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Anonymous
It's unacceptable
by Anonymous
April 21 at 4:53 PM

As a woman, I feel like it's unacceptable to be as socially incompetent as I am. If I were married it would be job to make plans and keep everything organized, It's my job to talk to other moms to set up play dates, it's my job to talk to teachers, it's my job to create friendships so my daughter can grow up knowing what a healthy social life looks like, etc.....


However I have not been able to do any of these. I get nervous, I constantly feel like people are judging me,  I can't hold eye contact, I can't talk on the phone, I sound like a 12 year old, and I can't even make the smallest of small talk without feeling like I'm going to hyperventilate and pass out.


Do you all have advice on developing social skills? I'm desperate. I'm tired of pushing people away, not having any friends, always feeling like people are laughing at or judging me, and not having anyone for my daughter to play with.

Replies

  • Anonymous 2
    by Anonymous 2
    April 21 at 5:13 PM
    What happened when you were young to make you have such low self esteem??
  • Anonymous 1
    by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster
    April 21 at 7:33 PM
    I was never good enough

    Quoting Anonymous: What happened when you were young to make you have such low self esteem??
  • Anonymous 2
    by Anonymous 2
    April 21 at 8:17 PM
    Get some counseling. Surround yourself with those you build you up.

    Quoting Anonymous: I was never good enough

    Quoting Anonymous: What happened when you were young to make you have such low self esteem??
  • Anonymous 3
    by Anonymous 3
    April 22 at 8:10 PM
    Smile at everyone. No matter how negative or impossible something is look at the bright side or make it up hug someone close

    Best of all listen to mariah Carey song Hero. There is one in all of us

    Sending you a big friendly hug
  • SpiritFortress
    April 22 at 9:00 PM

    I'm sorry you feel this way. I struggle socially too. I have one friend and he just left to live in another state. I saw this in another of my groups today and will share it here since I think there are some good ideas within the article. 

    Overcoming Shyness and Social Anxieties

    Successfully combat social tensions by stepping out of character

    You want to stop feeling self-conscious, insecure, and socially inhibited. You want to stop worrying about making social blunders and looking like a jerk. You’re tired of receding into the background at social gatherings hoping no one will see or approach you.

    Social anxieties and shyness often coexist. Each has its peculiarities, but also significant similarities. Some corrective techniques apply to both.

    Knowing what to do and then doing it can help you to get past trepidations about going to weddings, joining colleagues at a restaurant, or meeting an attractive person whom you’d like to date.

    You could put off this challenging work until you felt comfortable. Waiting until you feel ready to face your social fears is an excuse for procrastinating. However, if you are sincere about conquering your social anxieties and fears, there are many ways to conquer self-defeating social inhibitions. I’ll describe exposure techniques. These are the gold standard for addressing needless phobias and fears.

    See All Stories In

    Are You Shy?

    Or just socially anxious.

    Find a Therapist

    Search for a mental health professional near you.

    Dialing Down Anxieties

    Use the following three exercises to overcome feeling conspicuous and awkward in social situations. Following these desensitization exercises, we’ll look at confident composure that can grow from effective actions.

    Observational learning. We learn vicariously. If you watch someone you know engage a social fear, you may imitate the best of what you saw. You may keep adding to what you observe until you routinely do better. However, these observational experiences may not be readily available.

    You may still benefit by substituting visualization for observation.

    To set the stage for a visualization exercise, I’ll describe an activity that took place in a shyness and social anxiety workshop. Join the group in your imagination.

    Immediately after the members introduced themselves and said what they’d like to get out of the workshop, I started a Shy Away dance exercise. Here were the instructions: Pantomime shyness through dancing and gestures. Symbolically show what it is like to be shy.  I started the dance. Within seconds, the entire group was doing the Shy Away.

    I ended the exercise. We talked about whether anyone would ever consider doing a solo dance at a party. No one would. Some said that if they had enough time to think about it, they might have bolted for the door.

    What did each learn from the experience? As you might guess, I heard many perspectives. “I didn’t think I could do that.” "Once I got into it, the exercise was fun.” Even the most anxious said that this was not bad.  A few said the exercise was too easy. Most felt neither judged nor threatened.

    The Shy Away was a break through exercise. It demonstrated that when you don’t have time to think yourself into an anxious tizzy, actively engaging a fear could lead to new positive expressions.

    Here is an experiment for you to try.  Imagine you are doing the Shy Awaywith the workshop group. Imagine that the most kindly people you know are part of the group. In your mind’s eye, pantomime your social anxiety and shyness experiences. Next, reverse the scene. If you imagined yourself looking down at the ground, imagine yourself maintaining eye contact with others (without staring).  This is your social confidence dance.

    If you are part of the sub-group with trouble conjuring visual images, put yourself through the movements of doing the dance.  Do this when you are by yourself and continue doing it until you feel comfortable with your version of the dance.

    Now you’re ready for a real-life stepping out of character exercise.

