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Hey there,

I've noticed something in the last few years during my (not so many) social interactions with complete strangers. I just get this weird unusual vibe off them. Its hard to explain what this vibe is but I'm astute enough to notice it- or maybe I'm just being paranoid :b.

Anyway, I get the feeling when talking with strangers that I am dragging them kicking and screaming into social interactions they don't want, like they are putting out this very subtle defense mechanism because they don't want to talk with me, a very subtle veneer of sneering towards me. Its probably my imagination, but does anyone have this feeling? Like there's some sort of huge social conspiracy arrayed against them because of how they look, talk or sound? And you just can't figure out what makes socialising with you so off-putting with strangers?

I've begun to wonder why I'm getting this social siege mentality. Among people I know well I have no problems of this sort. I've been told I'm attractive, intelligent and charismatic on occasions. So I'm beginning to think that people tell me this in order for me to feel good about myself, because if I were these things, then surely I would have some degree of social success or confidence?

I find it very hard to quantify how I look and sound. Its difficult to look at yourself through someone else's eyes and see how you truly appear i.e do I appear slovenly, poorly dressed, rough, stupid, silly etc? Case in point: I have a beard- not a small amount of stubble or a huge hobo beard, just one in between. A lot of people have told me I look great with it and that it makes me look far older (I'm 20, so I don't particularly want to look older). Even with this, a few people have told me it makes me look rough and slovenly. So for the last few months, I've been shaving and regrowing it, shaving and regrowing it. I'm that insecure about my appearance and how I appear to others as a result of my encounters with strangers.

Anyway, I just wanted to ask a general question because this has been really worrying me of late.

Thanks.
 

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Hi there

I think the 'weird vibes' you are getting from people is coming from yourself being tense whilst talking to them. You go into the conversations thinking that they think you are stupid or you look weird or something. People can sense if you are tense and nervous when they are talking to someone. With this being tense and nervous you are not allowing yourself to be present in the moment and get into the 'flow' of the conversation, you are thinking about any way to try and get out of the situation. It is the classic fight and flight response, except in a pleasant social interaction fight or flight is not needed.

You are giving them the impression that you don't want to be there, that you don't like them and that they make you uncomfortable. It makes them think there is something wrong with themselves. Also when you talk to people, there must be a reason for the conversation to take place. You can't just go up to people and be all chatty for no reason, they'll be like 'who is this guy''? I don't mean you can't have casual conversations with people but they've got to know the point of a conversation and where it is going to end up otherwise they will be suspicious of your motives unless you tell them outright.

Essentially all the 'conspiracy' talk is in your head. You've just got to be more confident in social interactions, believe the person genuinely wants to talk to you, and you genuinely want to talk to them. Be warm and friendly to them. You just need to relax and let the conversation happen. If they pick up on a topic just add in little comments here and there to move the conversation along. Things like 'I know what you're talking about', 'do you remember when'. Stuff like that.
 

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Anxiety. You want people to like you and it's not working as you wanted. Respect is better. Do what you want. Doesn't matter what anyone says you should do because the choices you have to make will always be yours.
 

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I get the same-- I notice peoples behavior is more they don't like me and its true..if you see that its happening...I cant handle it anymore..i used to be able to but now it makes me feel as if theyre against me or will screw me over...usually on their part it's jealousy and they do end up treating you oddly...it cojmes from fear social fear and phobia and past bad experiences...for me its more of a precognition warning...
 

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You seem to be very empathetic and conscious that your anxiety may be rubbing off on others in your presence. I get this too. Just remember that what others think of you is none of your business. Also, remember that from your perspective whatever you may be sensing from them is amplified by like 1000x. What you sense is just a smidgen to them. Trust me, I have the same consciousness around people. Positive thoughts along these lines are what will help.

Looks matter to a certain extent but more importantly is how you feel about yourself. Some of the most attractive people feel ugly at times. It's all what you make of it. Choose to feel positive and you will be viewed positively. It's hard though. As much as I advocate it even I don't follow through. Depression can definitely hinder this thought process. It does help though.
 
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