Social Anxiety! Shyness! Do you have these problems?

United Kingdom
August 27, 2009 2:03am CST
I have always found it uncomfortable being in a group situation. I don't go to parties and I don't visit pubs with a group of friends for a social drink! I would like to do these things and I would like to socialise generally. I have never been diagnosed as having Social Anxiety but I'm pretty certain that I do suffer from this. I have been doing a lot of research online and a lot of what people are saying rings true with me. Discomfort in crowds, shyness in a group setting, feelings of wanting to escape and find somewhere quiet! I experience these on a regular basis. I recently started blogging or keeping a live journal online, the website is actually www.livejournal.com Anway, I found lots of other people there with the same problem and it was interesting to read their journals on how they cope with everyday life. I have also joined the website www.meetup.com and they have several groups there that you can join which focus on Social Anxiety and Shyness. They will meetup occasionally and you get to meet and chat with others that have the same problems, I think that this is an excellent idea! I have only been to one meetup since joining and I found it very helpful. So, do you have these problems? How do you cope in everyday life? I'm interested in your thoughts! Andrew
1 person likes this
12 responses
@voldrox (7204)
• India
28 Aug 09
Hey Andrew i have to say i have a lot of problems myself, even i am quiet shy in the public and i wish i could be better with people, there are some people who think otherwise about me when i am not, they think i don't talk because i have some kinda attitude problem, hope they could just understand and get to know the real me, even though i have a moderate case of anxiety still it is a lot difficult for me to take part in group discussions and be confident in the public, there are a lot many things i wished for when i was younger but i have now got used to accept myself, i just be myself and i want others to accept me the way i am... just hope people don't get the wrong impression about me, i look serious and all from the outside but i am not, some people draw conclusions very quickly and i certainly don't want to be judged that way, they have to talk to me to know the real me, i am not that mean and bad like some people think....
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
28 Aug 09
Hi voldrox, I understand what you are saying completely. I have always had that worry myself about others thinking that I had some kind of attitude problem when in reality this wasn't and isn't the case. I'm just quiet natured and I do have this Social Anxiety problem. I find huge groups of people difficult and I don't like crowds that much. I think that you can rest assured though that it really is ok to be the way you are and forget about the false ideas that some other people create. I have had this problem for a long time now and I am slowly working on improving things but it really isn't that easy. Anyway, I wish you the best of luck, stay positive. Andrew
1 person likes this
@voldrox (7204)
• India
29 Aug 09
That is so nice of you Andrew, thank you... i am so glad to meet people like me, you all can understand me much better... yeah changing things might not be easy but i am sure you will do it Andrew:)... all my very best wishes to you, nice to meet you Andrew and have a nice day!
@DCLehnsherr (1042)
28 Aug 09
I have always had problems interacting with people as well, and used to think I had social anxiety and/or a personality disorder (I am something of an amateur psychologist!) In the end I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome instead, meaning that it is a little more than just shyness which was nice since it meant I could stop forcing myself into situations I should avoid instead, which was what I had been doing in an effect to cure myself (though it backfired drastically instead!) I have tried livejournal in the past but I found that it just set off those feelings. Being here used to as well until I actually interacted one on one with a few members and saw how nice they were. That and after asking lots of questions I think I understand more of how it works, though I still watch what I say in case I offend people. As for coping in everyday life my trick is to stay out of the way of it lol. I do do things outside the house and even volunteer in a local museum, but since I graduated university I have taken it easy on myself, sort of like having a social gap year before starting work and dealing with it all again. The break has helped me to work out what Aspergers actually means, and how I can deal with it before finding a permanent job and life of my own. As for real life meet ups, I do avoid those and tend to prefer to things online and via e-mail since in person I just can't speak, and when I do people don't usually understand me lol! I am glad that both places have helped you to find yourself and answers and I hope the meet ups continue to prove helpful :) Happy mylotting, Dranz
• United Kingdom
28 Aug 09
