Your struggle—like mine—stems from your being unforgiving and unkind to yourself. You’re either SUCCEEDING (kicking ass academically, making friends and keeping them entertained and happy, doing all the stuff you’re supposed to do) or you’re FAILING (hiding out, haunting comments sections, watching three seasons of Battlestar Galactica in a row). You are way too hard on yourself, so you reward yourself excessively to make up for it. When someone says “Take care of yourself,” you associate that with drinking a bottle of wine alone, in bed, while watching Mad Men, even though it should mean dragging yourself out of your room to get a little sunlight, to be around people WITHOUT TRYING TO PLEASE THEM ALL OF THE TIME.
People with reasonably ok social skills who avoid socializing often do so because they’ve fallen into a habit of people pleasing in an inauthentic way. They assume that friends and lovers want a certain version of them, that they can’t be awkward and strange and still be loved.
Thanks, Polly, for writing like this every single week.