The funny thing about my anxiety is that if there is chaos around me, I can act without overthinking or being afraid of the outcome. All focus is on a specific situation, I do not have a chance to think about myself. Decisions need to happen now or something can go awry.
However, on those days where the office is quiet and people are milling about, I found I have difficulty functioning. My colleagues want to make small talk about their new furniture or their children. I do want to fake a smile, I do not want to talk, I just want to mind my own business and be alone. Unfortunately, this seems to be unnatural to my coworkers; they find my quietness alarming.
My natural state of being is quiet and sequestered, I like it like that. This developed from years of social anxiety, now it is just my way of life. I try to explain that in simple terms, but it ends up prompting more questions. I, personally, think it is pretty self-explanatory. Then before I know it, I am engaged in a conversation I did not want to have in the first place.
I did notice that if I engage in a little small talk, that satisfies my workplace socializing quota. But people are becoming insatiable! I have been trapped in the break room or the bathroom more times than I would like. Why do we have to go past a slight nod and a smile? Yes, weather happens every day. Yep, traffic sure is bad. No, I do not know who puts the flyers up. Why are we talking about this? I acknowledged your presence, is that not good enough?
I recognize that I am the one with the problems, not everyone else. I do not trust my own social skills and talking is incredibly exhausting. I am really bad at carrying on a conversation and I feel like I am doing us both a favor by letting your topic of choice die a slow, wordless death.
Now, please excuse me as I speed-walk to my office or tip-toe past you to use the fax machine.