Normal reaction, or crippling social anxiety?

So I’ve been thinking about this girl from high school lately. Either she had a serious crush on me or just wanted to be my friend, (either would’ve been fine, because she was quite a girl) but either way I blew it by being a typical teenage jerk. Finally, after a lot of deliberation, I decided to e-mail her, just to see how things were with her. If things get cleared up, great; at worst, someone I would probably never see again will think I’m creepy. I don’t seriously entertain any notion that we’ll somehow end up getting together if I do this, or even that well be e-mail pals. I couldn’t find her address online, so I e-mailed her brother asking for it. So, fifteen minutes after sending this innocuous e-mail to her brother, I’m shaking and feel sick to my stomach. Granted I have been up all night drinking coffee, but that’s not what it feels like. Is this a normal way to feel? Or do I need to pay attention next time I see ads for one of those “social anxiety disorder” drugs?

Why don’t you wait until you’re at school, and actually talk to her? That seems to me to be the most un-jerkish thing you could do. You’ll know pretty soon (body language and attitude) whether you’re barking up the wrong tree. Plus, it shows that it matters to you (anyone can send an email).

BTW, what ‘typically teenage jerkism’ (if you’ll pardon the expression) did you do?

Sorry, I guess I wasn’t totally clear. Notice how I said I will probably never see her again? I’m 21 and four years out of high school. That’s why it all feels a little weird. I have no idea what she’s going to think when she sees my name. To me she’s the possible perfect chance that I missed; to her I may just be some jerk, I really don’t know. As for what I did… Nothing really awful. As I said, typical teenage jerk stuff. I made fun of straight edge, which I guess she was pretty serious about. (Anyone who read my anti-pot tirade should be “ROFL” at the irony.) In general I just kind of acted like a spazz, as teenage guys with crushes are likely to do. I never did anything mean-spirited, just acted like a moron. I have some form of social skills these days, (though they kind of fade in and out) so hopefully I won’t come off like an ass if she decides to hear me out.

Oh, and the fact that HS is long-gone is the reason it’s so weird for me to feel so much anxiety. Practically nothing is at stake here. It would be normal for a teenager to be nervous about having this kind of talk with a member of the opposite sex, but for a 21 year-old-guy to feel physial symptoms just trying to obtain an e-mail address to write a “what’s up” note seems kind of wrong.

Ah, that puts it in perspective - I should have picked up on that never-seeing her bit.

My take (FWIW) is that I wouldn’t have minded getting an email from someone a few years later. As long as you didn’t come across as some deranged psycho-killer stalker (and I’m sure you didn’t), I’d see it as harmless. What she does with it is up to her. Caveat? I’m male. The thought of females from my past emailing me is not unattractive :slight_smile:

But that wasn’t your question;

Seems to me there’s a part of you that thinks there’s potentially something at stake here. Nothing wrong with that.

Since you’re only 21, you may not have fully experienced this yet. But you will likely find as you get older that there are certain situations in which it is almost impossible to refrain from behaving as a child. Many adults experience this when they visit with their families. I know that when I visit with my mom I find it very difficult to avoid falling into patterns which I have otherwise outgrown. I think you might find a parallel with high school. Even though you are four years older/wiser/more mature now, when you consider resuming a four year old relationship it is hard not to act as though you are still that person you were back then.

This may not be such an issue with people who have more healthy relationships. I happen to have a very difficult relationship with my mom, and those old patterns can be difficult to break. If you feel that you have really changed-you’re no longer a “typical teenage jerk”-it may just be a matter of getting past the old patterns. I would guess that once you talk/write to her you will find that you feel more like yourself and the anxiety may well abate. Good luck!

And, by the way, I would not find it at all creepy if an old friend were to look me up. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with that.

Mods: my thread is dying, and I’d like to hear another response or two. If there’s a better forum for this, could you move it? It’s not exactly GQ, it’s not exactly MPSIMS… but then it’s not exactly “most, best, have you ever…” either. Thanks.

You should also not narrate this at yourself as longshot-to-regain-a-lost-perfect-chance. Running that kind of inner psychodrama is pretty much why you’re feeling panic, is my guess.

Is it abnormal? Naw.