So I had a therapist years ago suggest this to help with my social anxiety. - Page 2 - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #21 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-23-2021, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by chrisinmd View Post
I agree offering to canvas for them/pass out flyers would help more with working on and improving your conversation or social skills.

But I think the idea of panhandeling would desensitize you to people being rude or rejecting you. So you would not care about the outcome of your social interactions as much.
Actually, that was the precisely my thought in suggesting something along those lines. I don't know if you've ever canvassed for a local government candidate or tried to engage strangers seriously in some kind of project, but in my experience, about 10% are actually polite and/or receptive. The rest are either rude or just dismissive outright. It can be pretty humiliating.

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In general, most people aren't terribly excited about being randomly approached by strangers, much less bothered with matters they're not already emotionally invested in. So there's a challenge and a definite probably of rejection wrapped up in it all.

But I suppose that's probably also a cultural thing.

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Originally Posted by macky View Post
Not sure what it means to "canvas" something (I know what telecanvassing is i.e. calling people to sell services).
It's more or less the same, just without the tele-part. It usually involves either approaching people in public or knocking on doors. I think it's probably most commonly used by political organizations, particularly for local seats in government, to basically refer to knocking on doors, trying to drum up support/answer questions about a candidate and to get a general feel for public opinion.
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post #22 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-23-2021, 09:08 PM
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I got this idea from an old self-hypnosis recording I used to listen to where he told a story about a therapist telling a patient to go to a store and ask for something absurd. I don't really remember much else.


A few weeks later I went to a shoe store and asked the person who worked there for a large pepperoni pizza. I just remember her looking really confused.

I don't remember what I said after that but I left quickly after and when I got outside I couldn't stop laughing. It felt really good.

The fear leading up to it was intense...then moving through it and in the end coming out feeling an instant boost to my self-esteem because I realized it didn't matter what she thought about me. Or anyone else. But myself. In the sense that how others see me doesn't effect who I am. I do believe it's important to keep a sense of how others may perceive you but not to the point you let it become your fixation.
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post #23 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-24-2021, 04:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Ai View Post
It's more or less the same, just without the tele-part. It usually involves either approaching people in public or knocking on doors. I think it's probably most commonly used by political organizations, particularly for local seats in government, to basically refer to knocking on doors, trying to drum up support/answer questions about a candidate and to get a general feel for public opinion.
Thanks AI - this is exactly what I was thinking. Indeed most people aren't keen on being randomly approached, especially if the approacher's agenda isn't immediately apparent and direct.

With that being said, I guess from an exposure therapy perspective, the objective is to be more comfortable with risking "inconveniencing" someone and experiencing rejection in order to ask for something you want. So generally speaking the potential exposure to rejection would be beneficial (as long as the patient knows how to "take a hint" and not holding the approachee "hostage").

But this is only so long as the method's benefits are transferable to real-world situations the person would experience (which I mentioned in an earlier post on this thread).

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post #24 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-24-2021, 08:20 AM
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haha murder apes. I don't think I know why people make me anxious. It's not that they could hurt me but it's kind of hard to know why since it's just a general feeling that's usually there and also with other new stuff too to be honest I seem to have some general anxiety as well. (although not always, like I'm not scared by the 'new things' that bother others culturally as much.)

Children make me anxious as well but that's because I don't really know how to intuitively communicate with them due to lack of experience. But I don't really encounter them often. I have some young cousins I've seen only a couple of times as an adult, and then much more rarely young children have approached me in public (like once or twice ever.) One time after it had gotten dark I was walking somewhere and this young kid came running at me, and I heard their mum warn them not to run ahead because I might kidnap them :/ I think it's on some parent's minds constantly.
'New things' don't bother me; it's the people who are afraid of new things that bother me. This image seems curiously apt for this discussion.



I actually sort of like kids, I'm just afraid to go anywhere near them because I do such an outstanding job fitting the threat narrative for a predator. If I were a well-adjusted person with a job I probably would have fostered or something. I grew up in a house full of crazy people, so a house full of disturbed children doesn't really phase me the way it probably would most people. And I actually enjoy helping people with their problems.

When I had long hair, wee little tots would sometimes ask their parents if I was a boy or a girl. At which point the parents would become horribly embarrassed and drag their children away, apologizing for their rudeness. But I always found it sort of funny. Kids just have no ****s to give.

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I kind of disagree. I think a big part of social anxiety for a lot of people is a faulty expectation of how your own identity is perceived by others. You have constructed an identity of self in your head, and when you fail to perform it, you get anxious. At least, that's how it works in my head.
This is a good point. Thanks for bringing it up.

I sort of think this is the other side of the coin, tbh. You have an image of yourself, and you don't like it when you are not able to live up to that image. You think of yourself as being a smart person, but then you do something stupid (a common occurrence for me). But I feel like, as far as SAD goes, that it's only really a problem if there are other people there to witness your failure (ie. when you embarrass yourself). Your awareness of their awareness of your failure is what makes you hate your own failure. Or am I misunderstanding you?

