I’m trying to overcome my social anxiety can somebody tell me what’s the first thing I should do and whenever I try to converse with people I end up bored with talking to them amidst the conversation it’s weird but I really want to talk to them it’s making them think I lose interest in them and I cant eye to eye contact with the people I talk to. it makes me feel uncomfortable when I try to. I want to get this weird habit out of my body because i might lose opportunities in the future. I also wanna make my mind concentrated all the time because I can’t just stop overthinking every time! i miss a lot of lessons in the class thinking im not good enough for this world because i don’t have any talents or skills in conversing as any other people do. This have been my problem for a lot of years now i told some of my friends this problem and as the year went they said i was improving but i dont kind of feel because i still get left behind when having a bond with my friends because i cant start a topic with them or when i do i get talked over.
It’s really positive to be willing to work on your social anxiety! Also you mentioned different aspects of it and it sounds that you’re already aware of what makes you uncomfortable or prevent you to discuss with others in a stress-free way… it’s awesome to be aware of that, really. Because when you deal with anxiety you can feel easily drowned and trapped by the thoughts in your mind.
I hear your frustration and worries, friend. I too have been dealing with shyness, then social anxiety since high school. It has prevented me to catch opportunities or even keep relationships that were important to me so… there was a moment when I was very depressed, and anxiety plaed a major role at the moment. But with time, patience, perseverance, you can absolutely improve that. I still have these kind of automatic thoughts and stress in certain situations, but I know I made progress for most of them. Sometimes I don’t really recognize myself by having conversations/doing things I couldn’t do years before. You certainly made progress too. Just by being aware of what’s going on, reflecting on that and sharing it here… it is already something. But I understand that you may feel helpless and stressed because of this.
As social anxiety has different implications/effects at the same time, there are some things you can try:
Try not to isolate yourself as a response to what stresses you, as much as possible.
When you’re in a situation that makes you very anxious, or when you know you’ll have to be put in that kind of situation, it can be tempting to run away, to hide, to avoid it. Which is totally understandable. There were times when I canceled an appointment or said I was sick while I had to do a presentation at school… But it only made me feel worse. Because when you avoid the situation, you also nourrish your anxiety and give a reason for your fears to exist. It is certainly the most difficult part of it. To actually step in, get out of your comfort zone and realize that nothing harmful isn’t going to happen. It’s really an important promise to make to yourself.
It’s a bit complementary, but you can also try to actually work on exposing yourself to the situations that are stressful for you. But very progressively. The idea is not to rush and trigger your anxiety in a way that would be harmful and counterproductive. If you want, you can take some time to reflect on yourself and make a list of the situations/people that generally stress you, and why. The idea is to try to expose yourself to them, one by one, again very progressively. For example: being in a place where there are many people is stressful. Then you can try to go in a coffee shop during your free time. You take a book with you or something that could help you to relax and make this moment a positive experience, not a stressful one.
Seek opportunities to have small talk. It can be about absolutely anything. Just going outside and wishing a good day to people you see along the road, and looking at them in the eyes at the same time. Asking your friends what they did last week end. Going to a shop and ask for a precise information about something, even if you don’t buy it after that. Asking someone in the street what hour is it… It’s just random exemples, but those are some kind of small interactions you can add to your daily life. And you can take the time to prepare yourself at first, what you’re gonna say.
If you can, give a try to therapy or counseling. There are short therapies such as CBT that are focused on working on your anxiety, with concrete exercises and moments to talk about it with your therapist. It can be really helpful because the objective is to work onthe thoughts that you have when you’re anxious (your fears, your self-doubt…) but also the way you behave and reactions when you are stressed. If you can’t consider direct therapy, there are certainly workbooks about this that could be helpful too.
Take care of yourself, as much as possible. Of your body, but also your mind. Keep having healthy habits or create them progressively, especially: having a restful and regular sleep, eating diversified foods, exercising - even if it’s just walking regularly. If you can, add some moments in your day, or week, when you just take a break from everything that might be stressing you to do something you enjoy. You need moments when you know you’ll have the possibility to just relax. And by taking care of yourself, you’ll also feel more confident when you’ll interact with others.
