What if the jerk has social anxiety?

Photo by Kev Costello on Unsplash

An incredibly relevant Facebook post was pointed out to me today. This lady was at a small town gas station and saw a van with license plates from what I’m assuming is her hometown. In the post, she said she waited for the people to come back to their van and approached them asking if they recently moved here from the area listed on the license plate. She wrote:

“The woman just kind of stared at me and then looked at her husband with a look of confusion and disgust. Her contempt towards me was very obvious. She didn’t want to talk to me at all and never did look at me after that first glance. I was just trying to be nice and friendly, but apparently that is lost on the younger generation.”

I’ll get to how this is relevant to anxiety in a moment. First:

Okay, you waited for them to come back to their vehicle and approached them?! I wouldn’t talk to you either, ya freakin’ psycho! Do you want to get murdered and cut up into little pieces, because that’s how you get murdered and cut up into little pieces!

***deep breaths***

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system…

Some people commented on the post agreeing with her:
“Some people just aren’t nice… I love to strike up conversations with strangers!”
“People are rude.”
“Younger generation has no time for us older slower stupid people…”

First of all, let’s not lump an entire generation into naughty or nice. A person’s age does not make them more or less likely to be polite. I know young people who are raging dicks, and I know young people who are incredibly polite and well-mannered.

Second, what if that couple was in an abusive relationship? What if the woman didn’t speak to you because her husband beats her for speaking to random people who approach her in public? What if they’d just gotten into a horrible fight in the car, and didn’t have the mental capacity to put the effort into polite conversation with a stranger? What if they were afraid you were an ax murderer who waits for people at their vehicles to approach them and chop them into little pieces?!

Sorry, that thought just keeps coming back to me. However, that brings me to my third point:

What if they have social anxiety?

When you have social anxiety, you can have a thousand reasons (or none at all) to panic when someone speaks to you in public. The possibility of a social interaction turning into murder might be an extreme thought, but it is one that anxiety could definitely bring on.

In Lesbians and Big Dicks Wanted; Bullies and Anxiety, I mentioned that I was bullied for not speaking in school as a child. I didn’t speak, not because I was rude, but because I was terrified of opening my mouth. Throughout childhood, my peers often thought I was stuck-up for not speaking to them. That always bothered me, and is probably what lead to my annoying desire to be liked as an adult. Sadly, that’s a common misconception about folks with social anxiety – just because we keep to ourselves or are quiet doesn’t mean we’re not friendly. 

There were some positive comments, so all hope for humanity is not lost. A few folks commented that it could have been anxiety, the fact that there were two young children with them (as the poster pointed out in a later comment), or it could have been a stolen vehicle (okay maybe that one’s not a great example of a positive comment).

People can be so quick to judge. Instead of jumping to conclusions and assuming the couple in the van were rude, upon witnessing their discomfort she should have just wished them a nice day and moved on – preferably without sharing with Facebook how judgmental she is.

Of course… maybe I should take my own advice and not be judgmental of her for judging them. Maybe she’s had bad experiences with being rejected or ignored and has some self-confidence issues because of it. Looks like I have room to improve as well!

Steven, who brought the Facebook post to my attention, made some other observations over at ideatrash.net. Go check it out.


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