Social anxiety

I have to meet someone new today. Well, technically, xe’s not “new” – I’ve met hir once before. Still, not long enough to figure out hir rules, so new.

And my words are being assholes.

And this meeting is important, because it might be a job.

But it’s a new type of job, one I’m unfamiliar with the rules of.

But I know I can do it. Because it’s basically teaching through writing and I’m good at that because I’ve done it before. My boss gets me to write up user’s manuals since I’ve got a good memory for all the things that gave me trouble when I was just learning how to do something, and when I teach I tend to personalize it so instead of saying, “Don’t do that,” I say, “Don’t do that unless you want to suck fluid into your line and then spend the rest of the day cleaning it out and have to put your experiment on hold and learn how to clean out a Schlenk line… it’s a pain in the bum. So make sure you do this instead, so that doesn’t happen.”

And people learn better when they know why they’re supposed to do stuff. And I explain why, which is why I’m a decent teacher. 

So I know I can do this job. If I can get it. And not get myself screwed over for it. Because Person is a business person and I know xe’s fairly nice but business people are trained to get themselves the best deal possible. And I have to social-negotiate. Eep.

So… anyway. Fairly nervous.

Because I’m scared I’ll mess it up.

Because what people in general don’t get is that I’m not clumsy at social because I’m anxious, I’m anxious because I’m fucking hopeless at meatspace social and through hypervigilance body monitoring and social flow chart following and suchlike, I can make myself look just clumsy.

But right now? I’m down four tools: I have no social flow chart for this, I have no person-specific rules, I have nobody’s lead to follow, and my words are on the fritz.


(and don’t tell me to do calming shit because calming shit is bad because I need the extra awareness anxiety brings. It’ll help me pick up on stuff like “Oh, he’s extending his hand, I guess I should shake hands.” Anxiety for me in meatspace social is not maladaptive, even if it is unpleasant)


5 thoughts on “Social anxiety

  1. bjforshaw says:

    “the extra awareness anxiety brings” — that is so true: it’s like having the gain turned up on all your receivers, but it’s a fine line between hyper-aware and overloaded. Wishing you a successful outcome.

    • ischemgeek says:

      I don’t think I screwed anything up horribly, but I forgot to negotiate because hir opening bid was like quadruple what I was willing to settle for because I’m not used to this business and have no idea what’s an appropriate asking price. So I just accepted what xe offered. Xe probably thought xe got quite a steal. XD

      • bjforshaw says:

        As long as both sides are happy with it that’s good! 🙂 I have absolutely no ability to haggle or negotiate. As soon as there’s an offer there I grab it so I don’t have to feel so anxious.

        By a strange coincidence I had a phone conversation yesterday who wanted me to do some (additional) work. They asked me how much I wanted. I hesitated. They named a figure (same as the previous job). I accepted but then admitted I’d have happily taken half that. *face palm*

        I should not be allowed to negotiate for myself. 😉

      • ischemgeek says:

        I’m the same way. I do usually set myself a low price at which I’ll refuse but I usually forget to negotiate if I’m happy with their offer. Even though I know they usually lowball offers in hopes that you won’t negotiate. I have managed to break myself of the habit of negotiating the other person down – someone when I was a teen offered me $20/hr to babysit their kids and I argued I shouldn’t be given more than minimum wage since I was pretty inexperienced! And then they told me first rule of negotiation is don’t argue for less than the opening bid and told me to shut up and take the money. XD

        But really, that’s the only think I’m good at in negotiation is not arguing the other person into less than their initial offer.

      • Reminds me of this meme:

        Glad negotiations went well! I have relatives who are hardcore negotiators but things can get really intense! They might pretend to be angry and walk away until the seller says “alright I will lower the price.” I never know if they’re arguing or negotiating but it seems to work for them.

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