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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've done a lot of reading lately about social anxiety, and now I feel like writing about it. I came across this forum through Google, and read a few threads, saw how other people are dealing with it, and I figured I'd tell my story and see if anyone has any advice or comment.

I have mild social anxiety. I say "mild" because I've heard stories of people who can't function AT ALL in a social setting. I can function, but not to the extent I wish I could.

Example: I'm going to a party, and I tell myself that this time it'll be different. This time I'll start conversations with people I don't know, and that I'll have fun and make new friends and be part of the crowd. Instead, it ends up being as usual. I mostly stay by my own 2-3 friends, hardly ever open up to anyone else on my own, and when I force myself to try to, I feel uncomfortable, freeze, and don't know what to say.

Everything is good if I have a trusted friend introduce me to a new person, but even then, I always feel uncomfortable around this person until I've spent a LOT of time with them. Making friends is a long and arduous process for me, because I can't let loose in front of new people. This leads them to think THEY are making me uncomfortable, and to avoid me. (when it's really my anxiety and self-awareness that's making me uncomfortable)

What ends up happening at gatherings is I'm typically the quiet one, goofing off on my smartphone and occasionally joining in on a random conversation, but never really staying in one for more than a few minutes.

I have a feeling I share this experience with others. This has impeded my social life, and my ability to find a mate. I almost always end up in long-distance relationships because I don't have any of these problems interacting with people online. I have friends all over the country, but very few at home for this reason.

It's strange; I WANT to be more social, I WANT to get myself out there, but when I push myself to, it backfires. I end up embarrassed, or end up being quiet all night.

I've only started recognizing these problems in the past few years. (I'm 32) Prior to that I was content to be a geek in my own world all the time. But in the past few years I realize that I've been missing out on living a fuller life, full of social interaction, friends, and love. Oddly enough, the few times I've successfully come out of this shell was when I was visiting with my last (long distance) girlfriend; when she and I were together, I am as social as can be. It's as if her being by my side "turns off" the anxiety. Sadly, things didn't really work out between us though, mainly for practical reasons (distance, different countries), so we decided to just stay friends.

If anyone has advice, or comments, please speak up. I'm looking forward to talking to those in a similar boat and hearing what has worked for you.

Much love,
-The Spotted Cat
 

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welcome!

I think all the people here have different versions of SA, for example me. I can join a party, make new friends, talk with people that I don't even know, but... I cannot have a girlfriend... :p So I think what you need is improve your self confidence a little bit ;)

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
welcome!

I think all the people here have different versions of SA, for example me. I can join a party, make new friends, talk with people that I don't even know, but... I cannot have a girlfriend... :p So I think what you need is improve your self confidence a little bit ;)

Cheers.
I have an easier time interacting with new people who I'm not physically attracted to, so I can understand where you're coming from. Thanks for the welcome. :)
 

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Hi there spotted cat. Welcome. I too am new here. Coming from someone that tends to do the same thing, it sounds like you may be putting too much pressure on yourself in these social situations.
Next time try making it a goal to take things as they come and to just be in the experience. The more you practice the more comfortable you will be and it can make more ambitious goals of forming lasting relationships with a fellow party-goer more likely to happen.

I wish good luck to you.

~Marybeth
 

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Welcome, SpottedCat! :)
 

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Hello and welcome!

I can relate as I'm sure lots of others on this board can.

I have severe SA but only a few people know it (I hide it well and just come across as quiet). Like you I actually WANT to be more social. Like you I go into social settings telling myself I can do this and then when the time comes I go between two extremes: I either get very quiet as I silently and frantically wrack my brain trying to think of something intelligent and interesting to say other than smiling or "yes", "that's nice" etc OR the other extreme is I talk a mile a minute blurting words out before my brain can truly formulate what I want to say because I detest silences. Then, when the social interaction is finished and I'm back at home or at my desk or similiar comfort zone I berate myself for being such an idiot etc etc.

It's like there's a small, inner social me that desperately wants to get out but doesn't have the tools to do so. Actually as a child I used to be a chatterbox, and when I'm around people I am truly comfortable with (my husband, my mom, my therapist) my chatterbox side comes out again.

Therapy has been helping me greatly, forcing myself to walk slowly (I zoom through corridors etc) and to speak slowly (easier said than done) are two things that I've been trying. Also, telling myself that it's not my responsibility to entertain the other person is something else I've been trying. A large issue for me is my need to be entertaining because I feel that people are judging me and thinking that I'm boring (wallflower syndrome) so trying to take the pressure off myself is also key (at least for me it is).

Hope the above advice proves helpful.

Trini
 

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Hey spottedcat welcome. :)
 
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