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.