I've heard of Asperger's Syndrome. I see a counseller on a regular basis and she mentioned that she thought I might have this but I don't know for sure. I tend to stay away from it all myself, this is a far easier option. I would like to try and make some positive changes though otherwise I feel that I will remain like this forever, always feeling uncomfortable in groups and group situations. Good luck with your own situation Dranz. Andrew
28 Aug 09
I find it fascinating that your counsellor suggested this to you as well. It was my counsellor who first figured that I had Aspergers and encouraged me to seek the diagnosis through my GP. Do you know why your counsellor suggested Aspergers? Mine had a family member with it, and I think I reminded her or that family member, was your experience similar? I wish you luck with the overcoming shyness thing, though if things don't seem to improve after lots of trial and error in the way that mine didn't, definitely pursue the Aspergers route. It could prove useful in the long run. All the best :) Dranz
• Indonesia
27 Aug 09
Yes i have. I am suffocated in the middle of the crowd. I feel small and worthless. But the cause is trauma, i had some people ever mocked me. They called me ugly etc, while i couldn't reply. And there was my close person in my family did that too. So... perhaps that's why i felt insecure wherever i go, even i must go with somebody, can't go and won't go alone. I don't have social life. But i lived in harmony with my family and my husband. Several groups? That's good. But i don't think to share this to others, let it just for myself. How to cope it? Just take it easy. Do your daily activity, just lean on to God. I believed in everything i do God is at my front, because i prayed to God everyday. If i pray not, God is not ahead of me.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
28 Aug 09
It sounds as though you have had some unfortunate experiences. Well, I am trying to cope from day to day. I think that the meetup groups are a great idea although I have only been to one so far and I'm a little worried that no further meetups will take place. I wasn't that keen on sharing my thoughts either with others but I'm a bit more relaxed about that now. Andrew
• Indonesia
28 Aug 09
I hope a good luck for your group. I do hope used to to help people with the same condition i had. It's your job, so good luck. Yes, it was a nightmare and i wish to simply forget that. And i wish your group will have a meeting over and over. I am in indonesia, Jakarta, maybe farther than your place.
@whyiswyh (170)
• Malaysia
27 Aug 09
I do have social anxiety...Not sure about shyness...but I get the jitters by talking to others. I prefer to do things on my own. I feel tense when I get the chance to communicate in a group. I don't understand why but if I meet people online and chat online I don't feel any tension arising. Somehow online group is also okay but when meeting in face-to-face that's the real doldrums that has been plaguing me all the while. I wish I could counter my fears and take control of my life. I guess I will be the biggest issue I had in my entire life that can't be solved instantly..How I could wish I get a gold bar soon...lol...just joking. Anyway, give me some hints on socializing or the group names. I will be checking back soon. For now, arios
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
27 Aug 09
Hi whyiswyh, thanks for sharing this information. I certainly understand what you are experiencing. I go through exactly the same things when I am in a group. The only real suggestion that I can make at this time is that you check out that website www.meetup.com and also www.livejournal.com You may not like the idea of writing a diary or private journal online but I certainly recommend it. Journaling is a great form of release, for me it helps me to release all my thoughts. Anyway, on the livejournal site there are small communities that you can join for free and one of them is a Social Anxiety community. I have just joined that group actually and I find it very helpful. You can read other people's journals and how they cope with these problems. Anyway, I wish you luck. Stay positive and keep posting. All the best, Andrew
@whyiswyh (170)
• Malaysia
28 Aug 09
I have no clue whatsoever to start a diary but I have a blog or two. Not sure what to say in my diary but I am normally speechless and breathless...Coz I love the awe...lol...So whatever comes to my mind normally I am in a daisy...I m not sure I should join those two clubs as I have trouble remembering stuff.I am scared that one day I couldn't even remember my email password..lol...it could happen couldn't it.Somehow I wish I had a program that remembers all my username and password..I can't seem to remember any :(
29 Aug 09
Hey I just had to respond to this discussion as I believe I replied to something you wrote on Live Journal the other day. What a small world it is haha! It was on the social anxiety community, I said I was from near London and was interested in the meet up thing. Do you remember me? My livejournal name is Dontstartaband!
