Social anxiety doesn’t make it easy to make friends. It’s not easy to go to group fitness classes. It’s not easy to go to races. I’ve written about it before, but this will be a different kind of post. This one will be about friendship.
Through my racing, I’ve become a tad bit more outgoing. I line up elbow to elbow with these strangers and you can’t help but talk to them sometimes. This always helps take your mind off the nerves, which I still get for every race.
When I started going to Unleashed, it was because a coworker and I were going to run Tough Mudder together and wanted to train properly for it. Group classes horrify me (and still do, to some extent) but I had this coworker to go with so I’d at least know someone. As time went on, things changed and she stopped coming, so it was either stop going or just suck it up and be brave to continue my training. I chose to keep training because I knew I needed the obstacle specific training they could offer me, unlike Planet Fitness.
As time went on, I got to know some of the “regulars” who I now consider my friends. I’ve been thinking about writing this update of sorts for a few weeks now, but two things happened in the last week that made me want to write it now.
Both of the cookouts we were invited to last weekend were by people from Unleashed. At the first cookout, we were all sitting around talking and I made some comment about not having family or friends in RI. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but it was something in the past that at the time I didn’t have people to do stuff with – not important. One of the women then said “well now you do” or something to that affect. It made me really happy, probably more than she realized at the time.
Yesterday, another friend made a Facebook status in the Unleashed Racing Teams group about how she’s never made so many new friends in her life (again, I’m paraphrasing). I totally agreed with her and told her as much – and I wasn’t the only one.
I’ve lived in RI for 10 years now. I’ve made more friends in the last 7 months than I had in that entire time living here. The anxiety hasn’t gotten much easier, but I’ve learned to deal with it better, and I have these new friends to thank for that.