Hello, my name is PLEASE DON’T TALK TO ME.

“…Sometimes you wanna go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they’re always glad you came.
You wanna go where people know
Troubles are all the same.
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.”
Cheers theme song

No, Cheers.  No.

I’d prefer to remain anonymous everywhere I go.  Nothing but scripted, meaningless small-talk, please.

“Hi! How are you?”

“I’m well, thanks! How are you?”

“I’m well! Did you find everything you were looking for?”

“Yes, thanks… This conversation rates 10/10 for total lack of meaning! :)”

I do tolerate people knowing my name and expecting conversation when I’m at home, with friends, or at work. Life can be hard sometimes…

I’m not unfriendly.  Really, I’m not.  I just don’t think it’s fair for people to assume that their familiarity is welcome.

angry cat

Okay, I have to admit that came across as unfriendly.  In fact, I re-wrote this blog post several times trying to reach an end result that didn’t leave me looking like a huge jerk.

Let me try to explain.

Social anxiety holds me in a state of near-constant worry that people are judging me and finding me lacking.

jury caption

It doesn’t help that I have the perverse habit of interpreting compliments as gentle insults that I then obsess over for days/years – the addition of “friendliness” to a generic small-talk script can be frankly traumatizing.

what they said what they meant

And this sort of exhausting mistrust is not reserved solely for strangers in public places.  I trust my family and friends, and love them and respect them and blah blah blah.  But it can be pretty exhausting fighting the urge to second-guess and over-think.

bette davis

Not surprisingly, the idea of becoming a “regular” at a bar, restaurant, grocery store or gas station terrifies me.  I need safe places where I can keep my head down, spew scripted responses, and smile when required.

The problem is, my fear of basically everything on earth leads me to establish routines;   I visit the same stores, gas stations, and restaurants over and over again.   I fear the day when the words, “Hello, again! How have you been?” signal that it’s time for me to move on to more anonymous pastures.   Pastures where people will at least pretend not to notice that they’ve seen me more than once in their lives…

What do you think?  Is it unhealthy or unreasonable to crave anonymity?  I genuinely and for-real would love to learn your opinion. I’m trying to grow as a person and stuff. 🙂

5 thoughts on “Hello, my name is PLEASE DON’T TALK TO ME.

  1. I definitely feel you. For me it’s difficult to find the balance between feeling secure and still getting the human connections that I (and all people) need. I’ve been working on that boundary pushing/vulnerability embracing stuff which makes perfect sense to me on an intellectual level but in practise is beyond terrifying. I recommend watching this http://youtu.be/iCvmsMzlF7o for inspiration.


  2. I get this (somewhat). You might find that hard to believe! But something happens when I’m shopping. It’s like my private time, MY time, when I don’t have to be social. I will actually pretend I don’t see people I know even if it involves ducking into the hardware department. But… I will, just as an act of discipline, sometimes force myself to make conversation in line, engage the clerk, or stop for conversation with someone I know. It doesn’t cost me anything and helps me get out of my own head.


  3. I’m sensing a theme that Yes, craving anonymity is unhealthy and/or unreasonable, and I’ll admit to feeling uncomfortable with that. I feel like we live in a very extrovert-friendly world, and being introverted is treated like a problem to be overcome (“She just needs to come out of her shell!”). I want to grow as a person, and examine my motivations for being the way I am; I DON’T want to beat myself up for being myself.


  4. I find familiar conversation with those that I feel little commonality with to be strained, and difficult. I tend to feel a lot of pressure to say something “normal” to make the other person feel more comfortable. One-on-one, I can usually muddle through it. The worst is when I walk in on a large group conversation (coffee time at the local gas station/hardware store/restaurant hangout, etc.) and am questioned directly by someone, and the whole group turns their attention toward me to await my response. I immediately panic, and break into a cold sweat, and opt for abrupt, thoughtless responses. Relief comes when they begin talking amongst themselves again, and I can quietly slip away.

    So yes, I do understand where you’re coming from. And yep, I do it too. In fact, I think most people do it on some level. But I don’t know if it’s the best response to the feelings of social anxiety that you speak of. If everyone kept to themselves all the time, we would find ourselves living in a very unfriendly and alienating place. It makes me think of this: http://www.zimbio.com/watch/pLdtBbpPVrc/Waking+Life+Don+t+Want+Ant/Waking+Life

    I think what introverts who live in fear of judgement need to do is realize that self-worth trumps any negativity (actual or imagined) from an outside party. And self-worth that has been tempered by keen self-awareness and a willingness to question oneself (fairly) can be even stronger still. After carefully examining the data at hand, and concluding that “Yep, I’m awesome,” opening up to other people becomes a whole lot easier.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s