, she doesn't admit things at first.
After the call I felt horrible. I knew it didn’t go well and I probably made her uncomfortable. I feel like she’ll no longer see me as a good friend. Like her opinion of me(since it’s primarily a texting friendship) has changed. I seem confident and funny over text, but really actually socially awkward. I feel she may start distancing now. Maybe this is more of a pity friendship than anything else now and I also feel embarrassed.
Do you think she most likely sees this as a pity friendship now?
How can I make changes to keep people around without my social anxiety chasing people away?
Like I say, and just as a disclaimer, improving your social skills is good self-improvement overall. But it looks as though your questions (to us fellow forum members), including one on how to change your behaviour, were triggered by an assumption
that this friend of yours is not enjoying the conversation.
Looking at this very objectively - if she wasn't enjoying the conversation then even if she felt obligated to stay on, this generally would only have needed to be a 10 minute conversation before she could claim a reason (true or false) for having to end the call. There would be literally no reason for her to be staying on the phone for two hours, which a significant chunk
of her day, if she wasn't engaged and enjoying the conversation. So not to downplay your own feelings, which is perhaps a subject matter in itself, but all signs are suggesting she likes speaking with you, no matter how awkward it may be (you'd be amazed how many people like having a "down-to-Earth" friend).
I'm even hesitant to give social skill tips - because it does sound like she enjoys talking to you. You may want to think carefully before being over-apologetic, or trying to drastically change your interactions with this friend - especially if as a result your friend starts feeling pressured to reassure you often.