Post # 1
I get mega anxiety in some (not all) social situations. Mainly, the kinds of situations where everyone is acting very phony and “best behavior” and whatnot. I.e., FI’s work functions.
FI is a summer associate at a law firm right now and hoping to get a job offer after the summer is over. I went to a few work functions with him to mingle with the crowds, but I freaked out and had panic attacks after the second function because I felt like I embarassed him and myself. (He was embarassed, and admitted it.) I don’t do well in those kinds of situtations. The more nervous I am, the dumber the things I do or say. So:
FI has now asked me (practically begged) to go to THREE MORE work functions this MONTH. I have told him how I feel about this stuff, and he says that he needs me so that HE can feel comfortable, and so that he can make a good impression to his potential employers (stable homelife, yada yada).
On the one hand, him getting this job effects both of us and our future together, so I should be there to support him.
But on the other hand, I feel like he is being selfish by guilting me into attending these events where he knows I am miserable and terrified, and I feel like I’m just going to crash and burn.
So which is it?
Post # 3
@Tangled: Can you ask him why he wants you to go if you embarrassed him? Was it a big embarressment or just a dumb thing that was said.
I have diagnosed social anxiety and am on meds and honestly, as long as the embarressment wasn’t too bad you need to suck it up and go. Prepare a list of generic things you can talk about. People love to talk about themselves so prepare generic info that can just let them ramble on and on about themselves. They talk and you breathe.
Post # 4
If he is asking you to join him, knowing how difficult the situations are for you, it must mean a GREAT deal to him.
Could you use these functions as an opportunity to work on your social skills? Do you know what exactly triggers your panic attacks? and/or maybe see someone who specializes in panic attacks/anxiety so that you can learn coping skills for how to minimize the reaction?
Post # 5
- Wedding: July 2012 - The Gables Inn, Santa Rosa, CA
It’s a little of both honestly, but the fact of the matter is, he’s not asking you to do this for solely his own benefit. The effects of getting or not getting this job will have a big impact on both of you in the future. Behind almost every strong person there is a supportive spouse. It may be difficult for you, but I think you should work on your own anxiety and get better at these types of functions, because surely this wont be the last time he asks this of you. And if that’s not something you’re willing to do, then you need to tell him flat out, and he can either live with it or not.
Post # 6
I don’t think either one of you is being selfish, so I’m not going to vote 🙂
Struggling with major anxiety myself, I totally understand how debhilitating it can be, and I URGE you to talk to someone. Maybe counseling or medication could help! Is that something you would be open to?
Post # 7
Post # 8
@Tangled: What if you set certain guidelines for attending the events– ie. you’ll only stay so long, or you’ll go take a breather outside every hour and let him mingle on his own during that time? I think it’s important to support him in his work, and it sounds like this will be an issue for the rest of your lives. If you can slowly ease into getting more comfotable with these events it might help.
Post # 10
@Tangled: I don’t think either of you are being selfish so I didn’t vote. I think both of you have legitimate concerns about this issue. Is there a way you can compromise? Both of you have reasonable requests of the other so hopefully you can find a way to make it work that you’re being supportive of him while he’s simultaneously taking care of your need to manage the social anxiety.
How about try this: Attend at least one more event with him, but work out a plan in advance to cover some possible scenarios that may make you feel uncomfortable. Have a key word or signal for him to know you’re starting to panic and need his assistance in some way. I think this is something you can work out as a “team.”
I feel ya, work-related events can really suck and it’s even worse if it’s someone else’s career, lol. But you love him so it will be good if you can find a way to be supportive. But make sure he also understands what a sacrifice this will be, he will owe you, big time! 🙂
Post # 11
I didn’t vote because neither one of your are selfish. I agree with the PP about trying to deal with the anxiety (because events like this will come up again) or compromising (maybe going to less events). Would it help if your FI introduced you to a coworker/friend that will keep you company? // I’ve been to a few work events. They’re no fun for me either. It’s like the h.s. prom all over again being judged on your outfit and your date. And, people stick in their own cliques.
Post # 12
Yikes bikes. Those poll results are giving me some perspective. Thanks for the input ladies.
I have tried therapy and it doesn’t help at all or even a tiny little bit. I like the idea of a “code word,” thanks Sunfire!
I suppose I’ll have to force myself to attend some of these things. My main problem is that when I get nervous I talk way too much and the strangest and most inappropriate things tend to come out of my mouth.
@AutumnElegance: We’ve tried setting the limits before, but it doesn’t really work. He can’t just suddenly leave in the middle of an event. That’s worse than if I didn’t go with him. Taking “breather” breaks might be a good suggestion though.
All of this makes me want to take up smoking so I’d have an excuse to escape. Maybe I’ll just pretend to smoke.
Post # 13
MY FI asked me to do this a couple of times and I feel the same way you do with any social function. Even if its getting together with his large family. I feel choked up and awkard. The other day we had to go to a work function and I was surrounded by Drs and he introduced me to his director and I kept thinking “ahhh I dont want to be here!” But knowing he wants me there for comfort so he is not alone in a sea of people he feels he has to be fake with actually made it easier for me. The fact we need each other in these situations makes you realize that hardly anything in your life will just benefit on of you.
Post # 14
@Tangled: Breather break…go to the loo! I go escape into a stall and sit down and deep breathe for a couple minutes…turn off your brain and decompress!
Don’t smoke it causes premature wrinkles!
Post # 15
@Tangled: Just keep your sense of humor!
(Give us some examples of what you do or say when you get nervous, I need a good laugh right now).
Also, you could use this to your advantage.
Keep in mind when you’re nervous that everyone else is just the same way you are and just as nervous. Nobody really likes those work-social things (or, if they do – complete suck-up nerds). You and your FI can try making jokes about things at the events. Or, better yet, look around for people to make fun of. My FI and I totally do that, haha! We’re so mean. It gives us something to look forward to later, after the event, though. 😉
Do whatever you can think of to alleviate your anxiety, and remember this: (this helps me): I do not really care what anyone thinks more than I care what I think.
Make it a mantra!
Post # 16
How were you embarrassing your FI? I may be reading it wrong but you felt you were an embarrassment which caused you to go into a panic attack?