Ask Amy: Weirdos rule the world

One day, when I die, they are going to do my autopsy, and written on the inside of my heart, they will find the words, “thank you, Amy Poehler.”

Her latest episode of Ask Amy is about social anxiety, which is something that, as almost all of us know first hand, can be hard to suffer through and hard to seek help for. Girls and women are twice as likely to suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, so I’m glad that Poehler tackled this one. She gets an assist from her co-worker and friend Aubrey Plaza, who recommends dancing as a way to dispel anxiety. I cannot argue with you on that one, April Ludgate.

No transcript available – if someone wants to write one in comments, I’d be so grateful!

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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  • Lace

    Hi, this is another episode of Ask Amy, and the question this week is “Amy, what should I do if I get anxious in a lot of social situations? — Bridget.” Well Bridget, if you have real anxiety, debilitating anxiety that kinda keeps you from doing things, you should talk to somebody about it; and, you can go on the internet and find resources about it, and there’s also drugs you could take and there’s a lot of different things you can do.

    But if you’re talking about kind of like everyday simple anxiety that you get when you walk into a big party or something, here are some things I like to do that I think work.

    The first is, I breathe, which I know sounds silly, but sometimes you’re only like a few breaths away from feeling better. So try that first.

    Then if you’re still feeling anxious, you might wanna reach out to somebody, like a friend. Maybe they’re there with you, or maybe you could even text them. Sometimes just texting someone or talking to someone and saying “I feel weird about this party,” is enough and it can make you feel less alone. And you don’t know, maybe the person you’re talking to also feels the same way, and then suddenly you have a nervous buddy to hang with.

    Then the third thing I would say is, see if you can shrink your situation, shrink your setting – meaning just find a small corner, you know, find a couch, find a place that’s not so giant. Don’t try to navigate the whole room, just find your little place and sit there and let people come to you. Cause that’s a power move, and that’s how the big dogs do it.

    And then lastly, I would say don’t forget that you can always leave. If you’re at a party and you don’t want to be there, you can go. Sometimes remembering that you can leave is just what you need to be able to stay. And you don’t even have to tell people you’re splitting, you can just do an Irish goodbye, or a French exit. I don’t know what you call it, but it depends on what part of the world you’re from. So that’s my advice for any anxiety during a social situation. And listen, if you feel like a weirdo, it’s okay, just take it from my friend Aubrey Plaza

    (Aubrey Plaza says:) That’s right, if you feel like a weirdo it’s okay, because weirdos rule the world. And also, if you get anxious, sometimes, you should dance, because that’s what I do, and it helps me.

    Woohoo, you heard it from an expert! Okay, thanks for watching Ask Amy, see you soon!

  • Rita Carlin

    I’m disappointed by this video. It feels very superficial to me, but it is probably intended for more normal people than myself. I have an anxiety disorder, but it is managed at this point. I am medicated, and I “graduated” from therapy a few months ago, in mutual agreement with my wonderful therapist that I had all the tools I needed to maintain myself in the future. But I still find it difficult to make and follow through on plans for social events with friends.

    This is because I am an introvert. My natural inclination is to curl up with a book, video game or my computer on any particular evening or weekend. And I am writing a novel, the priority #1 in my life, which I am very rarely satisfied that I have done enough on in the last 24 hours. This also keeps me housebound.

    My tip for anyone with similar problems isn’t really much of a tip I guess, but if you have someone you are very close to, a best friend or lover or sibling, whoever, who you can share this problem with and as for help. I have expressed my problem to my partner, and he does most of our social scheduling as a result. I do feel safe going out without him, but I feel so much more at home with him. Having an outing buddy really helps me.

    But as a general societal observation–a lot of pressure is put on us introverts to be extroverted. I still sometimes feel a good deal of irrational guilt over the fact that I don’t get out much. There is a TED Talk on this subject, and I was SOOOOO thankful that it existed, it did more to give me permission to be an introvert than anything else. That’s important too. If you are an introvert, give yourself permission to be that. Acknowledge and own your choice to sit at home rather than go out–it is a completely valid and good choice. Introverts do the most amazing things when left to their own devices–amongst our numbers are many writers, scientists, philosophers, and even some actors, politicians, and business people. We are important members of society.