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Social Anxiety - Opening Up to People

First of all, thank you Bre-Ro, whom I believe to be one of the newest staff members, for inspiring me to share this!


I had difficulty speaking when I was a kid, and grew up with mannerisms I couldn't control: constant stuttering, repetitive apologies, difficulty in forming sentences, intense anxiety in interactions, friends and strangers, chronic when speaking to audiences, therefore diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. Basically, I'm crazy shy and awkward. 


I'm in college now, and I've been noticing that I've been conservative to new friend groups. I've noticed that I'm constantly worried if they dislike me, or if they're plotting against me. I'm writing this after a long consideration of whether or not inviting them to studying together is considered clingy, if it's not worth the fear of awkward silence, or if I'm not worth spending time with. I just feel out of place, inept, like I don't know how a normal social animal would act in many situations. I want to open up to people, but it's really difficult to treat people you feel are superior to you like unjudgemental best friends. 


I'm certain I'm not the only one; I guess I just would like to know how you open up to people. It would crazy help me a lot! Thanks for reading btw

Re: Social Anxiety - Opening Up to People

Hey @BlueGreen 


Thanks for sharing with us. That was very brave of you. You speak of wanting to open up - I just thought I'd point out that by starting this thread, you have opened up to us here at ReachOut. So it's definitely a step in the right direction and something you should be proud of. I guess it is taking small steps like these that eventually contribute to bigger changes. Maybe you can start by opening up to somebody you trust? Or asking existing friends to catch up? I'm guessing that's a little less scary? Or with college, maybe start with asking the person you feel least inferior around to study together? 


Are you seeking any professional support for your condition? 


Feeling inadequate in social situations is a common theme we come across on ReachOut. We do have some articles that may benefit you. We have an article here on how to be less socially awkward, and an article here on how to make friends, and a video here on how to make new friends. I thought I'd also share this thread on how to make friends. I hope this helps. Heart 

Re: Social Anxiety - Opening Up to People

Hiya @BlueGreen 


I'm so chuffed that I inspired you to share this Heart 


It's really hard to talk about the things you mentioned you struggled with growing up. I want you to know that lots of people are shy and awkward (myself included) and that's totally okay. When I feel shy but still want to connect with someone, I usually ask them lots of questions. It's takes the attention off me talking, but still allows me to get to know them.


What are some supportive things you can say to yourself when you start to worry about if your friends like you/are plotting against you? 


Also, I think initiating a study group is a great idea. I'd actually encourage it! Working in groups can be a really fun way to learn. That's a good way to start opening up to people if that's what you want to do Heart  

Re: Social Anxiety - Opening Up to People

Hey @BlueGreen 


I can definitely relate to feeling shy in social situations. I still feel that way in certain situations now, especially with new people. I think the way I get over it is to just jump in and initiate conversation. I try to ask lots of questions to others so I don't have to talk about myself so much.


I think the study group is a great idea. You can all get to know each other in more of a casual setting where you can always go back to talking about the study topic if you are feeling awkward. I also think silence in this situation would not be awkward at all.


Let me know how you go! 

Re: Social Anxiety - Opening Up to People

Hi @BlueGreen


Thanks for starting this thread. I'm sure there are quite a few users on the forums who can relate to part of what you're saying. I'm wondering if you feel this way all the time (that people are plotting against you or that they dislike you), for instance even with people you're close to? Or is it mostly with new people you don't know well yet?


You say "people you feel are superior to you". I'm wondering what that means? 

“Your now is not your forever."
― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down

Re: Social Anxiety - Opening Up to People

Thanks for starting this thread !
Although I don't know how you're feeling, i can identify with having a hard time opening up to people in the past - so here's some of my experience in case it can help in anyway Smiley Happy
I often have thoughts that people may not like me like i think they do or that i'm burdening them if i ask them to meetup before one of our uni classes - i find myself thinking 'are they only saying yes because they feel like they have to?' or something not very helpful!
However, if i put those thoughts aside and look at how they actually treat me and how much effort they actually put into talking to me - i realised i don't actually have any evidence for the negative thoughts i've been having to suggest they don't like me.
So this is what helps me open up - i try to put my thoughts into perspective Smiley Happy
best wishes!

Re: Social Anxiety - Opening Up to People

thank you for sharing with us @BlueGreen !

I definitely understand growing shy as a kid, and I consider myself shy around new people as well now. I don't think asking your group so study together isn't clingy at all, it's really proactive of you! Some of the things I do to overcome my shyness is to ask lots of questions, it's a great way to get to know someone. If you don't know where to start, complimenting them on something you like about them is always a great ice breaker. 


Would love to know how it goes Smiley Happy