No it doesn't get better with age - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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No it doesn't get better with age


Lurked here off and on, first time joining and posting.

I'm a 37 year-old male, suffered with terrible social awkwardness throughout my life. I moved to Paris several years ago from Canada. I knew nobody here and was hoping the change in city and people would force me to "get out there" and overcome my anxieties. Nope, it's worse than ever.

Every so often, there's a bar I go to where I like the music. I go maybe every 6-8 weeks for a drink or two when I'm free on Saturday (which, being the mostly-friendless SA sufferer that I am, is most of the time). I went last night and a couple guys struck up a conversation and one of them mentioned that he's noticed me there before and that I'm "always alone". To say I was mortified was an understatement and I hastily made for the exit. I won't ever be going back.

I felt like crying - not only am I alone but I STILL have to be tormented for it, even when pushing 40. Now I'm just very depressed; always seems that any momentary happiness that occurs in my life is beaten back as soon as it appears. One step forward, three steps back.

My bad news to the younger members of this forum : no it doesn't get better. I used to think/hope it would. But it really doesn't, and there's even less tolerance for social awkwardness once you reach an age at which you're "supposed to" have learned the ways of the world.

Life sucks.

**Note to moderators : I accidentally posted this in "First Steps". My apologies and please remove the duplicate there.**
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 04:58 PM
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The first step to getting better is accepting who you are. You had an opportunity there, people were reaching out to you, but you shut them down because you chose to be embarrassed about them seeing who you are. To get better, you have to be okay with being seen alone -- just nod when someone observes that, knowing that it's nothing to be ashamed of. They're bringing it up either to express sympathy or to suggest that you join them in the future, certainly not to ridicule.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by ToutSeul View Post
Lurked here off and on, first time joining and posting.

I'm a 37 year-old male, suffered with terrible social awkwardness throughout my life. I moved to Paris several years ago from Canada. I knew nobody here and was hoping the change in city and people would force me to "get out there" and overcome my anxieties. Nope, it's worse than ever.

Every so often, there's a bar I go to where I like the music. I go maybe every 6-8 weeks for a drink or two when I'm free on Saturday (which, being the mostly-friendless SA sufferer that I am, is most of the time). I went last night and a couple guys struck up a conversation and one of them mentioned that he's noticed me there before and that I'm "always alone". To say I was mortified was an understatement and I hastily made for the exit. I won't ever be going back.

I felt like crying - not only am I alone but I STILL have to be tormented for it, even when pushing 40. Now I'm just very depressed; always seems that any momentary happiness that occurs in my life is beaten back as soon as it appears. One step forward, three steps back.

My bad news to the younger members of this forum : no it doesn't get better. I used to think/hope it would. But it really doesn't, and there's even less tolerance for social awkwardness once you reach an age at which you're "supposed to" have learned the ways of the world.

Life sucks.

**Note to moderators : I accidentally posted this in "First Steps". My apologies and please remove the duplicate there.**
Man you have some work to do... No usually it does not get better by itself but it can definitly get better if you take action.

So instead of making gross generalizations and discouraging statements you could start by letting us know what was your course of action to reduce your sa so we can try to help.

Allez courage !
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 05:48 PM Thread Starter
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Man you have some work to do... No usually it does not get better by itself but it can definitly get better if you take action.

So instead of making gross generalizations and discouraging statements you could start by letting us know what was your course of action to reduce your sa so we can try to help.

Allez courage !
Discouraging perhaps, but I'm simply offering a different perspective.

I don't have a course of action.

My social anxiety, severe as it is in social settings, doesn't generally manifest itself in education or work matters. As such I don't think it has impeded my professional progress. I guess I always assumed that as long as I was financially and professionally secure, I could handle the social isolation and find solace in solitary hobbies.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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The first step to getting better is accepting who you are. You had an opportunity there, people were reaching out to you, but you shut them down because you chose to be embarrassed about them seeing who you are. To get better, you have to be okay with being seen alone -- just nod when someone observes that, knowing that it's nothing to be ashamed of. They're bringing it up either to express sympathy or to suggest that you join them in the future, certainly not to ridicule.
Why would a person other than a complete con (look up that word) say something like that? Clearly it's going to make the individual uncomfortable. Sympathetic? If so, I'm not interested in being someone's social charity case.

