Nice things people have said to me vs. what my anxiety thinks they actually said.

Nice things people have said to me vs. what my anxiety thinks they actually said.
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I like believing in basic human good, and that most people are trustworthy and honest. My anxiety, however, assumes that everyone is a James Frey-caliber liar that harbors a secret hatred of me.

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Here are some very nice, or at least very benign, things people have said to me and how my anxiety interpreted them.

“I love those boots.” — Acquaintance

What my anxiety thinks she said: I can’t think of anything nice to say about you as a person, so I’m going to compliment your boots, which somebody else designed and made, and you just chose to put on.

“I’ve really seen improvement in your work. Good job!” — My boss

What my anxiety thinks they said: But I remember your mediocre old work, and if you backslide just once, I am going to fire you. Actually, I'm not just going to fire you. I'm going to wait until your birthday, have everyone in the office sign a card where they write down what they hate about you, and pretend to hold a birthday party for you that's actually a "f*ck you; you're fired" party. There will be a cake, and you won't be allowed to have any, but you also won't be allowed to leave until you watch everyone else eat the cake.

“Cheers.” My boyfriend, at the end of a phone call

What my anxiety thinks he said: That’s how he ends business phone calls. Oh my god, this call is the first sign that I’m being downgraded from a girlfriend to a business interest. He’s going to break up with me when he gets home tonight. Oh shit. Maybe he’s already broken up with me via email, and I just haven’t checked it. If I never check my email again, can he never breakup with me? I better text everyone I know and let them know they can only contact me via phone and text from now on.

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“That was a great comedy show. I loved the part about the hospital clown.” — Someone talking to me after seeing a show I wrote

What my anxiety thinks they said: I hated your show, but I don’t have the guts to tell you to your face. I especially hated that part about the hospital clown, but I’m telling you I liked it because I’m hoping that you know it was one of the weakest pieces in the show. Then, if you correctly deduce that I couldn’t possibly like that bit, you’ll know that I hated the whole show, but I’m just trying to protect your delicate little ego, which I assume is as weak as a sparrow’s hollow bones. 

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P.S. — Don’t quit your day job. Oh wait, you won’t have to, because I bet you’ll get fired the first time you backslide.

“...” (silence) — Anyone, anywhere, anytime

What my anxiety thinks they said: YOU ARE TERRIBLE AND THERE IS FOOD ON YOUR SHIRT RIGHT NOW BUT I AM NOT GOING TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT.

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