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Social Anxiety Barriers

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LokiPokey75

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Apr 1, 2020
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What's the biggest barrier for you to overcome your social anxiety? Why do you think that is?

For me, it's feeling like I don't have to behave a certain way. I need to be okay if the conversation doesn't go the way I believe it's supposed to. I become so disappointed in myself if I feel like I didn't "perform" right, like conversation is an act where you have to make certain moves or the audience is going to throw popcorn at you and boo you off the stage.

I was a pretty social kid, but my appearance caused people to reject me to the point where I just gave up making contact. Had those experiences been different, maybe I'd still be happy-go-lucky in social settings. Instead, I keep having to hide the parts of myself I think are ugly to others. Can't hide my face though!
 
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karl7

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Jul 9, 2013
Messages
885
social anxiety sucks so much.....id love to be able to realax and let the conversation flow but thats not the way it is......im always looking for tips to help.....do you have any?
 
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LokiPokey75

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Apr 1, 2020
Messages
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social anxiety sucks so much.....id love to be able to realax and let the conversation flow but thats not the way it is......im always looking for tips to help.....do you have any?
Hi karl (lucky number) 7! I struggle so much with the same thing! But I have learned some things that help.

1.) Identify what specifically is causing your social anxiety. What makes you uncomfortable around people? What are you doing that's worsening the problem? I know that I feel pressured to act a certain way during conversation and that's what makes it hard for me.

2.) Identify your triggers. I find that I'm very sensitive to people's expressions. If there's even a slight chance that they may be upset, bored, or disagreeable, it's hard for me to push through. I feel like I've offended them and I don't want to make it worse.

3.) Separate your responsibility for their reactions from the conversation. By worrying what the other person will think, say, or do, we're essentially guilting ourselves into acting the right way. You are not responsible for somebody disliking you. That's why you need to be okay with the discomfort of an awkward conversation. And even silence.

Easier said than done!

4.) Savor (and accept) the mistakes. Everybody says make mistakes, but that's so hard to do! If you savor the moments that might have felt like failures, you can learn to find the good in your misstep. Because missteps are inherently good. They help you learn how to do things better the next time. Accept what you might have done wrong and be glad you made the mistake so you don't have to make it again!

5.) Move past the outcome. Fear of the outcome of a conversation is what ultimately leaves us paralyzed. Will we embarrass ourselves? Lose the chance at a great connection? To really enjoy conversation, it's best to choose to be happy with the outcome regardless of what we intended. That way we're never disappointed and we can always learn from it.

6.) Be present. It's hard not to hide inside yourself when a conversation goes awry. Pulling yourself back into the moment and accepting how weird things have gotten will help you feel comfortable again.

7.) And finally, put yourself forward instead of your fine-tuned alter-ego. You don't have to be rude, but saying how you feel and what you want is okay. That's you! Your negative side, your bad days, your moods are you. If a person truly wants to be your friend, they'll like the side you want them to see and the side you don't. If they can't stand that side, that's okay as long as you like that side. We can't make friends with everyone and social anxiety will prevent us from making friends with just anyone.

I can talk a big talk, but believe me, I have trouble walking the walk. I just wanted to give you what I think are some of the most helpful tips I know. If we could all apply these better, I'm sure we've all have closer connections. At the very least, we'd have the confidence we'd need to eventually make them.
 
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Headingtothelight

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Joined
Apr 6, 2020
Messages
155
Location
scotland
Social anxiety is horrible and can really damage relationships and stop you making real connections, always scared what others think and always thinking on what your going to say, wish i was carefree and was only caring about little things, always look at my cats and say you’ve got it easy...not a care in the world only caring about there food bowl and when there getting outside to play
 
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collide44

New member
Joined
Apr 12, 2020
Messages
4
Location
Israel
That's a great question. I can relate to what Loki mentioned about being very sensitive to peoples' expressions. I often overestimate how much information or emotion I can accurately extrapolate from peoples' expressions, actions, or words (though I am often correct).
I also have a tendency to push uncomfortable things off when I'm not feeling my best for whatever reason. I do find that when I'm well-rested, fed, exercised, etc. I handle difficult situations much more "elegantly" but I can't always wait until the conditions are ideal to confront the things that I see as difficult.
Another thing - because I really value deeper relationships and feel unsatisfied by small talk, I tend to overlook and undervalue that small banal steps that lead to casual friendship and then to deeper friendship. If I put more emphasis on those, I'll open up more opportunities for deeper friendship.
 
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LokiPokey75

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 1, 2020
Messages
613
Location
United States
That's a great question. I can relate to what Loki mentioned about being very sensitive to peoples' expressions. I often overestimate how much information or emotion I can accurately extrapolate from peoples' expressions, actions, or words (though I am often correct).
I also have a tendency to push uncomfortable things off when I'm not feeling my best for whatever reason. I do find that when I'm well-rested, fed, exercised, etc. I handle difficult situations much more "elegantly" but I can't always wait until the conditions are ideal to confront the things that I see as difficult.
Another thing - because I really value deeper relationships and feel unsatisfied by small talk, I tend to overlook and undervalue that small banal steps that lead to casual friendship and then to deeper friendship. If I put more emphasis on those, I'll open up more opportunities for deeper friendship.
Hi collide44! Thank you for your contribution to this thread. I totally agree about the overestimation. It's almost like paranoia. "Oh no! They didn't laugh at my joke. They don't like me. I must not be funny." How easy it is to ride that train of thought!

That point you make about performance under ideal conditions is discussed in a book I'm reading called The Social Skills Guidebook by Chris MacLeod. It talks about how you don't need to feel at your best to make progress, plus a bunch of other things related to social anxiety. It's very thorough!

And you're right. The small steps do matter even though we might not recognize that. Small talk is unsatisfying to me too most of the time. It's very hard to get into those deep discussions that you really crave. I wish you luck in your endeavors!
 
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