fb-birthdayI have social anxiety…it’s not like a fear of going out, but an over-analyzing of everything that happens after I do go out. An evening out results in days of torture about how it went.

My mind replays the evening over and over again, and I think things like…Did I talk too much? Did I share too much or not enough? Why didn’t I cry when they cried? Why did I crack so many jokes – I’m not that funny. Why did I make that funny face? Did I eat too much? Should I not have passed on the appetizers or dessert – I don’t want to look like I can’t enjoy food, but I don’t want to look like I’m not trying to get back in shape. Why did I have that second drink? Did they have fun? And it goes on…and on…and on…

Needless to say, I’m most comfortable when I am NOT the center of attention. Which is why about two years ago, I deleted my birthday from my Facebook timeline.

It backfired.

People who knew my birthday date still posted. And then people who wished they’d remembered it was my birthday posted the next day or day after with apologies. And then people who aren’t always on Facebook posted a week later like “WTH” and wanted to celebrate my birthday with an impromptu birthday party – my worst nightmare because I’m friends with a lot of strong personalities and I’m not sure everyone would make it out alive.

Last year I was proactive. I texted my friends and family who had started the online birthday debacle with something along the lines of “Hey, love you too…but deleted my birthday for a reason…so just text me, not post on my Facebook wall.”

That didn’t go over well.

Some were offended because I gave them guidelines for how they were allowed to celebrate my birthday. The texts I did receive were a little hostile. And a lot of people either thought I was being coy (No, I really DO need attention on my birthday!!!) or decided it was a stupid request and posted on my timeline anyway.

Regardless – the same trickle of birthday wishes, “WTH” questions and last-minute party suggestions followed. It dragged out one day of Facebook well wishes to a week or longer.

In addition to not feeling comfortable as the center of any attention – the wall posts tend to make me feel guilty because I don’t always post on everyone else’s wall. Sometimes it’s because the person has already been barraged with comments and such, and I am guessing they’re sick of it and don’t want one more. Other times, it’s because I’m a mess and busy, and think “Oh! I have to post today…later…” and then later never comes. It’s never because I don’t want to wish someone a happy birthday. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be friends.

All these considerations have been weighing on my mind since my last birthday. Which was worse? A birthday debacle or one day of celebratory wishes from people who love me? It’s pretty obvious, right.

So this year I decided to re-publish my birthday. And now I’m enjoying a completely different sort of social anxiety related to the damn Facebook wall.

How do I respond? Do I like every comment/post? Do I reply to every comment to be sure they know it’s appreciated? What if it’s someone who I KNOW I missed their birthday Facebook extravaganza – do I acknowledge that they’re a more thoughtful friend? What about the people who are texting me instead of posting? Do I need to text every one of them back – probably with just a ‘thank-you’ or should it be more? What if someone doesn’t post to my wall…are they a mess like me or are they not wanting to celebrate my birthday? Are they mad at me? And it goes on…and on…and on…

Do you see the world I live in!?! Aren’t you happy it’s not YOUR world?!? And if it is your world, for the love of all things holy – let’s plan a “Wine & Whine Happy Hour” at my place for us sit in social anxiety together. Haha!

In the meantime…I am probably NOT going to handle every birthday post correctly. I will spend the day in agony wondering if I have offended or hurt someone by my like or unlike or comment or non-comment.

So, just know that no matter what I say or do in regards to your social media post or text…I LOVE YOU and appreciate the Birthday Wishes.

Much Love, H.

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