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Re: How do you handle social situations like this? Sarah S

Posted by WorryGirl on May 12, 2003, at 9:01:16

In reply to Re: How do you handle social situations like this?, posted by Sarah S on April 17, 2003, at 17:38:59

Thanks for your response. I'm sorry it took me so long to respond to you! I've felt so depressed lately and it's been hard for me to even log on to my computer. Yes, I can really relate to your feelings and it does comfort me to know others out have the same kind of feelings I do. It sounds like you are taking steps to improve your social relationships.

> 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.
I do the same thing. I get too personal too quickly if I think someone likes me, then they almost always back off. The worst part is that they often then say negative things about me to others who might have become my friends otherwise. All it seems to take is for one person to think I'm weird and everyone else is more than happy to take their word for it instead of trying to get to know me and find out for themselves. I really wish I could stop self-disclosing too much. I don't always do it. Sometimes it takes 2 or 3 conversations before I do it, but the result is usually the same - negative!

> 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?

I wish there were some kind of group therapy for social phobics. I've checked into it and am not aware of one in my area. I would definitely try it. It would be nice to have conversations then evaluations of how we are perceived (if we really want to hear the truth!). Like they say, "the truth will set you free".

> 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.

It sounds like you are doing well. It seems that you will continuously become more confident and less fearful in your social exchanges.
I've always felt shy, but unlike most, part of my temperament includes becoming very talkative once I feel comfortable at all. When I don't feel comfortable it's excruciating. I feel as if everyone can read my deepest thoughts and fears and look down on me for them.




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