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Hi Everyone,

I'm new here and could really use some advice please.

Yesterday my husband and I went to a nice party that a couple of our friends hosted for us. They had invited about 30 of our friends. We were asked to give a little speech at one point. I am absolutely terrified of public speaking so my husband spoke and I just stood there next to him, smiling and agreeing with him, making it look like this was OUR speech. He's a natural and did a wonderful job as expected. Then all of a sudden somebody asked me to say something too. I was mortified and my brain completely stopped working. I'm bad at improvising and also had no idea what else to say after my husband. I said a few sentences with long awkward pauses in between and felt like I repeated myself the whole time. I didn't even have an ending and a little accident that happened in the crowd concluded my "speech". It was painful. After that I literally felt like hiding somewhere and couldn't enjoy the rest of the night because I was so embarrassed. People seemed to act normal towards me but I could barely look them in the eye. Now I don't even want to bring this up to my husband because I'm afraid he might say something like "umm yeah, that was pretty bad" (he wouldn't of course but I just don't want to see it in his eyes).

What makes my anxiety so strange is that it only relates to speaking in front of large groups of people. I am otherwise very social and have no problem talking, joking etc when it's a more relaxed setting. I can talk easily to strangers, friends, whoever it is. It's only this "all eyes on me, everyone's listening to every word I say" type of situation that turns me into the exact opposite. I'm pretty confident in general and know that people like me. I'm also an actress so I have a job that requires little shyness (it doesn't mean you have to be extroverted though, I've met many actors that are introverted like me). I don't mind being the center of attention (I actually enjoy that little adrenaline kick you get sometimes) but I think the difference is that when I work I don't have to be myself and I'm instead giving life to somebody else's creation. They aren't my thoughts, my words, so I'm not vulnerable personally. Does that make sense?

Now I feel awful and I keep obsessing over how stupid I must have looked and sounded yesterday. I feel like I embarrassed myself in front of so many people I know.

Thanks for reading!!
 

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Give yourself more credit - You stood up and had the guts to actually say something. You showed up and gave it your best. That's all you can do. Think of it as a learning experience.

What would you have done differently? What were the things you did right?
 

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Yeah... I heard that public speaking is in the top three fears for most people. It's pretty common. I had to do a public speaking thing months ago and still feel embarrassed when I think of it. But I think it helps to flip the scenario - if you saw someone doing what you did, you would probably feel for them completely because you don't like public speaking either. And then you wouldn't think about their "performance" for the rest of the night, or your life, because people are mostly caught up in themselves, worrying about what people are thinking of THEM, not what they're thinking of other people.

So, no matter how much you're stressing about it, at least know that honestly, no one else is even thinking about it, and since they're your friends, they'd only be sympathetic and understand anyway.

If anything, try and laugh about it now, and know that if you're ever put in that situation again, you'll have some insight on how to deal with it.
 
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