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Discussion Starter #1
I started my volunteer rotation at the local hospital yesterday. I took a Xanax and tried to be calm, cool, and collected. I thought I was doing fairly decent until I met the nurse at the maternity ward. The first thing she said to me was "Why do you look so scared?". People see right through me. I thought it was a big accomplishment just to be there in the first place and not have a panic attack, but I don't want to look scared all the time. Any suggestions?
 

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Just "appearing" confident is really hard... it is probably as hard (is not more so) as actually BEING confident as you have to put on an act.
I can pretend for short periods of time, like job interviews or on the phone with strangers, but at the end i feel exausted. To do it, I would suggest trying as hard as possible to make eye contact, speak definitely (not too fast, not too high pitched, not too low), and be very "reactive" to the convo. (say stuff like "yeah", "hmm" or nod while the other person is speaking or use hang gestures, for example). But it does take a lot out of you to do this.

Since i assume you're doing you're volunteering for a long period of time, i suggest jsut not pretending. Try doing stuff before each time you volunteer that will relax you (i.e. work out, take a nice bath, meditate, or whatever works for you). That way you will naturally be slightly less nervous and each time you go back it will feel more and more confortable. (Everyone is a bit nervous anyway when they start something different with new people, so even if the nurse noticed she shouldn't think too much of it.) And hopefully the longer you volunteer and you enjoy/get good at what you are doing the more confident you shoudl feel anyway in your abilities.

sorry, i can't give a fool-proof plan, but hope that helps. ;)
 

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You appear confident by holding your head up, smiling, and looking people in the eye when you address them or are addressed. Speak up and project your voice.

I have to do this on a consistent basis in my profession. How on earth I do it, I'm not sure, but I'm confident in my skill and that helps!
 

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To appear confident you must BE confident. The reason people can 'see right through you' is because of the way emotional responses are carried out differently according to whether they are real or genuine. For e.g., a forced smile doesn't contract the same facial muscles as a real one; and people pick that up. It's very hard to trick people's subconscious feelings about you.

People who think they are tricking people with their 'confidence' are often unaware of how people actually feel about them; sometimes coming off more as insecure than confident.

I think if you give it time you should start to naturally feel more confident in that environment as you become acustomed to it. But looking scared on the first day is by no means an oddity.
 

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I agree with all of the above - you almost have to act out a different character. Take compliments and make yourself believe that you are good at what you do even if the rest of your life is a mess.

Once you believe in your ability, the confidence and positive feedback will increase. You should eventually find that work becomes somewhere pleasurable to be (even if as your 'alter'ego') so long as you don't feel under pressure to join in the extra curricular stuff after work that is!
 

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Its not so much the eye contact as keeping your head up and looking at people rather than the ground. The best tip I can give to any guy:
Stick out your chest, regardless if you workout or not. That is a universal symbol of confidence.
 

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Starlight and moonbeams
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You appear confident by looking at people, eye contact (but not too much eye contact), throwing your shoulders back, and speaking in a confident voice.

Yeah, easier said than done. :lol
 

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Stand up straight, make eye contact, speak clearly (not too fast or slow), smiling goes a long way. It's mostly about body language. There's a lot of good books out there on how to improve your body language with various exercises. I suggest picking one up and reading a little each day. It helped me a lot.
 

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I resisted doing this for a long time just because it sounded corny, but I have found that positive self-talk really works. If I am in a situation where I am nervous, or I said something that I felt stupid about etc. I always repeat in my head "youre doing good, youre doing good" and oddly enough I find it works. I think because it is replacing the thoughts you are not aware about such as "I am so nervous, I am such an idiot" or whatever you may be feeling. Next time you go into work consciously tell yourself "I am confident I am confident I am doing good, I don't care what others think I am here to to do a task and thats all that matters." And once someone makes a comment such as "you look scared" make sure you stamp in your head "i am not scared I am confident"
 

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Just light up a cigarette, who cares where you are!!!!! I'm kidding, It's defiantly very hard to act as such, if your really not... It seems like I can be confident in spurts, but never for an extended period of time....
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all the advice! I definitely agree that while we may know what to do in order to appear confident, actually doing it is another thing entirely! I'm hoping I'll feel a little more comfortable next week since I'm accquainted with some of the staff and it's not a completely new experience. As the aide was showing me how to assemble the post-natal packets they send home with new mothers, I kept putting things in the wrong order and I thought to myself "God, you are so stupid, you can't even put papers in the right order!" Then I thought "Don't be so hard on yourself, it's your first day." I think it's definitely a good sign that I recognized my self-destructing thoughts!
 

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herp derp
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You appear confident by holding your head up, smiling, and looking people in the eye when you address them or are addressed. Speak up and project your voice.
This. Although, I have yet to fully master the art of "holding eye contact".
 
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