My therapist is of the impression that the best way for me to overcome my various anxieties concerning social interactions is to face them head on. Towards this end, today she worked with me to compile a list of different situations that I have ranked on a scale of anxiety from ‘one’ to ‘ten,’ and encouraged me to practice these interactions until I no longer find them stressful.
For some of the items on the list, this should be easy. I don’t requesting things of other people, but it is a useful life skill, so I’ve been encouraged to go into shops and ask for help finding things (whether I actually need it or not). The anxiety builds with the specificity of the request, so my therapist encourages me to go into Starbucks outlets and make unneccessarily hoity-toity requests for particular beverages prepared in a certain way. Those two seem easy enough; as does #5: interacting with a person in a position of authority.
Some of them, however, sound like they’re going to be pretty difficult to arrange. For example, #4 on the list is “hostile interactions with one of my social equals.” I’m…not honestly sure how I’m going to go about creating the circumstances necessary for such an interaction to take place. Should I just go down to a bar and start insulting someone’s mother, or should I lurk around until someone makes a partisan point with which I disagree and loudly call them out for it. Perhaps I should just start mouthing-off and random until someone takes exception to something I say? And then, of course, number seven is “hostile interactions with people in authority.” How am I supposed to do that in a way that doesn’t severely compromise myself? I suppose I could attend a conservative political rally held by some MP and heckle during his speech; hell, if I do that loudly enough, it might even lead to me fulfilling level number 9: legal interactions with people in authority. And Number 10: “discussing transgenderism with an authority figure,” doesn’t really sound like something that I can exactly practice.
One thing that I don’t know, however, is how I am going to go about doing any of these things–from deliberately being a difficult customer to going out of my way to have an argument with someone–without feeling like a complete dilhole.
This seems like the sort of project that I may have to blog about.