Why can't I think of anything to say? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 04:41 AM Thread Starter
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 04:54 AM
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I've experienced the same problem when I was a teen and in my early-mid twenties. Nothing would enter my mind as if I went totally blank. It doesn't help when people say "You're very quiet". It doesn't happen so often now.

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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 05:15 AM
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Hey StarryMessenger You are definitely not alone; I find myself in that situation all the time. Actually I’ve heard quite a few people talk about this “blank mind” thing on here so there are definitely many people out there who can relate to this. You’re sitting in a group, and everyone can just bounce ideas back off one another, and think of something to say so quickly. How do they do it???? Conversation just seems to come so easy to those people; it’s something they never seem to give a second thought about because it’s just so natural to them. And I am envious of them. Why can’t I do that also? What’s the magic trick?

For me I’ve found that it only happens in a group. When I’m only with one other person, I seem to be fine. I can make conversation, I can engage in conversation, and can think of things to say. So you may be like me and you’re just more of a one-to-one kind of person. As for groups, I’m not quite sure why I can never seem to think of something to say. Even when I’m calm I still can’t really seem to contribute to the conversation so I don’t really know what I consciously think at the time. I know that I’m definitely an introvert, which means you direct your energy to internal thoughts rather than external happenings (e.g. the conversation) so that might have something to do with it. Extraverts are naturally great at having group conversations, and dominate the conversation, while introverts find it easier talking with people one-on-one.

I’d be interested to hear what others have to say here.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by StarryMessenger View Post

I don't know if this was SA. I didn't feel nervous or anxious in the group. I just couldn't think of any topics to talk about or answers to other people's comments.
I get this problem too, and it's the main reason why I believe I fail to make friends. Often even when I don't seem to be anxious, I still can't think of anything to say.

I am going to completely work on making myself happy.

“Fear can make you do more wrong than hate or jealousy. If you're afraid you don’t commit yourself to life completely; fear makes you always, always hold something back.”
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 10:20 AM
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I find this happens alot to me too. Though some of the time, my mind doesn't always go totally blank but when ideas do pop into my head I often mentally censor myself before I start which means the same end result - that I don't talk. Alot of the time I worry the other person might find my idea of conversation either boring, stupid or might possibly take what I've said in an offensive way (though I don't mean it that way) so at times hardly anything I think of (especially if I don't know the person well) seems a suitable topic. Though there are times that my mind goes completely blank anyway. I think when it comes to me it's mostly because I'm already feeling so tense at the idea of initiating a face to face conversation - that feeling the physical symptoms of anxiety makes it next to possible for me to be spontaneous. Online I find I have this problem much less, because I know I've got the chance to properly get my thoughts in order before communicating - without feeling the same amount of anxiety. Face-to-face with someone else I either don't know or barely know it's a different story. This especially happens to me alot in interviews.
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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 02:51 PM
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i couldn't really help you cause i have this same stupid problem X/. but you're definitely not alone lol. the absolute worst thing is when you're in a group and the conversation dies and then everyone looks at you expectingly, like it's your turn to pick up the conversation O.o

"it's like she dun woke up mad like her husband had bought her the wrong cereal..."

i'm going to punch you in the baby maker.
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 03:00 PM
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Same for me. In my case I think it's because I've isolated myself from society for so long that I no longer have any up-to-date knowledge on the topics most people like to talk about and can only discuss my own niche interests. That and I've never been much of a talker in the first place. I completely understand the frustration of desperately wanting to take part but feeling unable to even without anxiety. It really sucks.
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 03:09 PM
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I think most of us have this issue. Probably the best thing to keep in mind for dead-air type situations is that conversation is very much like a dance in that people are actually much more concerned about the rhythm than the words. You could bring up something completely useless and mundane, and yet as long as you say it with some feeling, it will usually be enough to keep things moving.

It also helps a bit if you keep up with current events, so that you have access to common topics of discussion. I know from my own personal experience that it's easy to fall into a sort of nihilistic funk and not even pay attention to the world at large, but this sort of attitude is very unhelpful when it comes to developing shared meanings and connecting with people.
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-19-2010, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by shadowmask View Post
In my case I think it's because I've isolated myself from society for so long that I no longer have any up-to-date knowledge on the topics most people like to talk about and can only discuss my own niche interests.
I'm the same. I've started wondering if I should seriously devote a chunk of my time to scrubbing up on all the pop culture of the past few years.
I went to a party recently and was pleased to find a group of people who were quite strange nerdy types and I thought "yay" I'll fit in here.
But then they started talking about Doctor Who and XBox games and I realised I'd totally missed the boat when it came to the current interests of my most appropriate peer group :/

I am going to completely work on making myself happy.

“Fear can make you do more wrong than hate or jealousy. If you're afraid you don’t commit yourself to life completely; fear makes you always, always hold something back.”
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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 08:58 AM
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This happens to me with alarming regularity and I actually started to hate myself because it would transform perfectly ordinary social events into humiliating episodes that gradually reduced my confidence to shreds.

The irony is that, I can put on a reasonably good front to a stranger but as soon as I start becoming familiar with someone, the anxiety goes into overdrive and my mind just seems to 'freeze' up all of the time.

