Have you ever been invited to a party, concert, or even a small get together and the first thing that takes over your body is panic? It’s not that you don’t want to be social, but the idea of being in a room full of people utterly terrifies you. You think to yourself, “I am not going to know what to say” or “I am afraid I am not going to fit in.”

This was my life for a very long time. I had severe social anxiety anytime I was in a room full of people. I felt awkward, uncomfortable, and was terrified of what people thought of me. Furthermore, I almost never said a word because I just didn’t know how to talk to people. I would enter a social situation and immediately panic because I was so worried about saying the wrong thing or not having anything to say.

after years of living in fear i learned a few things along the way that completely changed how i interact with others.

I now am able to walk into any social situation with ease and start a conversation with a complete strangers.

here are three helpful tips that have taken me from a very shy girl to a thriving social aficionado.

1.) Ask questions. – If you don’t know what to say the best thing to do is just start asking questions. If you are worried about what the other person is thinking about you this will immediately redirect their focus. People love to talk about themselves and if you show interest in who they are you will establish a connection pretty quickly. This is a handy tool that I use. It is called FORM. It stands for family, occupation, recreation, and message. Ask people about their family, what they do for a living, what they like to do in their spare time, and the message can be anything from asking them to hang out again or connecting with them on a subject. The key to this technique is to also take the time and genuinely be interested. This will give you the ability to get the person to continue to talk about themselves.

2.) Realize that everyone has insecurities. – One of the biggest things that kept me quiet for so long was I was deathly afraid of what people thought of me. I thought that maybe I wasn’t funny enough or no one would enjoy talking to me. At the time I was also very overweight so I believed that someone wouldn’t want to talk to me because of how I looked. What I came to realize, however, is that everyone has insecurities we just mask it differently. After understanding that one thing is when my world truly started to open up.

3.) Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. – This is actually something I didn’t realize until recently. One of the reasons we start to feel insecure is a lot of times we have a direct reflection of what we think of someone else. For instance, was there ever a guy or gal that you really liked and you were so afraid to talk to them because you thought someone like that would never talk to you? Well, believe it or not, you were already judging them. You assumed because they looked a certain way they wouldn’t want to talk to you. You never know who someone is right away and you should never judge them based on how they look.

I hope that you can take something away from what I have just shared. I know that living a life full of social anxiety is not fun. Believe me, I did it for about 20 years. By implementing these techniques I have been able to turn my life around and I now actually look forward to meeting new people.

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