I went to my second social anxiety group today but I left feeling more anxious than I did when I went in. I know we're being taught that we aren't being judged as much as we think we are and that we can't be perfect in life but I'm still aggitated. Someone brought up how their biggest, most recent accomplishment was inviting the group out to dinner after the last meeting. So the leader of the group asked him why he thought he was able to do that but can't do the same with others outside the group. He said he didn't know.
So I spoke up and explained that it feels safer in the group because we all understand what it's like to be socially anxious. The response I was met with was upsetting to me. I was told that other people would be just as open to such an invite and she even turned to this guy and addressed him personally to say as much as if she were trying to subtley tell him not to listen to me because I'm wrong and giving bad, negative information. I wasn't saying that other people wouldn't have accepted his invite and I wasn't saying that he shouldn't try. I was saying that as someone who knows what it's like to be socially anxious, I am more sensitive to other peoples' feelings. I make it a point to address people directly, make eye contact, and appear interested. I don't just brush people off because I know what it feels like to be brushed off myself and I wouldn't want to do that to other people. And I don't give a shit what any therapist says – I stand by what I said. You understand that kind of suffering better if you go through it yourself. I accepted this guy's invitation to dinner because I knew how hard it is to ask in the first place. Not everyone thinks that way and I know I'm right. I didn't think that way before I began experiencing social anxiety. You don't need a degree to figure some of this shit out.
EDIT: To further demonstrate my point – I was bullied pretty badly in 7th grade. I couldn't even go to lunch without being harassed. It was devastating and changed the entire course of my life.
In 8th grade, the bullying stopped. My parents had, over the course of the previous year, managed to squash it. And one day, as I was standing in line at lunch, I looked to my right and saw a boy who I knew had been bullied as well. I realize no one talked to him. He was friendless. So I turned to him and said "hi". He was shocked, I know it. He literally did a doubletake and said "hi" back. I think I even asked him how he was doing. I never would have done that if I hadn't realized how painful bullying actually is through my own experiences with it.