I don't consider myself an idiot, but I know I must look like an idiot to most people, because I am constantly screwing things up when there are other people around (so, functionally, I am an idiot, lol). At the time I goof up, I feel embarrassment, but I don't feel embarrassment when I do something stupid at home. (Unless I engage, "What would someone think if they could see now?" But I don't generally ruminate like that.)

I think there are actually two separate "identities" at work here. There is the way you see yourself, which you may fail to live up to, and there is the cultural stereotype for how a person should be able to function, which you may also fail to live up to. There may be a lot of overlap, ofc.

If you're an unemployed shut-in at home, for example, you're not generally anxious 24/7 about the fact that you don't have a job or friends, are you? It's having to admit to someone else that you don't have a job or friends that gives you anxiety (or the thought of having to do it at some point in the future), and it's one of the reasons you don't want to talk to other people--because you're afraid that they're going to judge you. You might not care that you don't have a job because you may think it's your parents' or society's responsibility to take care of you; you may not want friends because you prefer being alone. But you could still be afraid of what other people will think about the fact that you're unemployed and don't have any friends. So you're not failing to live up to your own image, only the cultural stereotype. This is just what I've observed happening to other people.

You're right that it hinges on how you think other people are perceiving you. You may think people care more, or that they think more negatively about you, than they actually do. That's where stuff like CBT comes in.

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Originally Posted by macky View Post
perhaps its better for the rejection exposure therapy to focus on scenarios most reflective of what the person normally faces as possible - along with assessing the impact of their rejection anxiety on their ability to actually face it
Why not, instead of asking people for money, simply approach them and say, "I have social anxiety, and, as part of my therapy, my therapist has recommended that I approach people and tell them about my anxiety"? This is functionally more or less the same, isn't it? Except it's actually true. And I suspect people, on average, might respond more positively to an admission like this than they would to being asked for money. I've told a bunch of people I have anxiety and none of them have reacted negatively to it. They mostly just shrug. I doubt they would have been as nice if I'd asked for money. Ofc, because it's actually true, it might create even more anxiety than asking for money. (Which is the point of my original post. It's very easy to convince yourself that you've overcome more anxiety than you actually have through a technique like the one in the OP.) I'm not recommending this as a strategy, btw.

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Originally Posted by chrisinmd View Post
Murder apes thats a funny way to look at it! lol. But I do understand their are a great many people out their in the world who will not help a person, or stand by and do nothing while they are getting hurt or try to hurt you them very selves. The world is a rough and dangerous place. Makes me glad I live today and not in the distance past where people with mental health issues or who were different were treated even worse. I can just imagine how fun it would be to be locked up in a insane asylum in the 1850's for example. Reminds me of the story of reporter Nellie Bly who went undercover in a mental institution. Not good what she experienced and reported on
Oh yeah, I wouldn't have survived long in earlier eras, haha. I'm glad I live in a relatively 'safe' time. I've never heard of Nellie Bly. Thanks for sharing.

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post #25 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-24-2021, 08:24 AM
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@truant

I guess I meant new situations more than new things I don't know.

Yeah I think I said the wrong thing a few times but most of my memories of that were at older ages pissing people off (like late childhood a few times,) when people talk about young kids not caring I doubt I was ever really like that because of my mental health issues.

Edit: also yeah until my brother was about 10 most strangers thought he was a girl because of his hair length. When we were very young people thought we were twin girls (he's actually a year and a half younger than me,) he should have been the trans one clearly (Maybe I'm too adjusted to twitter etc, but I should probably point out this is sarcasm in case someone freaks out that I'm transing my 28 year old child brother.) He also played/looked after a baby doll at one point in childhood (He's actually pretty masculine in that nerdy way though.)

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I sort of think this is the other side of the coin, tbh. You have an image of yourself, and you don't like it when you are not able to live up to that image. You think of yourself as being a smart person, but then you do something stupid (a common occurrence for me). But I feel like, as far as SAD goes, that it's only really a problem if there are other people there to witness your failure (ie. when you embarrass yourself). Your awareness of their awareness of your failure is what makes you hate your own failure. Or am I misunderstanding you?
(this part of your post wasn't addressed to me, but I kind of related to what they were saying.) Actually things like you mentioned bother me when I'm alone, it's not just other people's judgement bothering me they both bother me or sometimes society doesn't judge me and it still bothers me (though society is usually judging obviously because that's what people usually do.) I guess it's not exactly anxiety though but I'm not sure it's ever anxiety, it's basically just self disgust/shame. The anxiety is really just secondary.

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post #26 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-24-2021, 01:19 PM
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We all have a inner beauty. Sometimes it takes the love and understanding of others to really showcase it to us, but when we become aware of it, it gives us inner confidence and possibly the opportunity to really let it shine and make it work for us.

