Only because I can’t afford a Mac or an iPhone, mind, but I’m guessing the play on yet another song title applies to Apple users as much as it does me.
It’s one of the more curious things about finally deciding to tackle your mental demons. Finding crimps and quirks in your personality you never knew could exist in anyone, let alone yourself. In this digital day and age, though, I guess new behavioural traits are going to become a part of you. They certainly have me.
It sounds very dramatic, but it really isn’t, yet at the same time is definitely something else I have to overcome to get back to everyday living. It’s a creeping paranoia – and for me it’s spread to the world of social media.
It’s come to light for me in the face of a real upturn in fortunes. Despite my misgivings, I became particularly friendly with someone on an online dating website. We’ve exchanged pics, phone numbers, talked into the night, and to the stage of sorting out some time to see each other.
Yet there is something holding me back. I wonder about sending her a Facebook message in case in looks like I’m wanting to take up all of her time. Yet if she isn’t seen online I wonder if she doesn’t like me and is discreetly staying out of contact’s way. This isn’t healthy especially now, writing it down, I can see how nonsensical my thought processes have been.
It also occurs in the world of the twittersphere. A few times I’ve engaged in direct messages with someone, or engaged in conversation on the public timeline with them. That’s absolutely fine once or twice. It’s natural, too, that if you get to know someone and like them, even on Twitter, you’re going to reply to them directly or on their public timeline more often.
Yet that impeccable logic flies out of the tweeting window with me. After a while I wonder if I’m giving the impression that I’m stalking them. As a consequence I rein myself in and spend much less time exchanging pleasantries with someone than I really could – and in all probability they enjoy my online company as much I do theirs.
It’s not the behaviour of a sound person, I know that only too well. It’s as clear as day that my self esteem issues are at the heart of it. One therapist, rightly, said I am the most inoffensive person they know (but perhaps wrongly as the most inoffensive person in the world!)
Me being me, though, instead of relaxing at what is clearly a compliment of my placid, easy going nature, I somehow get it into my head that I have to go out of my way to not cause even mild offence, or give the slightest impression of hinting I might. It’s like putting layers and layers on during a baking hot day so nobody can see sunburn if you ever got it, instead of buying sunblock.
I do, of course, have social anxiety away from the superinfowebnet highway. I have good friends, of course, but they tend to be thin on the ground. I try to keep away from parties and other social events. If I do turn up to them, I’ll skulk in a corner, away from the central activity.
It’s nothing to do with how nice or otherwise people are. I genuinely feel uncomfortable in social gatherings larger than, say, half a dozen people. I mostly keep that side of it to myself, as the majority of social gatherings, surprise surprise, involve seven or more people.
That unease has been with me ever since I can remember though. When I was of a drinking and socialising age, I headed off to a club regularly. Not a night club, of course, but the bar of a sports club. It was quiet, it served drinks cheaply, and I had no social pressures. When work issues drove me to the edge, though, I managed to even make myself feel uncomfortable there, but that’s another story.
It’s that very same social agoraphobia, though, that has permeated it’s way onto Facebook, Twitter, and online dating websites. I’m clearly personable, and comparative strangers take to me. Yet after a short while of this happening, I become paranoid on Android. My mind has a lot to answer for.
So what to do? Well, I’ve sent her a text message earlier today. I’m on the dating website as I write this. It’s not going to be a 24/7, keep logged on but say nothing sort of thing, though.
After all, I’ve been bought a new dvd of Parks & Recreation, and that will see me through this evening. I’m only socially abnormal some of the time – when there’s something good on tv I’m as normally, happily withdrawn as anyone else.
Which, one sunny day, is all I aspire to be.