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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

I got a question for you guys. I, also, am suffering from social anxiety with sweating, conscious swallowing (too loud? can they hear me? etc.) and trembling hands. When "talking" to people I'm not that familiar with, I blank and don't know what to say. I'm terrible at making conversations with strangers, because my mind is racing with negative thoughts and beliefs.

Anyways, I've always loved acting. Did it during my whole school time. When I got into college, I stopped and never did it again. I had fun being on stage and people always told me "wow, I've never thought of you being able to do that. You are so quiet all the time."

Now, what I've experienced is: Whenever I'm on stage and actually have something prepared, for example in presentations @ college or applying for a job, I have NO problems at all. It's like I put a mask on. It can be a room full of 100 people, I wouldn't mind. I'm free and my mind clears. I might be a bit nervous at the beginning, but I stick to my plan and the nervousness fades.
The funny thing is: Once I'm presenting, I get so calm, I feel like being myself. I feel like this is the real me, I can joke spontaneously and just feel comfortable in my skin. While I might have planned every little detail beforehand, this isn't relevant anymore, I just improvise.

It's not a surprise that I can get good grades in presentations and everybody laughs or really enjoys it, but AFTERWARDS, I shift back into this shy and anxious person. I isolate myself and freeze up during conversation. What is this?

Can anyone relate?
 

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I know what you are feeling. When you are presenting you control the dialogue. When you are no longer on stage you must interact. You no longer control the dialogue. I have had similar experiences. While on stage you are viewed as knowledgeable. When you get into a give and take conversation your knowledge can be questioned. One way you might be able to determine if this is what is going on is do a Q&A after one of your presentations and see how you feel. The other thing is I have learned to readily admit if I don't know the answer to something.
 

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I think I know the feeling. I'm kind of the same way. Particular in work-related situations, I'm great at doing interviews or talking with people if I know there are set topics and set times for the meeting. If it's a casual hangout and there's less pressure, I feel more anxious because I don't know what to talk about.

At job interviews, I can talk well about my experiences, skills, ask questions, etc. They usually go well and I love getting to know the people I'll be working with too. However when work comes around and there's a lull, things just feel awkward. What if what I'm saying is boring? What if they think I'm weird? What if I'm too quiet? Things like that run through my mind when really, I should just be myself. I find it easier to talk to other people when we're all doing something else at the same time because at least the silence isn't as awkward... but yeah, that's kind of how I feel about things right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hey guys,

thanks for replying. That sounds pretty much like it. What I also noticed, is (you probably already know this) when you for once really do have a nice conversation with someone you are familiar and cool with, you don't think, because you just perceive what this person is saying and the surroundings maybe. Obviously, you're comfortable.
I want to try to focus more on the outside than on the inside while talking to people, but I don't know how to practice or train this. Because getting started is hard. Actually talking to unfamiliar people and practicing this. But I think it's key. Just NOT focus on your inner self talk. Sometimes you think you know stuff already, but then you have a situation in which you truly GET and internalize things.

Man, this disorder. Making the most basic things so complicated.
 
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