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
29 Aug 09
Well, hey! A very big hello! Yes, I certainly remember you. How are you getting on? Well, I just had to create a discussion like this as so many people suffer with this condition or problem. Anyway, I hope you join the group, if you do, say hi so that I can recognise you on meetup.com. All the best for now. Andrew
• Philippines
28 Aug 09
I think I'm on a halfway between being shy and being sociable. During my school years, from elementary to high school, I was really expressive, approachable, ice breaker, funny, outrageous and outgoing. In college, even i have a group friends who smoke, I still joining them. But my shyness was happening only in my house neighbors. They dont like to approach me or just wave and say, hi! They are my childhood friends before but when we grown up,they don't like to talk to me. I felt like outcast and horrible to some of them. But what i always do is just to smile. If they dont respond well its okey with me at least i gave my part of considering and acknowledging them. Smile makes a lot of difference. Introduce yourself and be adaptive also to them. Every group situation is different. If you dont like the group just be civil and still acknowledge the postive things on that group. It's a matter of choice if you go to a bein a bad and good company. Anyway nobodys perfect its all about acceptance!
• United Kingdom
28 Aug 09
I agree with you in that every group is different. I must get into the habit of joining groups on a regular basis, it's only then I feel that I will start to become comfortable with the environment. I'm open minded about things and I'm trying to adopt a positive attitude. I sometimes feel though that you make such an effort to respond or make some kind of response and then you don't notice anything coming back your way and this really makes it very easy to just give up and quit. Andrew
@bird123 (10525)
• United States
28 Aug 09
I think everyone has this to some extent. What a person believes is often what they become. See yourself as the social center of attention. Go to parties, greet and treat people like your very best friend. You might just find that they are glad that you broke the ice. Need something to talk about????? Learn from talk show hosts. Aren't they just great at getting people to open up????
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
28 Aug 09
The very thought of going to parties where I hardly know anyone really intimidates me! I feel so nervous about that situation and have never tried it. It makes a lot of sense though. The only way I am going to tackle my problems is to face them head on. Those talk show hosts are weird at the best of times lol. It is true that they help to open up conversations with people though. Well, I don't know what I'm going to do, I have a kind of plan which I'm thinking about but I don't want to think about it too much otherwise I will start worrying as usual. Andrew
@lynnemg (4539)
• United States
27 Aug 09
I am pretty shy, by nature, and I avoid group settings as much as I can. I only meet new people when I have to, and to be honest, I am perfectly comfortable sitting at home with onyl my huband and kids around me. I don't mind the occassional guest, and I love to talk to my family, and occassionally have them to visit, but when it comes to more than just a few other people around, I will spend as much time in my room or even making excuses to run errands as I can to avoid being around so many people at one time. I can't say that it is really a social anxiety, I think it is really just my personal preference to be a homebody. If my husband were to come home and suggest that we go out with, let's say, his brother and sister-in-law, I would probably make some excuse not to go just because I don't even like going out in groups. If he came home and suggested that we go out to eat, just the two of us, I would agree only if it were a day and time when I knew the place wouldn't be as busy. I don't get those anxious feelings that I do at other times, but I don't feel comfortable.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
28 Aug 09
It sounds like you are really comfortable in your own skin and this is really good. I wish that I could adopt an attitude like this. I'm stuck indoors for most of the time and I also live alone so it becomes that much harder to become a part of society. I'm making an effort in my own way though and hopefully things will become easier as time passes. I don't have anyone in the way of family so I don't socialise much during family times such as Christmas and so forth. I'm hoping that I will start going to a few more meetup groups though. Andrew
@aisaellis22 (6449)
• United States
27 Aug 09
Hello AndrewFeyne! I also have the same feeling everytime I am in a group situation. I am not comfortable, shy and thought of going somewhere quite everytime I am in a group. I want to get over with it because it wouldn't help me being like that.
