Monday, June 4, 2012

Social Anxieties

For the greater part of my life I've felt hindered by my inability to flourish in social situations. I mean, I've gotten better, but at times I can't help but feel overwhelmed by interacting with others.

It's hard to explain.

I do okay in small groups of people, but when I have to be in large groups, where I know no one, I shut down mentally. I'm very quiet, I usually stick to corners by myself trying to avoid eye contact.

However, I have no issues with speaking in front of large crowds, I mean I hosted a panel at UT Austin and things went smoothly, but for some reason I'm unable to make connections with people.  I feel paralyzed when I'm faced with meeting a new group of people.

Take, for instance, the AF bar-be-cue I had to attend this past Saturday. Out of the 20ish people that were there I only knew the recruiters and my friend Austin (who showed up 10 minutes late) so I just stuck near my family. It's very hard for me to initiate conversation with strangers, so again I felt paralyzed and trapped. My parents were "disappointed" with me and told me that I should have tried to bond with the other recruits, but I don't think they understand the amount of irrational anxiety I have when I comes to meeting people.  I mean, they were clearly already acquainted with each other--- which adds to my anxiety because I am already entering the group as an outsider.

I do better when EVERYONE is on the same level. I feel like it eases the tension.

Also, I hate talking to strangers on the phone. Hate. I can do it, but I always feel unpleasant, and I have to talk myself into making the call in the first place.

Now that I'm writing this out I feel so silly.  I'm a capable individual. I have no issue articulating how I feel to others, but I still find it hard to make that first step when I'm thrust into a big group.

I need to fix this.


  1. I also suffer from social anxiety..
    I think it's got something to do with a fear of being judged, stemming from bullying. Best wishes with overcoming your anxiety!

  2. Omg I can totally relate to this... some days it's incredibly easy to just say hi and smile and do the whole thing, but other days I can't help but feel like I am so awkward ever since I was a kid. My mom says it's rude and that people don't like people who go off into corners, but I can't always help it. Eh, it probably just takes some practice and I mean, as long as we're trying good for us! lol.
    Watch, in a couple of years, you, me, and whoever else is this way will be so social people we'll be like "dangggg, they rock!" :D

  3. I'm pretty sure a lot of us can identify with this. I consider myself introverted so I certainly relate. If I'm going in not knowing anyone, but with those people already knowing each other, I'm basically doomed. If nobody knows anyone at all, I'm usually okayish, or if everyone else is even more quiet than I am. And yep, I hate talking on the phone to strangers. So yeah, I definitely understand, and it's so frustrating to have people tell you to just suck it up and go say hi. If it was that easy I'm pretty sure we would have already done that.

  4. I think that as you go along in the AF, you'll learn to interact and deal with people better. I imagine it's a line of work where communication is very important. I myself am not good with new people, especially a crowd of new people. Me and phones tend to just leave eachother alone.

  5. I know those feels. I mean, I didn't talk to anyone for the first half of my freshman year.

    What I find works for me is to just jump in and introduce myself to as many people as possible, even though it's sometimes a little awkward (usually it works best if people are idling around). Even if nothing else comes of it, you made that initial connection and people might be able to put your name and face together. However, generally you just can't expect too much "bonding" out of situations like that.

  6. I think that's the reason people blog. Isn't it horrible though, trying to force oneself into a conversation between people who know each other better?