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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here are some exercises from the Overcoming Social Anxiety audio series. They are in no particular order, so you should first do the ones that are easiest for you.

  • Choose something you enjoyed while you were at a restaurant, such as the service, the food, or the atmosphere, and deliberately find a waiter / waitress, manager, owner, or chef and convey your compliments to them.
  • Borrow a small item from a neighbor or co-worker.
  • Ask someone for directions on how to get someplace you're going, even though you know perfectly well how to get there.
  • When you receive a call from a salesperson at home, say "No thank you" and then hang up. Do not wait for their response and do not let them keep talking. As you grow stronger with this, just hang up the phone when a salesperson calls and interrupts you.
  • Say something positive about yourself to someone else, in context.
  • An eye contact exercise: Make direct eye contact with a person on television, perhaps someone who is lecturing or reading the news to you. A step up would be to maintain short eye contact with people you meet in the real world at work, school, social events, or just walking down the street. A second or two of eye contact is quite normal. Practice on this until you feel comfortable in doing it.
  • Call a number on the telephone, and when your party answers, ask if you can speak to Mrs. Franklin. If you are told there is no Mrs. Franklin or that you have the wrong number, say "thank you" or "I'm sorry" and hang up. That was really no big deal - people call all the time and get wrong numbers. If you reach someone who is nasty or abrupt with you, remember they are in a bad mood, but they can't put you in a bad mood unless you let them. So what if someone hangs up on you... that is a normal human thing to do and it is definitely not personal. Just laugh, accept it, and go on.
  • When you're at work, in class, or at a social gathering, look for someone who is obviously alone, and go up and initiate a conversation with them. They will be grateful to you for taking the initiative and making them feel less out of place.
  • Start a conversation with a stranger at the grocery store that is limited to questions about the food and food products. (In context, you can do this at any type of store.)
  • Smile, establish two seconds of eye contact, and say "hello" to a stranger as you meet them in public, and continue walking.
  • While you're in your car, turn on the radio and sing along to songs that you know. Particularly, sing when you are stopped at a traffic light and another car is beside you.
  • When you are driving outside of your own neighborhood, wave at a stranger in their yard like you know them.
  • Return something you purchased that doesn't work or doesn't fit -- instead of just taking the loss.
  • Make it a point to wave at and acknowledge your neighbors FIRST when you see them outside. This is the beginning step. When you are feeling more comfortable, talk briefly with one of your neighbors, and gradually increase the number of neighbors and time spent talking.
  • Go in to a bookstore, find the section of books that you enjoy, and see if there is a person there reading a book. If so, ask them a question about the book or the subject matter, even if you know the answer already. You'll find that most people respond pleasantly and you will have many positive short conversations.

Good luck with your escapades! :clap
 

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Protector of the Den
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Some great ideas. Thanks for sharing :) I might try some out. I'll try to remember to post if I do. Have you gotten a chance to try any of these?

I had a goal that I set on this forum, last year, to complete tons of challenges. I never finished the goal, but some of these would have worked well with that.
 

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I actually end up doing much of the things on that list throughout the week, but I've yet to notice any difference.
 

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Protector of the Den
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While you're in your car, turn on the radio and sing along to songs that you know. Particularly, sing when you are stopped at a traffic light and another car is beside you.
I remembered this one and tried it :D It's been a week or two, so I can't remember what my exact reaction was.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
I've sung in the car also. Once I had the car window open and drove past some people. I felt a little self-conscious, but it was actually quite fun.

I've also been trying to have eye contact with people while walking down the street. I've noticed that some people don't even look at me. Previously, when I used to walk with my head down I thought people we're always staring at me. Now, I realize how wrong I was. People with whom I have eye contact have neutral or positive expressions. Once a girl smiled at me and I smiled back. It made my day. I think I even laughed because it was funny how big an impact one smile made :boogie
 

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Protector of the Den
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Good :) I haven't been able to do it with the window open

I also have people smile at me when I look in their direction, but I have a hard time smiling back. I really need to work on that :) A lot of people try to avoid contact. If you have ever noticed at traffic intersections, most drivers avoid looking at the driver in the car beside them. Sometimes it also seems to me that they avoid lining up their front windows with the other driver's. Curious if people behave this way in Finland as well.
 
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