Nowadays, the self hatred has subsided and I don't feel as much pressure to perform but I've still got a long way to go before my communication skills are no longer an utter liability.
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post #11 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 09:52 AM
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I've the same problem too. I'm getting better though. As you expose yourself more and more to these situations it'll get easier for you. If you're in the situation try not to worry about what to say. It'll come naturally. Also try to observe how other people are talking to each other.
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post #12 of 27 (permalink) Old 02-20-2010, 09:53 AM
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Yeah, I have this problem. And more than anything else, I just want to know where I stand; whether I'm dumb, repressed, out of the loop, aloof, brain-damaged, introverted, boring, have avpd or something else. Maybe then I could work on a solution... But until then, I feel my life is going to be stuck here where it is.
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post #13 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-05-2012, 10:43 PM
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I got this problem also and it sucks. I'm thinking it may be some problem in the brain, but I am pretty sure SA is more of a symptom of it. Whatever it is, I have always suffered from it and its getting old.
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post #14 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-06-2012, 01:31 PM
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Hi StarryMessenger Focusing inwards on how you're feeling never helps, that's why you were so aware of havign a blank mind. Trouble is, you end up thinking only about how blank your mind is and how you can't think of anything to say, and you look for things in the situation to confirm this e.g that you haven't said anything and that someone said you're quiet, and then you focus even more on your blank mind.

This gives you even less attention on what people are actually saying and stresses you out so you don't just say something that comes into your head relating to the conversation.

Focus on what the other person is saying, relax, and just be curious and ask questions if you don't know anything about the subject. If you have any observations or thoughts on the subject of the conversation, just express them.

I know how it feels, I'm the same countless times. Just don't try to think of things to say, just focus on what other people are saying and just put something into the conversation every once in a while when you're curious about something that someone is talking about. It's hard to explain, but when you're thinking about the subject of the conversation in a way that's relevant to you, you don't think about what you're saying, you just do it - A lot like walking, you don't think about where you're going to put your legs, you just think of where you want to go and your mind moves your legs for you

Hope that helped and sorry if it's patronising at some bits
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post #15 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-10-2013, 04:41 PM
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We need a dating service for us SA people! Wouldn't it be great to go on a date and just smile and look around silently and come home after a few hours with a feeling of accomplishment? Damn that went well? <3 other then that, that leaves us with having to verbaly please our dates and friends.

And we're not good at it, most of the times.

So what do we do?

Throw ourselves at heavy social events > doesn't work to me but just manages to get me pissed more of the whole SA problem

Throw ourselves slowly at minimal social events and slowly increase the volume of humans > works better; at least less stress at the end of the day and you can get some satisfaction from some "events" as you have a better chances of appearing less SA'sd and succedding at communicating. And then you use that feeling of accomplishment for onward events and so on so forth, it must lead to improvement. How great of an improvement, do not know, but surely an improvement.

If you do something, you don't get worse at it. We as humans are not capable of degrading skills that we practise. We're like a guitarist that is starting to play.

So surely we need to be more around people and we will get better at it. But to do it in smaller steps rather then inviting family and friends over for a .. barbeque? Cause we will just hate ourselves and others more afterwards. Though of course life throws unexpected massive social events at times just to shake things up a bit. So our path wont be dull in any case.

What a *ucked up problem we got, dear SA'sers. I'm an owner of a small successful company, got a new luxury car, got enough money, yet I can't buy myself out of this one. I've been working on my business and not on myself, hence, of course there are little topics to talk about.

I feel like I can go on about this forever. Cause I've been spending time on this topic and I can talk about it. I couldn't be left speechless over this topic. You're all mostly writing long posts about not having much to say. My will be the longest here though I think

So my conclusion is that we're at least average talkers but we haven't spent time on topics of interest. Say you went to talk with somebody about SA, you could talk about it for 3 days non stop right? So it's just that our minds were/are elsewhere.

Dam I'm gonna stop now thoughts?
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post #16 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-10-2013, 07:07 PM
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story of my life B
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post #17 of 27 (permalink) Old 08-10-2013, 08:42 PM
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I also suffer from this.

I don't know what to do about it. I guess best thing to do is try and push out of your comfort zone.

Another alternative for religious people is to pray to god so that he can remove your SA. Who knows it might actually work
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post #18 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-20-2013, 09:06 AM
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Mind Draws A Blank

Oh, my goodness! I have what's called, selective mutism. When in a crowd, especially, I have all of these interesting things I want to say, but when it's time for me to speak, my brain seems to freeze up and nothing comes out. If I do muster up something to say, I may stammer or choke it out:-( This happens most of the time, and I am tired of how idiotic I feel afterward.

I identify with each comment made in this thread. I am so glad to finally realize I am not alone in this. Tips offered will be utilized, especially to start by making an effort to participate in conversations with small groups and gradually move toward larger groups. I know it won't be easy, but it will only get harder and worse if I do nothing. Ugh! Wish me luck!!
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post #19 of 27 (permalink) Old 11-21-2013, 08:02 PM
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Not alone

I have been labeled quiet and shy and it's really frustrating! I can never think of things to say its like my mind goes blank. I feel so dull sometimes like nothin is going on in my head! I am so happy I came across this post! Will this get better with time, will I grow out of this or am I doomed to be socially inept forever??
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post #20 of 27 (permalink) Old 01-03-2014, 08:39 PM
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You're not alone! I can't ever think of a reply whilst engaging in face-to-face conversation which makes me seem like an idiot and I feel dumb because I can't find a simple reply in my head. It's like I freeze up and my mind goes into a panic to try to find something, anything to say. But I my mind just goes completely blank. I've not always been like this, so it's new to me and I'm still trying to figure out what's going on inside my head, but knowing there are others like me out there eases things a little.
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