Behaving Like a Douche for my Health

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.

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About thevenerablecorvex

I have the heart of a poet, the brain of a theoretical physicist, and the wingspan of an albatross. I am also notable for my humility.
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4 Responses to Behaving Like a Douche for my Health

  1. n8chz says:

    MP’s aren’t your equals. They work for you. (In theory)

  2. zinemin says:

    Wow, the “most difficult” things on your list sound super-challenging. I also had a list like that in my social anxiety book but it seemed less extreme.

    I have never managed to go through the list, but I had this in the back of my mind in the last months and I actually had a few instances of “being hostile to my peers” in that time, which is really unusual for me. Results were strange. I think what I found out is that I am so not used to being hostile that I easily miss the right “tone” to be hostile and go a little over the top. Or perhaps people just don’t expect it of me. In any case it has caused quite some irritation, but somehow also made me feel better.
    I think that is a very tricky thing to do as an “exercise” though. I preferred to wait until there was actually something that really made me angry.

    But I also admit I would have huge problems to ask for a complicated thing at starbucks. I really don’t know why. Please blog about how it goes, and good luck! 🙂

  3. twicerandomly says:

    I recently apologized to the wait person at a Tim Horton’s, because I do ask for my coffee prepared in a particular detailed way. She laughed it off, and gave me some examples of how other customers wanted their coffee, which were really bizarre. So I think you can ask for something strange and tell yourself that the barrista will think nothing of it.
    I have a number of comfort rituals I use when I’m feeling jangled after a hostile interaction, the most useful of which is a little supportive speech I write out to myself.

  4. I completely understand about having to face social interactions head on. Asking for help in stores is painful for me. That’s usually why I have someone else come along with me. I’ve asked my family to help me overcome my anxieties, so far, I think I’m getting on their nerves. 🙂 Good luck on your journey!

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