“…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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 🙂