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
28 Aug 09
Hi, I guess we both experience the same thing! Well, I'm hoping that things will become better over time. I just want to rid my mind of those thoughts and start fresh and not feel so inadequate! Have you ever thought about a support group yourself? Well, it's probably worth checking out the meetup website just to see what they have to offer in your area. Andrew
@wolfie34 (26792)
• United Kingdom
27 Aug 09
Hi Andrew, well I think by now you know that I have more or less the same problems as you, with me it's more the unwillingness and suspicion and paranoia about being around people but I think this was brought about more by the fact that I have been badly bullied and have been in mentally abusive relationships in the past, however I was diagnozed as having BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) which doesn't help the situation and why my relationships just don't last. I have got used to my own company and do not mix, I guess because it's been this way for longer than I can remember I have got used to and accepted the situation. I am too independent, need my privacy and in a way selfish that I don't want to share my life with anyone. I did join up one of those groups at meet.up, but sadly the person running it has since quit and the group is going to be deleted unless someone can take the reins, typical! But even when I joined up there was a meet up on the day I joined and to be honest I just couldn't face it. When I was in my 20s I used to go to clubs, bars etc so the problem hasn't been lifelong, it's developed more when I was in my 30s and now a I come up to my 40s I feel that this is my lot in life and I accept it, I think mainly because that I don't want to meet anyone, I want to stay single that to me I just don't trust any one any more and sadly yes I do tar everyone with the same brush, to me people are abusers, bullies and control freaks and if anyone talks to me or takes an interest in me that is what I think straight away, so part of my mental state is to reject people before they have a chance to reject or use and abuse me. My defences are far too strong to let people in, whether it's a temporary thing or a permanent one, but right now in my life that is the way I feel.
• United Kingdom
27 Aug 09
Hi wolfie it's always nice to hear from you. I certainly understand what you are saying. I'm thinking to myself that I may follow you in this approach! I too love my independence and I have been living alone for a long time now. I am comfortable with the way things are and tend to feel quite intimidated about any serious change. You certainly have got that much further though in terms of progress as you have experienced the club scene as well as bars, I have hardly done any of this and am reluctant to do so. Anyway, no one judges you for the way you are, I certainly don't! The most important thing I think is that you are content in your own skin. I'm 34 years of age and I sometimes think that this is going to be my lot in life, live alone, enjoy my own company and everything that goes with that. The thing about me is, I do feel quite depressed with my current existence. I want to make changes and it feels like I am facing a constant battle. Anyway, I will try and remain positive and see what else life throws at me! All the best, wolfie. Andrew
@hoho159 (55)
• China
27 Aug 09
hi,i have the same feeling in my childhood.i can't play with stranger,even,the group which only has one stranger.i can't also paly in crowed place,because,i thougt they would saw me when i play,because i play not well. i always have those thoughts. feeling better when i go to highschool. but,the problem run until now. through your word ,you are a motivated person who find proble can solve it right now.good boy! where are you in ? there is no the group like you said in my country .if it has ,i want to join in to .
1 person likes this
• United Kingdom
27 Aug 09
Thanks for saying I sound motivated! I find it hard to remain motivated at times! I live in London and the website www.meetup.com is worldwide however the two groups that I am a member of within meetup are based in London. You can join www.meetup.com for free. If there is no group in your area that relates to shyness you can always begin one of your own, that's the good thing about meetup. Good luck with your plans. Andrew
@bing28 (3798)
• Philippines
27 Aug 09
Oh yes Andrew before I was so shy also and and have this social anxiety and even inferiority complex. I was so nervous in facing people and I'm trembling entering even an office. I do have stage fright as well. I was able to cope with all of these when I joined in sales. Attending product knowledge seminars, trainings and also differrent functions and activities. When I was recruited in Tupperware, we were used to conduct product demonstration in a group of attendees. During the first and the second demos our recruiter and manager was the one conduxting all we had to do was to observe but the next day our manager dropped each one of us in an office she previously set appointment. Though we had product knowledge already at first I'm quite hesistant and still nervous but thinking that the presentation was all set and nobody else would conduct it for me, I don't know where did I get the strength but I was able to make it, I finished the presentation ans was able to reach the quota for sales as everyone ordered. From that time on I learned how to face the crowd, I became a tupperware manager and I was able to train new Tupperware dealers. After 6 years I was recruited in real estate, this time I learned how to conduct office presentations about differrent subdivisions and also learned how conduct seminars for new agents. I remember joining Sales helped me coped out with my shyness, social anxiety and even inferiority complex. Just go on mingling with other people, Andrew and keep on attending activities and the next time around you'll see you had overcome these shyness and social anxiety.
• United Kingdom
27 Aug 09
Hi bing, nice to hear from you. It sounds like you have had some extensive experience with this thing. Well, it's good that you are making progress now. I still have a long way to go I think. I think I will have to get down to a lot more meetings before I start becoming comfortable with things. Andrew