SRS How to overcome minor social apprehension

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by Jarg0n, May 9, 2009.

  1. Jarg0n

    Jarg0n New Member

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    Growing up I used to play the "quiet one" game in social situations, in which I listened way more than I spoke. I limited conversation with friends to waiting until the right time to say something funny or smart while they engaged in casual conversation.

    Recently, and I don't know why it has taken so long, I've realized that I need to be less apprehensive about most aspects of my life. At a party or any type of social gathering, I'll catch myself listening to a three way conversation (me included) for up to 5 minutes+ at a time, not contributing anything to the conversation. I have witty and valued quips to say, but just end up not saying them...I guess due to fear of not being taken seriously or devalued.

    Recently, I've caught myself having a lump in my throat (literally) and having a shortness of breath when talking to a superior. I'm also at a loss for words as my brain seems to search for the best adjective mid-sentence, leaving my speech with several second gaps between subjects and predicates. I guess I feel that I'm trying to mentally out-do myself and appear more astute than I am, even though I had high SAT scores, have a bachelors in engineering and now make six figures, blah blah blah.

    What gives, OT? I know I need to get on a work out regimen since I've been 145lbs, 5'10" for forever, but are there any mental tricks to simultaneously helping me overcome this hump? I'm not a complete idiot during social situations, but feel that I'm only operating at 50% capacity. I need to learn how to stand my ground in meetings and not give in during adverse communications with co-workers, etc. Thanks for any advice you have.
     
  2. Deadhead9150

    Deadhead9150 Banned

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    I can't say I have any advice, I suffer from quite severe anxiety, but it sounds like you seem to manage it at least relatively well.
     
  3. zatotheck

    zatotheck New Member

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    Wow dude me and you are exactly alike. I sometimes catch that lump in my throat when I'm in an disagreement or similar situations. I'm always reserved in group conversations or actually in any conversation unless I'm truly interested. In fact I think I have convinced myself that I just don't enjoy being talkative unless I can gain insight/value from that person. But in all honesty, in certain group situations, I find myself wanting to contribute more but I guess I just hold back. People call me shy often (but they also often regard me as intelligent because the things I do contribute are witty/well spoken) and I'd like to see that come to a stop. I'm rather skinny as well (5'11-150lbs) but I really don't see that being a factor.

    From what I've read (mostly from the Real Social Dynamics forums) is that it's best to take small steps when dealing with stuff like is. Start out by walking down the street and just saying hi to random people as they pass by. Gradually bring you self to making small talk with randoms and then even full conversations if they aren't busy.

    Also...holding eye contact used to be a big problem for me until now. Not really sure if thats a problem for you. But its another easy small step. When your talking to anyone, even your buddy, try to hold eye contact with them as you speak to them.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2009
  4. deleterious

    deleterious OT Supporter

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    you sound just like me
     
  5. Jarg0n

    Jarg0n New Member

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    Cool. Good to hear there's more people out there like me. I'll have to google that Social Dynamics material; I've heard of it, but never really looked into any forums.

    Holding eye contact really isn't a big issue. When slowly getting to know people, I've noticed that I can't disclosed my full-fledged personality with someone that (1) I don't "click" with and (2) that I haven't known for a good while.

    I have been making small attempts to engage conversation with people I don't normally converse with just to see the outcome of the conversation. I try to be as dynamic as possible with my facial features, because sometimes I think I come off as a bit monotone or emotionless. However, when talking to someone of great importance, as in a job interview, the lump in my throat and shortness of breath is still there.
     
  6. Clancer

    Clancer New Member

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    .
     
  7. Roasted

    Roasted New Member

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    I think like the other poster said, you just have to take baby steps. Maybe combine the gym thing with your goal for being more social and start saying hi, making comments, to other people at the gym, etc.

    I used to be the same way, but now sometimes almost have the opposite problem where I don't know when to shut up or hold back. :rofl:

    At work I'll often blurt out really random comments and jokes almost immediately when they come to mind. Sure about 30% of the time, the joke/story sounded funnier in my head and everyone looks at me like I'm an idiot, but the other 70% of the time the guys at work think I'm a comic genius. :big grin: Pay attention every time you stop yourself from saying something, and try to conciously ignore that feeling. You gotta learn to relax, it's ok to say something stupid once in a while, especially if the other 2/3 times, you say something worthwhile. I think you're overanalizing everything you want to say and that's the problem.
     
  8. Jarg0n

    Jarg0n New Member

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    Yeah, you're probably right. When I begin a sentence, my mind is assembling the latter part of that sentence and sometimes gets caught when it can't find the best adjetive to put in front of a noun. Also, in the past year, I've been saying the first three or four words twice in a row before completing the entire sentence for some reason. It's almost as if my mind has an idea, starts it, checks itself, and starts over again in one rapid motion. wtf? :ugh:
     
  9. deusexaethera

    deusexaethera OT Supporter

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    Go to a bunch of bars and make a fool of yourself until you learn which behaviors attract unwanted attention and which don't. That's what I did.

    People in bars are disposable; even if you ever meet them again, it's very unlikely your previous interactions with them will make any difference, assuming they remember them at all -- and if they do, you can always go to another bar and start over.

    The key is to practice on a clean slate over and over until you get it right.
     
  10. Di0rdna

    Di0rdna New Member

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    you just described me to a tee, particularly the problem with starting a sentence but not being able to find the words mid-flow. I'm a bit worried its an underlying memory issue :(
     
  11. Yossarian

    Yossarian OT Supporter

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    Pick up a book on body language, in a conversation between two people maybe 70% of that is non-verbal. It'll give you some insight and tools to know when to get involved, how what you're saying is impacting and when to stop. More than anything, it'll give you some more confidence going in.
     

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