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Introversion vs. Social Anxiety

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collide44

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While I recognize that my introversion and social anxiety are two separate entities, it's sometimes difficult for me to distinguish which is the cause of a certain behavior.
For example, when I am in a one-on-one situation with a close friend, we are both almost equally talkative. Depending on my mood and energy level, when I'm with 2 close friends, I'll often be a bit quieter and take a more passive role. When we're in a group that's larger than three people, no matter what situation I'm in or how close I am with the people, I will almost often contribute to the conversation less than the other participants.
I could feel relatively comfortable and enjoy being a relatively passive player in the conversation while I mull over what's being said internally, and add my own comments when I feel ready and feel like I have something significant to say. I've usually attributed this to introversion.
However, I find that when someone comments on how quiet I am, I become extremely uncomfortable and am not sure how to respond. Ideally, I'd like to say something like, "it seems you're curious about the way I'm acting, do you have a question to ask me?" to try to guide the conversation to a more productive place. But I haven't been able to do this - I am usually so upset that even well-meaning friends and family members who I generally felt comfortable with and accepted by would put me on-the-spot and make me feel judged in that way. This reaction makes me think that maybe I have some anxiety surrounding the topic, or maybe it's just one of my sensitivities.
In any case, I have been more successful in reminding myself to be a bit more active in situations with new people, but when I'm in situations with older friends/family who I've known for a while, I can't seem to break out of my old habits. Part of me wants to let it go and not have to try all the time. Part of me feels like I'll feel a lot more "myself" if I make myself heard.

Thoughts/advice?
 
calypso

calypso

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I used to be very shy and awkward around people and so I went home and practised in front of the mirror (I know, odd thing to do) what I had heard others do in social situations. I would stand and observe at a party say and watch how other people started a conversation and continued it. Then I started to try out some of the techniques I learned from others and it didn't go smoothly at first but I persevered and it became easier. But I still get tongue tied even now in some places.
 
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