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My shyness and anxiety is taking over my social life

This is my first ever Reach Out post! (so sorry if it's really clumsily written.... so jittery while writing this....)

 

I am an introvert and some-what of a book/film/tv show fandom freak. I am a die-hard fan of Sherlock, Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Friends, Lord of the Rings/ Hobbit etc (the list goes on)..... I really love spending my time doing fan fiction writing and creative writing at the library because I can be by myself and no one is judging. I do have three friends but they are very outgoing (they are ALWAYS invited to the social parties by the popular people) and when they post the pics on the 'gram or FB... I do feel a little left out. Even when I want to hang out with them.... sometimes they last-minute turn it down because they have "another social gathering"- that once again, doesn't involve me because I am not that popular. Throughout my high school years... my social calendar was virtually non-existent and practically empty (few movie and dinner hangouts with my friends. I have struggled with my body image and weight for a really long time (I am the larger and shorter one out of all my friends) so I never looked as good as them and the popular girls (they all wore short skirts and teeny weeny dresses...)

 

I am going to be starting university this year and I am so, so, so scared that I am going to be left in the dust and become an outsider. My group have all gone four separate ways and even though we promised to meet up again once in a while... we've barely had and it's because my friends have formed new friendships with people at their own universities (clubs) and some have already started dating. I was too shy on uni orientation to talk to other people....

I do feel a little left out and I wish I wasn't so shy and didn't have such bad social anxiety and so crap at small talk.

 

So please any tips on how to overcome social anxiety, body acceptance and nerdy awkwardness to branch out and make friends. No longer want to be teased or called a 'weirdo,' 'recluse', 'hermit,' 'social freak' 'indoor vampire' or 'friendless,'.....

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Re: My shyness and anxiety is taking over my social life

Hey @One_Shy_Muggle  and welcome to for forums Smiley Happy so proud of your for realising you needed help and reaching out Heart

As someone that also struggles with social anxiety, I can understand how extremely hard it is to overcome.. I do want to check though, are you currently receiving any professional support from anyone such as a psychologist? Therapy is a really great effective way of getting past all this Heart

I’ve had social anxiety since grade 1 and I’m currently in grade 10 and I still haven’t been able to overcome it.. but because I didn’t show any improvements, I was put on medication. Do you think you’d consider doing this? Another thing I find I really need to focus on is breathing exercises to avoid a panic attack. ReachOut have a really helpful article to help you better understand what’s going on here Smiley Happy 

As for making friends, I can really relate to not fitting in! Recently I’ve had to move schools 3 times and each time I have felt like an outsider to a group because I hadn’t known them as long as everyone else. I found that joining groups outside of school helped me gain friends and made me feel like I belonged somewhere. These groups could include anything like a sporting club, bowling, volunteering, local community groups etc. do you feel comfortable joining anything like this? I know that doing this with social anxiety makes it even harder but that 2 seconds of bravery to open up a conversation with someone new could open your doors to a lifelong friendship Heart if you’re feeling too anxious to start a conversation, just giving someone a smile could brighten their day and leave them wanting to start one! 

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You’ve got this! Heart

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Re: My shyness and anxiety is taking over my social life

Hey @One_Shy_Muggle !

 

First of all, welcome to the community! I am so glad you found ReachOut Smiley Happy 

It sounds like you're in a bit of a tough situation at the moment,  struggling with a handful of things. It really sucks to hear that you're feeling a bit excluded and under-appreciated by your friends at the moment. It can be a bit of a tough time for a lot of people after high school ends. A lot of the time friendships can go different ways as you are all thrown into new different situations. This can be very bittersweet, as while you may not see some of your friends as often, you have the opportunity make some new great friendships and connections! 

University is a great opportunity to meet people, especially in 1st! Pretty much everyone in your classes will be looking to get to know people and make new friends. I also really recommend having a little stalk of some of your uni's societies and clubs on Facebook. This can be a really good way of getting a feel for what the club is like, as well as showing you if there are any get to know you events or things like that Smiley Happy I know my old uni had a bunch of really cool clubs, like a movie society, reading clubs, cosplay groups, as well as some other cool things, like the ancient history society, or the Irish club! I'm sure there will be a club that might have similar interests to you, which could be a great place to make like minded friends 

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Re: My shyness and anxiety is taking over my social life

Hi @One_Shy_Muggle! Welcome to the forums!

Like you, I am also an introvert. When I was younger, I also loved writing fanfiction and my own stories. I think your hobbies sound really cool. I used to be a big fan of Harry Potter too. Smiley Happy
There are lots of threads on the forums where you can chat to other members of our community with similar interests. We also have a thread where you can introduce yourself here.

I'm so sorry that you've struggled with your body image and anxiety. Smiley Sad
The Butterfly Foundation has a helpline and some other services, such as support groups, if you're interested in receiving some support for body image concerns.
I've also struggled with being able to meet people. I've been able to make a lot of friends through volunteering and it has made me feel a lot better about myself. I've also made a lot of friends through sharing the same hobbies online. Would you be interested in trying those things out?
There is also a website called MeetUp where you can find interest groups in your local area. There are lots of writing-related groups on there. I haven't personally tried that website, but I'd love to give it a go in the future.