I’ve been an overthinker for as long as I can remember and probably even way before that. It had its positives – I was considered a bright child at school and always got good grades because of my determination to understand things. Growing up I’ve met many fellow overthinkers and taken comfort in realizing that I’m not the only one who will over analyze any situation to death. If you aren’t an overthinker yourself you may not completely understand how painstaking every thought process, every conversation, every simple human interaction can be for somebody like myself who tends to try to decipher every single aspect of life. Here’s a small insight into the mind of an overthinker.
The overthinkers of the world are usually the people who you will see staring at their phones with a puzzled look on their face, scrolling up and down repeatedly as they re-read and then re-read again the texts both sent and received. Something as simple as an emoji can throw us while we try to understand it’s placement and intended message. We will run through all possibilities in our head, usually settling on the worst case scenario (because how could a smiley face ever be perceived as exactly that – A straightforward smile?)
Social media is absolute hell for an overthinker, mainly because we only see a small piece of any situation. A boy you’re dating/ex boyfriend/random crush adds a girl as a friend and we instantly start concocting sick theories in our head of the story behind this. We’ve learned to live with the fact that ‘insert name here is now friends with insert name here’ comes along with an intricate plot we will develop just to taunt ourselves further. We will assume and fantasize and create until the two new Facebook friends have most certainly conducted an illicit affair beneath our very noses, are probably deeply in love and have definitely slept together. In reality they probably discovered each other on Facebook’s ‘people you may know’ feature and have never even met but God forbid we would ever reach such a simple conclusion.
One odd part of being an overthinker is that we are usually prepared for literally any possible conversation to occur, except of course for the ones that actually do. We’ve carefully constructed our responses and are eagerly awaiting you to prompt it from us. It’s always a disappointment when this doesn’t go as planned and the aftermath will be spent with us meticulously deconstructing the conversation and how we could have said something better/funnier/less socially awkward. The other side effect of this is that we can come out with the completely inappropriate reply at the completely wrong time purely because we’ve spent days dreaming up the way this is gonna go in our head and we’ll be damned if we don’t get our comeback in somewhere. I’ve spent many nights lying in bed bubbling over arguments which may arise (they never, ever did) and perfecting a 6 paragraph speech I was never able to use. I like to think these will come in handy one day, even if used in the completely wrong context, just because it would be a shame to put all that preparation to waste.
It comes with the territory that overthinkers usually care far too much about what other people think of them. We worry and fret that we may have ‘given the wrong impression’ or ‘said the wrong thing’ when, in reality, the other person probably has far more important things to do than contemplate whether your awkward smile meant you hated them/fancied them/were plotting to murder them. One thing I try to tell myself when I get caught up in these ridiculously over-analytical moments is that anything you said or did will be forgotten in weeks, maybe days, usually just hours. We are the only ones who hold on to our awkward behaviors and cringe when Timehop shows us a tweet we wrote last year, kindly reminding us that everybody has probably been judging us ever since. They aren’t judging us. They’re getting on with their own lives and, I guarantee, overthinking their own issues so much that they have no more room for even considering ours.
For all the people who don’t overthink – You don’t know how lucky you are. And for all the people who do – You also do not know how lucky you are. While it might seem stressful and painstaking when you’re lying awake at 2a.m having that fictional conversation in your head, overthinking is also one of the qualities that makes you human. It means you’re intellectual enough to want to process your own thoughts rather than sweep them to the side. It also means you’re caring – You care so much about everyone and everything that you spend the majority of your time working out ways in your head to deal with that. In overthinking you are trying to be the best version of yourself you can be by working out how to say things in the right way, how to understand others emotions, how to portray your own. As long as we bear in mind that we’ll never have everything all worked out, let the overthinking commence and just try to deal with it. (And if that doesn’t work just try to be happy that you are intelligent. I’ve never, ever met an overthinker who was stupid.)