Submitted by turquoise_hexagon_sun in MentalWellbeing

communicating almost exclusively via text these months has rly done a number on me. i often return to the thought that i am a nuisance when i text people. because it's such a core anxiety, i see myself as wasting the person's time by default even though i could never prove it (or disprove it).

this has led me the belief that i should simply trust people to tell me if they don't wanna talk/hang out/call, whatever. for my own mental health, i have to assume i'm not bothering ppl unless i have good reason to think i am (whatever 'good' reason means).

i can drive myself crazy saying 'oh i send longer texts to this person and they give me shorter responses so im wasting their time' or like 'i can't reach out to this person, i gotta wait for them to hit me up first,' or even, 'i can't talk about my mental health w this person too much bc it would overly burden them.' i know that people often don't tell you if you start bothering them or become overbearing, but i'm deciding it may be better to just behave as if they always do.

this whole problem seems rooted in the idea that relationships are transactional , thank you capitalism for that one. i guess my question is ---- is it better to live with the idea that your social behavior is not hurting or bothering others unless they tell you it is, OR is it important to be empathetic and 'read btwn the lines' to try to deduce how other people want to be treated

sorry if this post is all over the place lol i just was anxious and thought, hmm raddle would have some really valuable insight on this

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Hibiscus_Syrup wrote

is it better to live with the idea that your social behavior is not hurting or bothering others unless they tell you it is, OR is it important to be empathetic and 'read btwn the lines' to try to deduce how other people want to be treated

It's not one or the other. Being sensitive to whether you should speak with someone or how you should speak with someone is a good thing, but it shouldn't be making you very anxious and it shouldn't be bound up in what you are worth or the default assumption that you are wasting people's time. I think just feeling people out for the ways that they want to interact and then working with that is just the way to go. The good people are going to do right by you and they're basically the only ones you should be concerned about under many circumstances.

You seem like a pleasant person, and combined with you saying you are anxious and assume bad things about yourself I think it's likely you have a tendency to overthink things in a bad direction.

It seems you've identified the core problem, so I think a long-term effort at dealing with that is also your core solution.

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turquoise_hexagon_sun OP wrote

hmm i see what you mean. i think that i just don't trust my ability to feel it out in social situations. i never really know how to read indirect or nonverbal things, and plus the interpretations of those things are soo subjective. especially over text, i can't really just 'pick up' on things.

everyone uses social cues and communicates (texts) differently, so i feel like the path out of anxiety is not just learning the correct interpretations of things, if that makes sense. so i want my default belief to be that i'm not bothering others, but i fear that would make me obtuse, insensitive, and annoying.

so it's just the tension between being sensitive and being confident in my instincts that i'm struggling with. they seem opposed

You seem like a pleasant person

also thank you i try lol

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rush wrote

Big this. +1 agree with TW on this one.

I have noticed a tendency in my daily life to assume the worst about myself and how I interact with others. After living in a Buddhist monastery for the better part of two years, I can confidently say that being perceptive of the needs of others and then acting skillfully and accordingly in social situations is the way to go. There is not, and never will there be, a cookie-cutter approach to relationships. Each individual moment calls for whatever is needed, nothing more or less. As TW said, feel it out each and every moment.

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malvarosa wrote

You’re not alone! I get like this sometimes and I’m so convinced that I’m right because I myself get really overwhelmed by other people’s emotional outpouring.

What this means for me is that, 1) I’m not a bad person because I get irritated by my friends sometimes, I’m just generally overwhelmed and I need to care for myself; doesn’t mean I don’t love them. And 2) It’s okay if I sometimes stress other people out without meaning to, because they are human and only have so much energy to share each day. Neither of these things should result in a lost friendship and if they do I am better off without that friend.

But it is scary to feel like we might be pushing people away because we would suffer even more if we find ourselves alone without anyone to care for us when we need it. It’s normal to feel this way. It’s also beneficial to remind yourself that this will never happen. No one is ever truly alone it just starts to feel that way sometimes.

In a perfect world, everyone would communicate their emotional boundaries and energetic capacity with each other so no one is caught off guard and everyone’s emotional capacity is respected. It’s also nice to know when we need to find support elsewhere or be supportive to those who need it when they need it.

This kind of communication is scary and vulnerable and unfortunately just takes lots practice and commitment—just like anything else worth having!

xoxo

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turquoise_hexagon_sun OP wrote

This kind of communication is scary and vulnerable and unfortunately just takes lots practice and commitment—just like anything else worth having!

yes this is exactly what i mean! ---- it is deeply fulfilling to have friends with whom i can communicate like this -- in both directions.

however, i also know many people who do not do this --- understandable, as it's not easy and also not really socially acceptable in my experience. therefore, i am constantly concerned about 'missing a signal' or something like that. however, my idea was to abandon that and just focus just on communicating openly myself and doing what i think is socially right. then again, if i stop looking for signals or indirect communication from people, i worry about becoming just....annoying or insensitive. that's the tension i'm struggling with rn. maybe unresolvable idk

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malvarosa wrote (edited )

I totally feel this! Good to know that you already have folks you can be open and direct with.

For those who are not—like my family—I just decided one day to speak to them the way I wanted to be spoken to. Same with friends who weren’t comfortable being vulnerable about feelings. It was awkward I guess but like other things that are uncomfortable (calling out racism/sexism/homophobia etc) I just forced myself to do it.

I’m not saying making people uncomfortable with all the fEeLiNgs talk is the best thing to do, but I have seen a change in some of my folks who weren’t as honest before. I think they just needed an example.

For those who can’t or won’t, and it was seriously weighing on my psyche, I have reduced the amount of time and attention they have in my life. Not as punishment for them but as self care for me.

You deserve it!

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CameronNemo wrote

If you want to vent, you can always ask first.

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