Maybe give a try to an activity that you like… but in a group. Do you have any hobby? Because when you put your heart in what you do, when you really enjoy it, then it helps to overcome your stress, to have a direction.
Don’t be hard on yourself. Even if there’s a lot of frustration. You won’t be able to do what you want and reach your goals all the time. You’ll need some time to see yourself progressing, and it’s okay. Just be gentle with yourself, as much as possible. Experiencing social anxiety is not your fault. You didn’t ask for this. And it doesn’t define you either. It’s not a like a personality trait that you would have forever. It’s just a dfficulty that you can improve.
Track your progress! When we struggle, when we fall along the road, we can be tempted to forget about what we accomplished and to give up. Maybe you can do that in a notebook, with an app on your mobile… it can be anything. But at least, take some time regularly to reflect on your own progress.
Give a try to meditation if that’s something you could appreciate. I’m personally not a huge fan of it and have a hard time to do something like that regularly. But I know it really helps some people for their depression or anxiety. It gives you an opportunity to let your thoughts come and go and take a step back from them, which is important when you tend to overthink. There are apps, youtube channels, even video games that are helpful tools to be introduced to mindfullness meditation for example.
Sorry this reply is a bit too long. But hopefully it could help.
You matter, friend. Your current struggles aren’t defining who you are. You’re entirely part of this world, and you have a lot to share with it, a lot to experience as well. Take care!
I can really relate to all of this because being socially awkward and introverted has always been a part of me. As an autistic, the struggle to make eye contact has been a challenge since I was very little. Even as an adult, it’s still very hard not to look off to the side when talking to someone.
You know, for me, something that really helped was talking to a therapist. I know that probably sounds like a really basic answer, but it’s just what has helped me. We are all very different and different things may help different people. But having a therapist really helped dive into the things that was causing me to feel how I do. She helped me better understand the root of the cause of some of the things that made interacting difficult and how to better face those things. It gave me some guidance.
Another thing, if you are bored with the conversation, maybe you could ask some questions. What are some things that YOU enjoy and that interest YOU? Maybe you could ask them about that. Casually ask them if they have heard of the things you like, if they are into it. Maybe share some of why you are passionate about those things. I know sometimes people just have very different interests and it can be hard knowing how to strike up a conversation naturally.
Have you heard of https://www.meetup.com/? It’s a site where you can connect with other people who have similar interests as you. Do you like board games? There is probably a group of people that enjoy board games and have game nights near you that you could join? Do you like Dungeons and Dragons, reading, creating? There are all kinds of group on here that you could connect to with people who also enjoy these things. Or you can try to coordinate your own group! Do you think maybe this could be something that could help?
Something I also have done recently to help me be more open to others is pen-paling. I know not everyone is into writing letters, but this has helped me A LOT. I have several pen pals of people that are the same gender that range from my age to 50. I have pen pals in the states, in Australia and in Ireland. It’s been a lot of fun learning and getting to know new people And it has given me something to look forward to. (:
Anyway, friend. Sometimes these things take time. But a therapist can really help if you can connect to one. They can help give you some resources, guidance and direction. They can give you some good ways to help practice to work through this. Like I said, different things work for different people and as you talk to them, they can help mold a method that works for you.
I’m sorry if this isn’t more helpful. Just know you are not alone in this. I still struggle with it. But I just keep trying to push myself outside of my comfort zone and to try new things. I keep trying to remind myself that things are okay and practicing talking to people and sharing myself.
Thinking of you
Nothing is wrong with being shy/introvert or having anxiety. I believe its unique because when you do talk its something different to other people that they might have not thought of before. Meditating can really help because it is a breathing technique that slows your body and mind down. I like to sit down and close my eyes with my legs crossed and listen to meditative music from YouTube. I breathe In through my nose and out through my mouth. And i remember to let my thoughts go freely and drift. 3-5 minutes a day really help. The mind is like a muscle. The more you exercise it the stronger it becomes.