For around 10 years, I have been struggling with social anxiety. When I was 18 years old I had a trauma that kept me staying at home, buffering on TV and doing nothing. At 23 I met my recent boyfriend and evolved since that socially a little bit. But I still struggle with it a lot so that it affects my daily life. And since I am in scholars I made the decision that I don’t want to give it so much energy any more.
My social anxiety doesn’t affect me in the way that I have fears of leaving the house or talking to people. It shows itself when I get into deeper contact with people. One example: I get to know my anxiety when I meet the friends of my husband. My husband plays soccer. Sometimes we all meet at parties where all his football colleagues and their girlfriends are there. They are all very friendly and normally open-minded. But most of the time I find myself trying to get into conversations with them, not knowing what to say, trying to begin a conversation. Even though we “know” each other for so many years, I still have difficulties getting into touch with them. I stand in the group where everybody talks to each other and I feel like I am the only person not knowing what to say. Then when I say something to bring myself in, the reaction of the other persons is looking at me in a way of wonder and I feel like they are thinking “oh she is boring, what she says doesn’t matter, she is strange”.
This happened to me yesterday and I tried the model on it:
T: they think I am boring, I have nothing to say and when I say something, it’s stupid and I am strange
F: unsure, sad, unconfident
A: I think too much about what I could say or completely back off
R: I am saying nothing or something stupid (having a complete blackout)
Even during the conversation I am aware of these thoughts. I try to change them in order to bring myself in the conversation. I wanna feel relaxed and sometimes excited when there is an interesting topic to talk about. But I can’t help myself to get to know what I should think. I tried the thought “I also have interesting things to talk about”. But it doesn’t work, because it is not true. There are no things that I could talk about with them because I don’t meet them a lot. Then I see other girls who are not always with the others and don’t have so much contact with them. And even they manage to get in touch with the others so well that they can talk to many people and keep the conversation going for a long time. So, this makes me question my thought that I only have difficulties talking to the others because I don’t see them a lot. Because other people prove that it is possible to have interesting conversations even though they don’t see each other a lot.
Since I work on myself since a few weeks on that topic and try to evolve with compassion, this experience from the party yesterday made me so sad and question myself. I really ask myself if my lack of social interaction of the last 10 years is the reason for not knowing how to get in touch with people. And I am curious if it is possible to regain this social competence. I mean, what can I talk about when I don’t experience a lot in my life?
This “social anxiety” also shows results in my real friendships. I don’t have a lot of real friends, because I am so anxious being together with people. I truly wish to have more friends, real friends. Maybe to play club sports and being socially integrated. But my experience over the last years, that I can’t manage to be integrated and get new friends in the group of my husband, makes me even more questioning if I will ever be possible. And HOW I can change in order to get more friends and if it is still possible to change or if I will have this lack of social competence like forever.
I really hope you can help me managing myself to evolve in the way of being more confident and relaxed when I meet people and hopefully getting more friends.
Thank you all!