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I feel awkward around people in general, but specifically using the phone and meeting large groups are really stressful situations for me.

Erin Froehlich asked this
July 25, 2011 at 5:07 PM

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I wonder sometimes if that has to do with the exposure to public speaking and attention during the formative years of a child's life. So often we see that the younger generations have difficulty speaking in a public forum because they relate being social to updating their profile on Facebook. Makes you wonder where we will be when that generation needs to step up and run the world.

John answered
August 12, 2011 at 2:53 PM

Well, I don't know. Studies do agree with your worries for the younger generation - kids are forgetting how to actually talk because they write everything! I think it certainly helps to have exposure and practice in a variety of social situations, but I think sometimes anxiety goes deeper than that even.

I actually did quite a bit of public speaking a performances at a young age. I did dance classes and we had recital every year. I was in choir and I sang a lot of solos. I was even chosen to deliver a couple speeches for the whole school. I will say I found that when I had given a speech more recently I did a lot better, but I think I've actually gotten worse since I gotten older.

In college presentations I'd really have to memorize what I was going to say and practice it over and over and over or I'd blush horribly and start mixing up my words - and I'd still have a hard time! :/

Erin Froehlich answered
August 12, 2011 at 4:07 PM

Erin, I completely agree with you. I am having that type of problem. I used to not mind public speaking, well at least I wouldn't blush and get as embarassed as I do today. It has seemed to worsen, and I have only had a facebook for a few years, after this problem started. So, I don't blame it on sociallizing only on Facebook. There has to be more to it. It takes a lot for me to step outside my comfort zone, and in some situations with people I have no problem doing so. But, in other situations I back up in to a corner. I would say I have little bit of social anxiety. How do you deal with it now, Erin?

Kara answered
August 17, 2011 at 12:49 PM

Social interaction is much different from presentation though. Do you have the ability to step into a group of people and interact without hesitation or doubt or do you clam up and remain quiet? This is why I brought up the social networking initially. What we consider socializing has changed greatly in the last decade, what used to mean having a face to face conversation has now turned into a text message or status update. There is something to be said for face to face interaction, the body movement, intonation of syllables, facial recognition...actual emotion (not emoticon). If we continue to use a computer as the medium to try to express these subtle human conditions, we eventually will begin to lose our understanding of them.

John answered
August 18, 2011 at 1:21 PM

I totally agree about social media hurting our ability to communicate face to face, but I have to say - being a writer and having social anxiety, I LOVE being able to communicate over the internet. Also feeling weird about using the phone, I am love texting which involves no awkward transitions or goodbyes.

Can I step up to a group of people without hesitation of doubt?

Depends. Are they people I know and talk to often - or not? I feel awkward dealing with most people, but I guess with people I know well, I don't worry as much because they've already accepted me - weirdness and all - but sometimes, I even feel awkward around friends. Depends a lot on my mood.

In social situations I CAN actually be the one driving the conversation, a big part of which has to do with my discomfort with silences. Silence feels like social failure. I've learned that asking questions is usually works.

It's weird, but I can sometimes have "delayed" social anxiety. I'll feel good about the conversation at the time, but later on in the day I'll think back about something I said and agonize over it. (I sounded so stupid! They were weirded out by you. Why didn't you just stop talking?) I have a bad habit of worrying.

The situations I worry about in advance are get togethers with large groups of people, having to talk to authority figures, and talking on the phone (except with my closest friends and boyfriend - I even get nervous about talking to my family). I have to psyche myself up for it. Or - to be honest - I'll have a drink.(which I need to be careful about, because I have a family history of alcoholism)

How do I deal with it now?

Not terribly well. u.u'

If someone were to ask me for my advice, I'd be giving them the same advice I try to reason with my anxious self -

People are too worried about THEMSELVES to be thinking about that stupid thing you said earlier.

Other people feel awkward too.

You're an overall cool person, you're different, that's a GOOD thing.

If people judge you negatively based on a stupid social blunder, they're jerks and not worth worrying about anyway.

I KNOW AL THAT TO BE TRUE EVEN! It's just.... sometimes believing and applying something is a lot harder than just knowing it. Still, despite it all I manage to get through it. I'll take a deep breath, stretch, and walk shaking and red faced into a room to be heard, if there's something I feel passionate about. It's lucky I'm stubborn and opinionated as well as anxious! :D.... u.u'

Erin Froehlich answered
August 18, 2011 at 2:06 PM
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