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Thread: Social phobia

  1. Social phobia

    Hi there I'm new...

    My main issue with social phobia is that I could even be prepared for it and still be shaking-yet it isn't the same on stage...(and yes, I have tried to act in life but I got too scared before "I walked on stage" so to speak).

    I'm a perfectly decent person, and decent people, eventually, always like me (or at least those that I've spoken to in sufficient length). But I have a big fear that they (all people) won't like me for one reason or another. (Because I've had many un-deserved comments from people that were uncalled for that hurt me and I am currently not strong enough to take this undue criticism, or know how to deal with it (e.g. how to help rid oneself of the memories).

    What I want to know is: How do not care about what "the people that don't matter" think of you, when you ARE supposed to care when decent people think good things about you. Those people who (at least potentially) wouldn't like me actually DO matter to me, especially if you where to spend a lot of time with them...In my opinion saying they don't matter is a load of....

    Emotion is often attached to what other people think about us. How do you automatically switch off to bad comments? People not liking me feels to me like a form of rejection, and when we are rejected we don't feel especially good. It also brings thoughts about making the effort to make people like you...(Once I'm thinking more clearly I'll be able to expand on the setence about making the effort).

    Half the time I don't know how to act round people-which brings on fear in itself. Yet when I do know, sometimes I'm still fearful.

    Some other stuff-I've had the words "typical of an actor" and "teenage angst" associated with this (my situation)-it's not just typical of an actor to be sick before he goes on a coach on a College trip, nor for the average teenager...or to not say anything, or whatever.

    Any thoughts on my main question? I've decided to take a step to join here because this has annoyed me, given pain and upset me for too long, and could still do. I'm getting phychological help this summer but I would like to see what is said here.

    Thanks

  2. #2

    Social phobia

    On stage, you're in control and what's expected of you is very clear and usually structured to some degree.

    In casual social interactions, the roles and expectations are much less clearly defined.

  3. Social phobia

    I'm glad you pointed that out. I sort of knew that but didn't have it words, so thank you sir.

    Okay next point. What if you define your role and it's for real life and you get "stage fright"? Unfortunately I only clearly defined my role for real life once and that's when it happened (or defined it to the best of my knowledge, but still unfortunately still involved some improvising, which is the thing I HATE even when acting because again the role isn't clearly defined. I would say "I think it's a case of keep putting myself in these situations", but the problem would still be bothering about what people think...

    I suppose I don't know how to act whilst not being a normal teenager, e.g. getting on with teenagers but still being a good person (not that all teenagers are bad!). I typed that and was thinking this is very revealing...

    I suppose part of the problem is I have never liked people my own age and therefore cannot identify with them, plus being young you get criticsed and condesended by adults (or that's what it feels like sometimes, by people you don't know, then it makes you feel bad about your age) when in fact I'm likely to get on with adults (I do to everyone who I have a decent length "talk" with who's an adult). Adults seem to be accepting of who you are when they have realised you aren't the steriotypical teenager (or, without being big-headed, pleasantly suprised that I'm more adult-like than most people my age)...whilst teenagers think you should be more like them (in my experience). I'm not saying adults have no limit to the leeway of the differences they have with other people, but with teenagers it's far smaller.

    Sorry to drag on here, but with roles not being clearly defined and therefore acting differently than I "should", so I don't know what my ideal self/mixed with my personality should be in that situation, plus I don't know who the ideal real Pete is at the moment anyway (which I do hear tell is a teenage thing anyway, but it's posing a problem here), it's like I don't know who I am.

    Having come to the end of this post, you and I have possibly answered this question. I need to know how to act in a way in front of people in which I'm comfortable with enoug suitable "lines" and keep putting myself in these situations as I can then work with the pressure (phobia). However, that brings another problem...the fact that you can't please everyone...which is partly down to immaturity or something that I would want to be liked by everyone?

  4. #4

    Social phobia

    Okay next point. What if you define your role and it's for real life and you get "stage fright"? Unfortunately I only clearly defined my role for real life once and that's when it happened
    That isn't possible in real life because by definition at least one other person is involved who isn't necessarily following your script... thus, by definition, the situation is inherently beyond your control, which is where your anxiety ("stage fright") comes from.

    The cure is to learn to accept that real life interactions can't be scripted and to learn to have faith in your ability to "ad lib" (to stay with your terminology).

  5. Social phobia

    Which comes from experience of dealing with the improvisation and stage fright (although often knowing certain things to say as back-up often helps)?

  6. #6

    Social phobia

    A lot of the anxiety comes from feeling that you MUST say something -- becoming a good listener may be a much more profitable goal for many people.

    I often suggest that in a pinch, if you feel an awkward silence, ask the other person a question about himself or herself? This can be anything... what do you do? where did you grow up? where did you go to school? People usually are happy to talk about themselves and in most cases will reciprocate by asking you a similar question -- and before you know it you have a conversation going.

