Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I consider the possibility of performing some substantial feat, I tend to overestimate my abilities rather than underestimate them. As in: Oh that test that’s coming up? I can study for that within two days! or when I’m watching a horror movie: Psh. This group of young protagonists is so stupid. Why not stay together to fight off the killer collectively rather than split themselves up and make them more susceptible to attack? Amateurs. I could do so much better. And then I hear another bump in the night, and my popcorn goes flying.
I found myself in similar circumstances, as in me grossly overestimating my abilities, just a few days ago. See, I live literally two minutes away from a very good friend of mine, and I usually walk past her house on my frequent walks outside. While I’m tempted to go over and knock on her door, I’m afraid that she’ll be busy and perceive my presence as a nuisance. So instead of initiating conversation, I cowardly walk past and continue my musings.
However, in spite of my dislike of spontaneously knocking on doors, I still like to imagine my friend suddenly coming out of her house on her own accord. She opens the door, recognizes me from a short distance, smiles, and waves. And I, being the bold, fearless individual that I am walk over and greet her exuberantly. I ask her how her summer is going, what she plans on doing in college, how many movies she’s watched, anything, proving that I am indeed a socially adept individual. I’ve played the scene quite a few times in my head and am certain this is how it will go. I mean, how could it not?
Except one day the first part of my imagining actually happens. As I’m walking by, my friend opens her front door, recognizes me, and waves. Shocked beyond comprehension, I smile, wave back, turn around, and promptly walk the other direction, effectively evading all conversation. Burning in shame and anguish, I curse myself for my insecurity. Stupid, stupid, stupid! How simple can it be! All you had to do was say hello! Honestly, it’s not like she’s a giant sea monster!
In hindsight, I don’t believe I turned away because of immense social awkwardness or nervousness around this particular person, I think it was more the initial fear of rejection and uncertainty. “Fear of rejection? What does that mean?” one might ask. And by that I mean circumstances in which she would clearly demonstrate her dislike of my presence. A.K.A. her discomfort and desire to evade me at all costs. Any of this might be too much for poor, sensitive Anusha to bear! (Ironic isn’t it, because I may have elicited those same feelings in her by hurriedly walking away.)
As I paced a little, I continued angrily cursing at my seemingly insurmountable insecurity. Anusha! Honestly, I expected far better from you! Now you go back and initiate conversation at once!
Pondering my angry command, I, for once, listened to that little voice and resolved that I would go back to my friend and ask her how her summer had been. After all, how bad it could be?
But just as I was about to turn around, I saw my friend walking towards me from a distance.
‘Hi there! How’s your summer been?” I heard myself say.