If I hadn't been so tired and somewhat drunk (it was 2am) I might've been defiant, something along the lines of "yeah, so? do I need your permission to come here on my own?"

Just shows that even in a city of 8 million people it's hard to keep one's anonymity.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 10:45 PM
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The "it gets better" saying is pretty cliche, because it has no mention of it being "it gets better, only if you try." But from what I read from your post, I haven't seen you mention what you did to get yourself socially to others. All you've mention is you going to the bar alone surrounded with people. But do you reach out to them?

I do hate how there are some people that would always like to point out to you for being alone, and being very observant and look for clues that you are a loner. I do understand by saying that, it accomplishes nothing but made the other person feel bad. Deep down, I think some of those people like those are self-insecure also about themselves. Or also it's no ill intent and they are suggesting you join their group like Paul said above.

But the important thing is again, you should get yourself to mingle with others, instead of just putting yourself in crowded places but not trying to build friendships there. If you get the "you're alone" comments, learn to adapt to them. Play them off or come up with a story of why you're alone to make yourself feel better. You're new to the area, looking to meet new people, etc. Most times, people do not really stigmatize you for this, and they understand and can relate. Especially with older people. A lot of them are lonely. It's only in grade school when being alone is consider being not cool.

Enjoy any good things, even the little and menial ones, as you will never know what impending distresses could descend upon you in a moment.

If I fail to adapt to the fault of others, it is my fault.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 11:14 PM
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The thing about anxiety is that it is in our head. We feel extremely anxious, but to those guys they probably had no idea what was going on lol. Remind yourself that these anxious feelings are in your head and though real they are not reality. And learn to not care about embarassment. Some people see you alone at bar, so what, who cares if it is weird or not. Dont let anxiety ruin your life, the only way to live a good life is to overcome anxiety to a good extent and the only way to do that is to face your fears with a better mindset.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 11:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ToutSeul View Post
no it doesn't get better.
Your quote is so expressive . i have realized this fact a while ago , when i was between 12 and 17 i was obsessed with the idea of being under age . when i was in social situations i was thinking that all people despise me because of my age . And now i became adult and i have other ideas and reasons to be unqualified for social situations . SA is a delusions generator .

four walls, a metal door but there's no key
it's all in your overactive mind
the world is out there in color but i'll keep you blind
... I'm anxiety
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-03-2017, 11:23 PM
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Man you have some work to do... No usually it does not get better by itself but it can definitly get better if you take action.

So instead of making gross generalizations and discouraging statements you could start by letting us know what was your course of action to reduce your sa so we can try to help.

Allez courage !
Discouraging perhaps, but I'm simply offering a different perspective.

I don't have a course of action.

My social anxiety, severe as it is in social settings, doesn't generally manifest itself in education or work matters. As such I don't think it has impeded my professional progress. I guess I always assumed that as long as I was financially and professionally secure, I could handle the social isolation and find solace in solitary hobbies.
It s not a different perspective it s pretty obvious that if you have severe sa it is unlikely to go away just like that. On the other hand, there are a lot of possibilities to improve one s situation.

First thing is to get knowledge about your disorder (genral mechanisms of sa and what form does your sa take). In order to get better you must change your thought patterns, which requires both purely introspective work and exposure, i.e. progressively getting out of your confort zone.

It may be easier to work on your thoughts with the help of a professional. In Paris you can easily find therapists. Cbt is believed to be the most efficient form of therapy for sa. If you wish you can also try some medications to help you facing your fears.

Apart from that, there are obviously countless way of getting out of your confort zone. Any social activity is good. Some good options imo are art clubs like acting classes (there are some for shy people), sport clubs, volunteering and so on...

Peut etre que Paris n est pas la ville ou les gens sont les plus affables, mais tu as l embarras du choix en ce qui concernent les opportunités de sortir de ta zone de confort en faisant des trucs intéressants.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 09-04-2017, 01:43 PM
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My bad news to the younger members of this forum : no it doesn't get better.
My good news to the younger members of the forum: It can get better. I know this from my own experience.

Note that I said "can," not "will." Nothing is guaranteed. Progress is certainly not a function of age. Progress depends on a variety of things -- motivation, engagement, persistence, faith, courage, willingness to tolerate distress, facing problems rather than avoiding, taking responsibility vs. blaming, trying to expand your understanding, thinking for yourself, willingness to take risks, etc.
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