  7. Social phobia

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete588
    I suppose part of the problem is I have never liked people my own age and therefore cannot identify with them.. I'm likely to get on with adults (I do to everyone who I have a decent length "talk" with who's an adult). Adults seem to be accepting of who you are when they have realised you aren't the steriotypical teenager
    Yes, plus having social phobia gives you a certain timidness and politeness that adults tend to respond well to. (That's been my experience, anyway.) I am 27 but have always got on better with people who are a lot older (My closest friend right now is actually a guy who is 67!)
    It can be frustrating, though, as you know, to feel like an outsider in your own peer group.
    ..the fact that you can't please everyone...which is partly down to immaturity or something that I would want to be liked by everyone?
    Yes, we want to be liked, and it's especially hard when you're a teenager and you don't have the freedom that an adult does. I get to talk to whomever I please, and the only forcible social situations come about in the workplace. I try to get along with everyone, and usually succeed by being a Social Chameleon of sorts. I tailor my comments and behavior to whatever people I'm with at the time, and try to keep my "True Self" hidden.
    I'm not saying this as advice (It may not even be healthy, I don't know) but I do have a True Self, which is like the way I am naturally, and the easiest way to be, but I keep this in check most of the time. I'm an eccentric person, and (I think) pretty atypical in a lot of my ideas, speech and mannerisms. I've had people tell me this, too, (Ouch) that I can really weird people out when I say the wrong thing.
    I solve this by double checking myself before I add something to the conversation. I ask, "Is this something that would interest the people I'm with? Is it germane to the topic? Is it easy to understand?" (I have a lot of imaginative, abstract ideas, and most people can't handle that LOL.)
    Now, god knows I'm not always successful with this filtering system, but it works pretty well when I put the effort into it.
    I guess what I'm saying is... It's impossible to have a single personality and be liked by everyone, or even most of the people you're with. And I only get to be my True Self around a couple, very select people.
    How do you not care about what "the people that don't matter" think of you, when you ARE supposed to care when decent people think good things about you.
    This is a good question. I think it is supposed to work based on how you feel about the people. We all have people that we really like and respect, and naturally we care more about their opinions than those of strangers. Or at least... we're supposed to. Right?
    So it's not about an external judgement of people who don't matter vs. people who are decent, but whether you, personally, trust the people. Now, I know it's hard not to be hurt when some idiot in a passing vehicle yells something crude at you... We all experience that and it hurts a little.
    For me, though, it hurts because it makes me depressed about how stupid/ignorant people can be, and how this reflects badly on the whole of society and our future as a species. I don't take it as a personal attack on me. Maybe it's not that you shouldn't care at all, but changing the focus of the caring.
    When I see someone who is angry and lashing out (even at me), it's of course painful. Even if it's a person I don't like, personal attacks on me are offensive and hard to take. But I try to understand what is going on with that person, figure out if I've really done something to wrong him, or if he is just angry at the world. There are a lot of people out there (perhaps the majority, if online forums are any indication) who will launch personal attacks just because they are insecure, have low self esteem, or are just way intolerant of anyone who thinks differently than they do.
    So as we learn to recognize these "flamers" online, we realize that they are people in the real world doing exactly the same thing for the same reasons.
    I will sometimes try to talk to these people, calm them down, get them to tell me what is really going on. It doesn't always work; some people are just too hurt to repair, or they just have a life philosophy that cannot be applied to life with any success. They usually are not into constructive criticism. But no matter the case, understanding the situation requires getting out of yourself and figuring out what is going on with the flamer.
    That brings me to this one:
    in a pinch, if you feel an awkward silence, ask the other person a question about himself or herself? This can be anything..
    I think this is brilliant. As soon as you start getting out of your own emotions, you can start seeing that other people have all kinds of wacky ideas and experiences that affect the way they interact with you. That might be the first step in addressing a social phobia: realizing that not everything is about you, or a reflection of you, or even has anything to do with you.
    You may learn that people do their thing to everybody, not just you. And suddenly it's obvious that you have no reason to take it personally.
    I've heard that a good conversationalist is always directing the conversation away from himself, and that is a great way to avoid the "stage fright" feeling. It's easier to talk about other people than yourself, and let someone else be the star. Just getting used to being on stage, is the point. You don't have to be the center of attention while you're there.
    When I'm in a convo, I try to go at least 60/40 in favor of the other person being the star. I will ask two or three questions, and listen actively with the "I see" and nodding, and then I supply a line or two of my experiences to add to the discussion. Then back to the other person with another question or two. It really does work for me !
    I think the majority of people out there are talkers, not listeners, so people really appreciate a good convo where they will be heard.
    People usually are happy to talk about themselves and in most cases will reciprocate by asking you a similar question -
    Yes. Some will really want to pour their hearts out. You meet people who seem to have never been listened to in their lives. It's moving, sometimes, when you realize that someone is opening up for the first time... and to you.
    I think the majority of people out there are talkers, not listeners, so peop
    Of course, there are all kinds. There are those awful bores who will literally talk for 30-45 minutes straight and never take any interest in you...
    LOL, I hope I didn't just do that. hehe.
    Going now. :o)

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