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Sometimes I get this rebellious feeling like: What if I just try to act like a social person even though I'm not? "Go with the flow" as it were.

Has anyone ever given a sincere effort to try this? If so, how did it turn out? Do you think it helped?

Keep in mind that I'm not talking about extreme stuff (e.g. public impromptu speeches)... just "normal" stuff (e.g. small talk, not avoiding crowded rooms, going out to dinner with friends of friends, etc).

-AP
 

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Oh yes. Tried to pretend for years, even to myself, before I knew what SA was. Didn't work. It might help or work for you in some circumstances, I don't know.
 

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Yes, for brief periods.
It has helped me, for instance, get a job that I want.
But after I've got the job, I tend to revert back to my real personality.
You can't pretend forever, even if you'd like to.
 

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i pretend every day when im at work or when i go to a party or birthday or whatever..i put on the 'social' front and its all an act....then when i get home i thank god and just chill out..honestly, anymore i dunno who i really am, its strange...

in short, pretending does work i guess short term but in the long run you will get tired of putting on a mask..
 

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I think a better method would be to spot your other self-defeating behaviors besides avoidance and experiment with doing an effective behavior instead. You see, Social Phobia doesn't just involve avoidance, but it also involves passive behavior. Not to mention, there are other self-defeating behaviors that you think makes you avoid being criticized or rejected but prevents you from getting what you want.

You'll be surprise how effective it can be! For instance, I would avoid calling to places for fear of encountering the notorious and deadly "customer service jerk!" I was especially afraid of sounding so anxious that it seems I have low confidence, forgetting what I say, and even stuttering. I called to several places with nothing bad happening, but despite that, I was still anxious about calling.

But then, I noticed something: I tend to delay to try to calm myself down. For instance, I would decide to call at 10:30 am, but would probably start calling at 11:00 am. So, I decided to call promptly despite feeling very anxious. I did it, nothing bad happened, and I felt great! That experienced showed that my belief "if I call feeling very anxious, I will forget what I want to say and even stutter," was wrong. After that, I've managed to call to stores and most other places without much anxiety.

The trick is in being ever-vigilant in spotting your other self-defeating behaviors besides avoidance. But once you do and change them, you'll likely make a lot of progress! Other examples of self-defeating behaviors of social phobics are:

1) Forcing yourself to dress plainly to avoid getting attention. Or forcing yourself to dress stylish to avoid criticism despite wanting to dress simpler.

2) Not expressing your honest opinions. Instead, expressing opinions that you think people would like to hear.

3) Not talking about a topic that you love. Instead, talking of topics that you think others would like.

4) Forcing yourself to laugh at a joke that you don't find funny.
 

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I think it would work for a brief period of time, but if the person has to spend more time with you, then they will probably see your real personality come to the surface.
 

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Sometimes I get this rebellious feeling like: What if I just try to act like a social person even though I'm not? "Go with the flow" as it were.

Has anyone ever given a sincere effort to try this? If so, how did it turn out? Do you think it helped?

Keep in mind that I'm not talking about extreme stuff (e.g. public impromptu speeches)... just "normal" stuff (e.g. small talk, not avoiding crowded rooms, going out to dinner with friends of friends, etc).

-AP
last time i did this... i went WAY too far, way over my head.. i felt like i dug myself into a hole so deep i couldnt get out..i literally did not know what to do...without goin into too many details..i was with a bad crowd and i thought by assimilating to how they were was the best way atm...so i "went with the flow" which came off as me "attacking" every1 in that group...anyway they were ready to beat me. worse than embarassment and a hurt ego, i now do not trust myself or my judgements whatsoever

just be careful..
 

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Sometimes I get this rebellious feeling like: What if I just try to act like a social person even though I'm not? "Go with the flow" as it were.

Has anyone ever given a sincere effort to try this? If so, how did it turn out? Do you think it helped?

Keep in mind that I'm not talking about extreme stuff (e.g. public impromptu speeches)... just "normal" stuff (e.g. small talk, not avoiding crowded rooms, going out to dinner with friends of friends, etc).

-AP
The "fake it until you can make it" system didn't work for me. I think it might work for people with mild problems, but it did not work for me. Thats all I can really tell you, it didn't work for this guy right here. But that doesn't mean it won't work for other people.
 

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I once really wanted to go to this club at college, but had no one to go with. So I went along, by myself even though I was really scared, and made an effort to talk a little, but I found after a few conversations I was just emotionally drained, but I tried to seem as social as possible.

It got worse when people kept coming up to me and asking me if I was ok, saying that I looked sad and/or depressed. They were just being honest and stating their opinions (they were outgoing people.) but still, even though I enjoyed the actual club I didn't go back again, it was just to much for me emotionally.
 

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Hey. I guess you can tell from everyone's responses that yes, it does work, but short term. It's nice when you want to get out for a bit and experience the social life :)
 

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Pretending works. Everyone does it to a certain extent. Just be careful about how far you take it. It can get you things, but it can end up being a lot more painful than it's worth. I guess maybe it's the difference between pretending and lying to yourself or actually trying to be something your not. If you can do it and feel okay about it, I can't see the harm. I just used to pretend all the time without even really knowing it and it got me things, but it ended up being really painful because I felt like crap inside. That sucked.
 
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