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Re: How do you handle social situations like this?

Posted by Sarah S on April 17, 2003, at 17:38:59

In reply to Re: How do you handle social situations like this? noa, posted by WorryGirl on April 10, 2003, at 12:27:09

Well, I sort of have the same problem. I'm almost incapable of speaking until spoken to--apart from just saying crap like "hello, how's it going, what's your name?" etc. I am so afraid of rejection, and the sad part is that my life thus far hasn't really given me any reason NOT to be afraid of rejection. So whenever somebody actually acts like they're not going to reject me, I tend to make a lot out of it. I immediately want the person to be my friend and invite me to stuff outside of class, andalthough my fears usually inhibit me, I'm tempted to tell them personal stuff about me.

How do I get past that? Well, I haven't so far, but CBT has helped it a little. My therapist has told me that my thinking is too extreme--I either think "This person hates me! I'm pathetic, no one will be my friend!" or else "Hey, this person likes me! I want to be his/her best friend!" If I can just replace these thoughts with an attitude more along the lines of "Well, maybe these people like me, maybe they don't. I just have to wait and see," then I won't have as many problems. And if you can change your thinking, then your behavior will follow, and then eventually your feelings will change too. I'm not sure how well this is going to turn out, but I would definitely recommend CBT.

Another method I've thought of trying is social skills training/group therapy. Have any other social phobics tried this?

But despite all the problems I still have, I have to admit that "it's getting better all the time." When I was in middle school I was so shy I couldn't even look at people, let alone talk to them. Later in high school I could talk, but I still felt really nervous. Now that I'm in college, I can talk to certain people and still feel comfortable, I can talk in class, and I can make small talk with strangers. Things aren't perfect, but they've improved so much that I have faith that they can improve to the point where I'm normal. And if I can improve, then anybody can! So please don't despair too much.




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