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Anyone here have issues with shyness / social anxiety?

Roger Mellie

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I am a 30 year old guy and have been shy all of my life. I am hopeless at being around people in general, particularly girls and when I am around an attractive girl I just fall apart, feel stressed, and look very awkward - to the point that I probably come across as strange. After a recent negative experience with a girl I was attracted to I am determined to deal with this and get a handle on it, but I'm not sure exactly where to start. I don't have many male friends and wouldn't even want to tell you about my lack of past relationships. Hit me over the head with a violin if you please, but my lack of style is only part of the problem.

I would say I am average looking, but I don't really know. I am so out of touch that I have hardly been in clubs to be able to gauge what kind of attention I would get. There have been two occasions in my life where females I thought were good looking either thought the same about me or showed an interest in me. However, one of them was too young for me. Most the time I feel like the invisible man because I never get a second look and most women seem to be looking past me when I am walking near them.

I would appreciate any advice from people who have successfully dealt with similar issues. There are so many different psychological tags, and so many dating / confidence books that I feel even more confused by the wealth of theories and information out there. The girl I had the bad exerience with was about 22, and I really feel I am letting life slip away at my age.
 

robin

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The secret is to drink more alcohol.
 

longskate88

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Convince yourself everyone feels this way (ie, they're all shy and awkward) and then realize that no one is judging you, so you have nothing to be shy about. Most people are so self-absorbed, they won't notice if you're wearing the wrong color shoes or make some other faux pas.

Read "How to win friends and influence people"

Realize you have nothing to lose. This might be the most powerful tactic of all. You're at or near the bottom, no matter how much you f*ck it up, you can't go any lower. On your deathbed, you'll regret the chances you DIDN'T take, the people you DIDN'T meet and the things you DIDN'T learn, not the one time you spilled your drink on that hot chick.

As they say, "how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives."
 

Milhouse

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I don't have those issues. I have to say, it is an incredible feeling to be able to move somewhere new, or start a new job, or visit a foreign country (and use a different language), and develop friendships and relationships quickly and easily in all those situations. It is very satisfying and fulfilling. For many of us, this is what makes life good.

Now, you want to break in on this fun. Here are two pieces of advice:

Be genuine.
Be open.

It is just that simple.

By being genuine, take a real interest in others. Actually give a damn when you ask how their day is going. Listen and remember when they tell you what they do, what they like, etc.

By being open, you are going to have to reciprocate. You'll just have to start putting yourself out there and opening up about yourself.

If you want the advanced class, we can talk about taking risks and being confident, but you need to get the basics for now.
 

West24

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remember. always smile, and be able to laugh at yourself. those two things will take you farther than anything else youll try and learn.
 

Roger Mellie

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J and Millhouse, I sometimes fear I am not interested in other people enough. I don't really see people and get excited about them as opportunities for discussions about their lives. It's almost like I have lost a side of my humanity through being introverted, and have a cold view of the world. This worries me because how can I say I have a genuine interest if I do not feel it on a gut level? It's the simple things people seem to judge you on. If they smile and you don't, or they laugh and you don't then they start to question what type of person you are and recoil from you. My worrying about things like this becomes self fulfilling in social situations. Maybe my distrust of people and my fear that they will perceive me negatively is worse now than yours was J, but maybe not. Let me know. Also regarding your advice to go to cafes. I started doing this after I had therapy in 2004 but they had tables where people were not talking to each other. I avoided bars because I don't drink beer and I am not sure that a guy going into a bar and drinking wine is the done thing. I would like to go to bars, but I fear I will fall into a trap of using Dutch courage - which would probably help as it happens.
Realize you have nothing to lose. This might be the most powerful tactic of all. You're at or near the bottom, no matter how much you f*ck it up, you can't go any lower. On your deathbed, you'll regret the chances you DIDN'T take, the people you DIDN'T meet and the things you DIDN'T learn, not the one time you spilled your drink on that hot chick.
Longskate88, is the above kind of paragraph the type of thing that is found in "How to win friends and influence people"? This is the kind of message I need to have drummed into my head repeatedly in any form. I have spent too much time wasting days. I have wasted my 20s as far as I am concerned. The opportunity I missed with the girl last week is burning me up, and I want to force myself to experience more of this because it seems to be the wake up call I need.
 

Milhouse

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You mentioned wine. I too enjoy wine. Several people here enjoy wine. In fact, one of my favorite activities is going to wineries and drinking copious quantities of wine, talking with people (either random or friends or the sommeliers or the wine "bartenders"), maybe eating some light snacks, and just relaxing.

Do you see how I just tried to make a connection? Be an interesting person. Be genuine.

If you don't like beer, don't go to beer type places. There are wine bars too. In fact, one wine bar I know of was trying out singles nights so that wine drinkers could connect with other wine drinkers.

Join some clubs, I'm sure you have other interests too, and there are many people that share those interests (the power of numbers).

If nothing else, take comfort in the fact that there are tons of people out there, so if you "mess up" with 10, 100, 1000, it really doesn't matter. There are plenty more people.
 

Milhouse

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Oh, also, if you are just really really bad at talking to people, start with people that you pay to like you, like waitresses and bartenders. They'll talk to you because they want money. It can help get you over that initial hurdle.
 

Roger Mellie

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I'll take your advice Millhouse. I have never been to a wine bar on my own but that will be a challenge. I just have to start making conversation with people. I had forgot about the times I was urging myself to chat with the waitresses when I started going to cafes a few years back, but didn't have the courage to do so. You just reminded me. I have no more excuses.

edited to add: I should mention I just looked up wine bars and seen people talking about how romantic the ones I found are, and that they're a great place to take a partner. Immidiately the voice in my head tells me I will be sitting on my own surrounded by couples and I start to doubt myself. It's awful.
 

Milhouse

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Are you in a career that requires a lot of networking? Getting over the social anxiety could really be important to climb the ladder.

I try not to be the type of guy that networks only because I want something from someone. In fact, I really dislike those people.

Have a few drinks with a customer (if this is ethical, I suppose it would be bad if you were a psychologist or something) or one of your suppliers. Maybe you have a counterpart in another company you could chat with. You want to build a professional reputation as a person that is interesting, likable, friendly, and civil.

Think of your personal life the same way.
 

Connemara

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Originally Posted by robin
The secret is to drink more alcohol.
Pretty sure that is the secret to life.
 

West24

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Originally Posted by Connemara
Pretty sure that is the secret to life.

its the secret to you getting layed.
 

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