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“I Learned My Social Skills On Twitter, Now What”

I had an anxiety attack this week. Not one of my favorite experiences, but it happens every so often. I can usually never tell what causes them, but in this case, I know some of the reason behind it.

Twitter’s collapsing.

I didn’t have strong social skills in high school or college, and when I joined Twitter, I still had some things to learn. I’ve been on Twitter for almost ten years learning how to socialize. It’s been a real education in what I can talk about, with whom, for how long, and still retain an relationship with someone.

It turns out someone will listen to me talk about Animorphs, but I have to do it right. It has to be the proper setting, I have to introduce the topic and offer it as a subject, lay proper foundation so we can discuss on a common level, listen, and read the signals for the proper time to let the conversation go.

Not too bad. It took some practice to figure out what “proper” meant. Many thanks to my friends for their help in that. It wasn’t easy, and isn’t always, but now I get to talk about Animorphs and keep my relationship with my conversational partner. (Jake’s my favorite, then Tobias, then Ax. Ask me about it sometime.)

I’ve also brought that practice into my offline life. At this point, sans anxiety, I can talk to anyone about anything and walk away having had a decent conversation. Reading people and situations comes quite a bit easier now. Say hello if you see me in person—I’m always happy to meet you.

But part of me is wondering, if I lose Twitter, will I backslide? Will I lose the social skills I worked hard for and the confidence that came with it? Will I lose the version of me who can be social and charming and unafraid?

Intellectually, I know it’s an irrational worry, but that’s the thing about anxiety. It amplifies irrational worries till they can’t be ignored. It built up. I feel better now that I’ve identified and addressed it.

Anyway, if I’ve been beating the drum on social media the last few weeks, that’s why. Thanks for sticking with me and believing even when I don’t. I’ll continue to see you around, and keep saying hi. I always appreciate it. And if you let me talk about Animorphs, I promise not to talk your ear off.

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