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Starting IM Conversations

1379 Views 16 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  Recipe For Disaster
This is something I have had a problem with for some time, but I think it's slightly worse than usual at the moment, so I wanted to ask if anyone else experienced this:

While I am often capable of seeming almost extrovert online, I have real difficulty bringing myself to actually start instant messaging conversations with people, e.g. on MSN. Even people who I have been talking to for over a year who are quite close contacts (I am hesitant to say "friend", since I never see these people IRL anymore) - once they start a conversation I'm usually ok, but I can never start it myself. I think I have some unshakeable internal conviction that they just don't want to talk to me, and that if I start a conversation I will just be bothering them.

Is anyone else like this, or am I alone in this particular weirdness?
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It's like after you start a conversation, you feel a weird responsibility to keep it going and not make your friend bored. It is so much easier to have someone else say hi, but if they can do it, then it must not be as hard as we think it is...
Yes, I completely agree with this, that is exactly how I feel! Though even when someone else starts an IM conversation, if it isn't going well I still start to feel it is somehow my fault, yet the weight of guilt is much less than if I start a failing conversation myself. Other people, however, seem to have no such qualms and are perfectly happy to start a conversation with me even when they have absolutely nothing to say (I cannot imagine starting a conversation without planning my topics in advance - I am weird) - so I guess if you can get over anxiety it must be perfectly fine to start conversations that quickly die out - I just have trouble convincing myself of this.

Steelfox said:
I always feel if they wanted to talk to me then they would start the conversation. If they don't start one then I think I was right and they didn't want to talk to me.
Yeh, I also get this impression...if I sign in and am just ignored, I assume I will be bothering them if I start a conversation as they clearly (in my deranged mind) don't want to talk, yet if they sign in and I'm already online, I don't talk to them because I assume if they want to talk they will start the conversation. I know this is absolutely hypocritical and stupid, but I have always known my anxiety is largely irrational, it doesn't stop it being there though.

The problem is that all this gives other people the impression that I don't want to talk to them...or am just being rude or don't care or whatever...which makes them less inclined to start conversations with me...which reinforces the initial problem, as the less people initiate conversations with me, the more I feel like I will be bothering them if I start talking to them. *sigh*
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The internet is literally full of a lot of self-absorbed idiots, MSN is full of them, IRC is 99% of them, delete them and chat to other people.
I don't have many people who will actually talk to me on MSN - for most of the last year I have only had 1 person who I could actually hold a conversation for more than 30 minutes with. If I deleted all the self-absorbed idiots from my contact list, I'd have nobody left to talk to - and then how would I fill my evenings? What would dispense the next-best-thing-to-social-contact then? And besides, I would also need to find a way to delete myself.

Strangely, I don't actually have this problem on IRC - except the first time I visit a given chat room or if it is particularly hostile.
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