These are just my thoughts/opinions, I am not a Doctor/Health Professional etc. so please draw your own conclusions.
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post #27 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-26-2021, 02:50 PM
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Why not, instead of asking people for money, simply approach them and say, "I have social anxiety, and, as part of my therapy, my therapist has recommended that I approach people and tell them about my anxiety"? This is functionally more or less the same, isn't it? Except it's actually true. And I suspect people, on average, might respond more positively to an admission like this than they would to being asked for money. I've told a bunch of people I have anxiety and none of them have reacted negatively to it. They mostly just shrug. I doubt they would have been as nice if I'd asked for money. Ofc, because it's actually true, it might create even more anxiety than asking for money. (Which is the point of my original post. It's very easy to convince yourself that you've overcome more anxiety than you actually have through a technique like the one in the OP.) I'm not recommending this as a strategy, btw.
Again, my thoughts would be that it depends on what you'd be trying to achieve.

Approaching a stranger and advising them of the bold opener (pun not intended, though I wish it was) would arguably benefit a number of diverse goals: overcoming approaching anxiety in general; facing judgement for having social anxiety; being proactive in letting others know about your social anxiety; being comfortable in risking inconveniencing people.... and I'm sure there's many more. You'll probably have enough awareness not to approach someone who's clearly in a rush to get somewhere, so this helps mitigate rejection.

On a side note - sometimes however, overcoming fear of rejection may be a person's goal and, in my opinion, this won't be accomplished without direct experience of the rejection itself. For example, OP has given an example of asking 100 women out in one day in order to desensitize themselves to rejection. I'd actually dispute whether this in itself is the most efficient way of doing it, but at least the rejection itself is directed at the person and so is more effective than posing as someone you are not i.e. a homeless person.

And no worries, Truant - I know you are not recommending a strategy. It just gives me pause for thought and reminds me of the years when I was also approaching strangers - good times!

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post #28 of 31 (permalink) Old 02-27-2021, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by macky View Post
For example, OP has given an example of asking 100 women out in one day in order to desensitize themselves to rejection. I'd actually dispute whether this in itself is the most efficient way of doing it, but at least the rejection itself is directed at the person and so is more effective than posing as someone you are not i.e. a homeless person.
So what would be the most efficient way of being able desensitize then to rejection in your opinion? How would you reccommed doing it to get over approach anxiety and fear of rejection? Always looking for better ideas or suggestions!
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post #29 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2021, 12:54 PM
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So what would be the most efficient way of being able desensitize then to rejection in your opinion? How would you reccommed doing it to get over approach anxiety and fear of rejection? Always looking for better ideas or suggestions!
Cool

A few points before I go into it…
  • People approaching random strangers for conversations – whilst sober - I feel is highly uncommon, and there are also much more efficient ways to bring new people into your life – either platonically or romantically.
  • I don’t believe one should aim to completely remove rejection fears, but should instead aim to ensure that fear doesn’t prevent you from getting what you want.
  • Being able to open up conversations is distinct from being outcome-focused, of which asking women out happens to be. Of course, because you ask, I’ll focus on the rejection aspect.

The below are things I worked out when I first started tackling my social anxiety, then afterward came to discover that these were also covered in more widely known concepts.

So what I feel would be a better alternative to approaching 100 women in one day, an approach would instead be…. approaching 4-7 women per week, for 12 consecutive weeks. Yes, you can approach more women in any particular week, but the count should not carry over into the next week. If your experience level makes you feel this is a non-challenge (including to be consistent throughout the 12 weeks), then I don’t think much improvement would be gained through increasing the numbers per week. This may indicate that it's maybe time to focus on improving other aspects of your approach if its felt your skills are still lacking.

The following are just tips:
  • Three seconds is the ideal length of time you should take to consider whether to approach a woman, before immediately approaching her and opening a conversation. This is more powerful than you may think - taking longer consider to analyse the situation allows doubts and anxiety to escalate, quite rapidly. Moreover, your aura upon approaching “spontaneously” versus your aura after battering yourself into approaching will likely be vastly different.
  • Through darting around from woman-to-woman in a conveyor belt-like fashion, this quantity-over-quality aspect itself will likely bring about more rejection than success. It will be very effective in helping you hit your rejection target quickly but ultimately, you’ll have developed an approach that you’ll need to undo if afterward, you decide to focus on improving your chances. Thus, instead of focusing on rushing through interactions, it’s encouraged to make the most out of each interaction, then writing down about each interaction and what you’ve learned from it, in order to continuously improve.

There are many reasons why I believe this 12-week approach, when performed consistently, is far more effective in the long-term than the 100-women-in-one-day approach, which I feel in its own right may not be beneficial for the long term. In fact, I have purposely left a lot out and so the above certainly doesn’t cover all aspects. If there’s a particular aspect(s) you’d like more clarity on, please feel free to ask.

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Last edited by macky; 03-01-2021 at 01:17 PM. Reason: changed bold text from 5 to 4
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post #30 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2021, 05:49 PM
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post #31 of 31 (permalink) Old 03-01-2021, 11:06 PM
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That's absurd.

That therapist is socially incompetent. I would of told the therapist to try dressing up like an intelligent moron, then come back to talk to me about the experience.

Never had a career, never had an income, never had a girlfriend, regardless of how many times I tried. The people have the same mentality, perception and belief about me since I was a child. The people behavior and communication induces my social anxiety and depression.

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