Struggling with socialising
Hi everyone, this is my first time posting here but could really use some advice.
I'm a generally shy, introverted person but these days I have been really struggling with socialising with people. Whenever I am in a social situation, I cannot come up with anything to say to people. My mind goes blank and I don't make an effort at all to speak to people. I'm not afraid, but I just don't have anything to say. I often feel stares because I don't really react to things or try to continue the conversation with people and I usually make things awkward with my quietness. It's becoming a real problem, because of how much the things in my life depend on me being social and talkative. I worry that because of this problem of me coming off as someone who doesn't talk, I will lose important opportunities and possibly my job (I work in retail). Plus, I get graded on participation for my classes at uni.
I also don't have many friends, but with the ones I do have, we hang out often. I feel like every time I hang out with them, I can never speak up about things going on in my life. It's like it just doesn't want to come out of me. Usually all I really do is listen to my friends' conversations while I make a small comment here and there. I feel like it's very difficult to make new friends as well, because even if someone is trying to be friendly with me, I just don't know what to say and I end up feeling really bad afterwards.
I just want to be able to express myself as well as I do with writing. It's disappointing that I feel like the person that goes out in the world to these social situations isn't the real me.
So if anyone has advice on how to become more sociable, please let me know!
I think it's great you had the courage to post here, it takes a lot and I'm sure comes at the price of more worry. It's a pretty good thing to do though, as many here will have had similar experiences.
For some people social interaction is just a little difficult, and those people are called shy. There are different degrees of difficulty however and greater shyness can be a symptom of an anxiety condition. I've had chronic anxiety, plus some other things, for a very long time and can have problems in social situations too when things are bad.
You said that it is not only uncomfortable for you, but very worrying as your job, and relationships with others plus studies can be affected.
At this stage I'd suggest, if it was me, that I'd see my GP and ask to be tested for anxiety. You can write - ok write down in detail what you feel, what is happening to you, and how long it has been going on. Share that paper in a long consultation -that's how I find I can get everything out properly.
Then see what your GP and the tests show. If warranted you may end up on a Health Plan with visits to a psychologist and therapy, as well as guided self-help. The good news is that anxiety is treatable and normally responds well.
I'd suggest you look up anxiety; causes, types, symptoms and treatments in The Facts menu above, also have a look at how others have coped in the Anxiety section of this Forum.
I'm sure that things can improve for you. I personally am in a much better place than I was.
It's funny you mention writing, as I tend to write out old happy memories as a means of coping when I'm not too good - such as reliving a conversation; similar to what you mention.
If your doctor agrees you can go to the welfare/mental health section of your uni and register, then you may have help if you cannot meet deadlines, and with academic penalties. They are bound to keep your details confidential.
Please write again as often as you'd like
Thank you for your post:) I think Croix our community champion had alot of good suggestions about seeing your Gp and talking to the uni about welfare / options. You could even get a referral to a professional to help you work on that. It is common problem and it is good that you recognise it so early in life and want to address the issues now. It is much easier I think younger than later. It is good that you do have friends to be with and it is good you can express yourself in writing. Sometimes its ok not to say anything just for the sake of it and other times if its something that interests you, you can make your contribution. Start small and see the reactions and then you might want to open up more. Maybe more general interest stuff first and then if that felt ok and you felt safe you could open up at a deeper level with people that you trust. You are welcome to write to us here and call on 1300 22 4636 and just know you are not alone. Best Wishes Nikkir x
hope you're doing well, don't be too worried about this there are many people who have experienced this including myself and my advice is simply just to relax, if you concentrate too hard thinking about something to say you may find its going to make things worse, dont worry about what other people are going to think about what you have to say and just let it flow, in my experience with a guy i was dating when we first met id never have anything to say and he was the same haha so yes i know how you feel when you say it makes things awkward, just try to ask some basic questions about them or their day (''Hey how was your day what did you get up to"etc) and hopefully it can get conversations flowing, just remember people love to talk about themselves, i can get almost any conversation to start by just asking about what they do or like etc. If you feel like youre in a real awkward conservation and youve ran out of ideas, probably what id do is just say ''hey sorry im just not very talkative today'' and usually my friends or whoever just accept it and have no problem with it, it just helps with the awkwardness becase theyre probably wondering why im not speaking so haha yeah you know. Anyway kath, dont stress, we all get a little socially awkward sometimes and its better to just accept it. Hopefully you can meet someone who is the same and you can both chill in awkward silence together haha.