    Stepping out of Character Exercises are for developing functional new behaviors and fact-based beliefs. You experiment with low risk activities that open options for moving from anxious apprehensions bout what others may think of you to fact-based understandings. 

    Wear mismatched socks for a day.  At first, you may feel conspicuous. After a while, you may no longer worry what others may think about the socks. In fact, few will notice or care. Ask yourself, “What did I learn from the experience?”

    Here is one of my favorites. Go to a mall at a busy time of day. Take off your watch.  Ask twenty people for the time of day. Use three minutes between requests. This is a great exercise for addressing fears of stranger rejection. Statistically, a small percentage will ignore you. Some may be people with their own self-consciousness problems. Can you emotionally survive a stranger passing on your request for the time?

    You may find that you start nervous. You give yourself excuses to delay. Nevertheless, you push yourself to do the exercise. You log the results of each encounter. You later look at your findings. Here is what you are likely to find. Most will give you the time of day. Some will walk past you as though you didn’t exist. A few may engage you in a brief and pleasant conversation.

    If you feared rejection before you began the experiment, what might the results tell you about how a sample of strangers responded to a simple request?

    Build Confident Composure

    By engaging what you know or suspect is a foolish social fear, you put yourself on the path to confident composure. With confident composure,you recognize that you can directly command only yourself, and you choose to do so. You don't demand that the world change for you, and you don't need it to. With this softer but stronger view, you can better influence the controllable events that take place around you. Free of needless anxieties, your psychological resources are more fully available to engage yourself socially.

    If you find yourself procrastinating, see how to combat secondaryprocrastination:  The Ostrich Trap

    For addressing social anxieties, see:  The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety.

     © Dr. Bill Knaus

  • suzanneyea
    April 22 at 9:03 PM

    I am sure some people at playgroup don't like me, some probably laugh at me. Whatever. I don't worry about it. You can have the whole world like you .

  • ja2010
    by ja2010
    April 22 at 9:34 PM

    Just be yourself. I am the same way. I am very shy meeting people. Find a group that councels on this stuff.

  • libsterdoodle
    April 23 at 9:34 AM

    I'm so sorry that you feel this way.  I wonder how your are?  I was very socially awkward when I was younger, and I believe it was my work that helped me to "come out of my shell".  Now I really don't like to socialize too much, but I'm always friendly, I find it easy to "smalltalk" and I have made some good friends.  I think it is confidence combined with comfort.  It just takes time.  If seeking counseling is an option I would suggest that, but you really just have to start small and do it!!!  Put yourself in social situations, take your daughter to the park regularly and pay attention to the parents that do the same.  Eventually you can strike up conversation about a familiar topic, compliment their kids, all moms pay attention to someone who pays them a compliment, we get so few of them.  I would suggest scheduling playdates at your home to boost your level of comfort, that might help.  Also, a great lesson to teach your daughter could be that you don't have to have a ton of friends to feel fulfilled, sometimes just having one or two good friends, true friends is more than enough.  Good luck to you sweetie!!!

  • Anonymous 1
    by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster
    April 23 at 11:05 PM

    Now that you mention it I am always nice to people and sometimes if I don't think too much about it, I can get through a little bit of small-talk. I think what really gets me is when I do have a conversation with someone, later on I replay it in my mind and I feel like I made a fool out of myself. I definitely believe in quality, not quantity when it comes to friends. Funny thing is even though I was social awkward growing up, I had friends. In high school, I had a lot of "friends", however they ended up not being friends at all and I ended up pretty much crashing and burning. I let down a lot of people during that time. Even though it's been almost 8 years I pushed away my family and whatever associates I had because I was scared of letting them down. Now, I've pushed people away for so long, I don't even know how to interact anymore. But I am definitely going to work on it. And thank you!!

    Quoting libsterdoodle:

    I'm so sorry that you feel this way.  I wonder how your are?  I was very socially awkward when I was younger, and I believe it was my work that helped me to "come out of my shell".  Now I really don't like to socialize too much, but I'm always friendly, I find it easy to "smalltalk" and I have made some good friends.  I think it is confidence combined with comfort.  It just takes time.  If seeking counseling is an option I would suggest that, but you really just have to start small and do it!!!  Put yourself in social situations, take your daughter to the park regularly and pay attention to the parents that do the same.  Eventually you can strike up conversation about a familiar topic, compliment their kids, all moms pay attention to someone who pays them a compliment, we get so few of them.  I would suggest scheduling playdates at your home to boost your level of comfort, that might help.  Also, a great lesson to teach your daughter could be that you don't have to have a ton of friends to feel fulfilled, sometimes just having one or two good friends, true friends is more than enough.  Good luck to you sweetie!!!


  • Anonymous 1
    by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster
    April 23 at 11:13 PM

    Very true. Thanks! If I try to please everyone I will never be able to be myself.

    Quoting suzanneyea:

    I am sure some people at playgroup don't like me, some probably laugh at me. Whatever. I don't worry about it. You can have the whole world like you .


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