On Social Anxiety, Gift Giving, and Unintentionally Being a Bitch

It’s Christmas tomorrow. The time of love and joy and family and…whatever. It is also a time for gift giving. Now, if you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you will know that Christmas is not my favourite time of year. I am the Grinchy Scrooge of Bah Humbugville, and I spend most of December waiting for the 26th, when I have a whole year of freedom before I have to do it all over again. But one of the main things that I don’t love about Christmas is the gift giving.

I can almost hear the collective sounds of eyebrow raising (supersonic hearing, yo) but hear me out. Most people enjoy receiving gifts, whether expected or not. But the thing that I hate about it is having to open them in front of everyone. And my unwillingness to do so makes me seem ungrateful, and rude. The thing is, I do appreciate the gifts at Christmas. But the thought of having to open them publicly literally makes my heart race. I get uncomfortable. I get awkward. I get ridiculously anxious.

Today, I had that experience. My boss came out to work today to give Christmas gifts to me, and Sarah (my workmate). It was incredibly thoughtful, and I was incredibly thankful. But could I express that? Uh, no. I thanked him and then set the box down on the counter to be opened later. Which would have seemed like I couldn’t care less that he had gone to the trouble of going into a shop, and choosing a gift for me, and then coming out to deliver it. Normal people are happy to open gifts in front of the giver. Not me. Despite his insistence that I open it, I just couldn’t do it. My heart started to race, my hands started to shake. And all I could do was try and brush it off. Which I did, effectively. (and then I refused him a high five, because it’s usually my knee jerk reaction when he holds his hand out for one. Even though for once, I didn’t mean to! Ooops.) Anyway, I think I offended him. So yup, I’m a total jerk. Thanks, anxious brain.

Of course, once he had left and I wasn’t being watched, I did open the gift, and it was a sweet, dainty little silver bracelet. I was actually really impressed at how Amy appropriate it was! And I promptly sent him a message to thank him. See, in addition to being plagued by social anxiety, I also have this issue with being affectionate. Which is to say, I’m really not very good at it. I don’t really hug, and when I want to be nice, it often comes out as an insult or something. It’s like, in my head I want to say to people ‘hey buddy, you’re a rad dude and I like your face’ and what comes out is ‘you’re a fucking dickhead’. It’s a problem…I should probably work on that, so I don’t develop Heinous Bitch Syndrome (it’s a legitimate thing, I’m sure of it). Over text message or in writing, I can be nice as pie. Because there’s a kind of detachment there I guess, in the sense that I don’t have to do it face to face. It’s not that I mean it any less, but I just feel more comfortable when I don’t have to be a human in person. There is an actual possibility that I am part robot. I’ll make a note to ask my parents.

So, if any of y’all know me, or will perhaps one day meet me; if I seem like a cold, heartless banshee woman, that’s why. I’m not a cow, I’m just awkward.

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2 thoughts on “On Social Anxiety, Gift Giving, and Unintentionally Being a Bitch

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