Social Anxiety: 10 Tricks That Will Help.

In every class, there is a kid that doesn’t say anything to anyone, and for some reason, they’ll continue that throughout the semester until they disappear with it. For what every reason that was me. I didn’t feel the need to talk, but not because I had nothing to say, I just didn’t feel comfortable saying it. We’re taught quadratic equations, yet we can’t hold a conversation for more than a minute before looking at down at our phones and ignoring The people around us. One thing that being a loner taught me is that we need each other more than we like to admit. We’re losing the ability to speak authentically about our goals and feelings, but social skills are like every other skill on the planet. We learn to crawl and it may look embarrassing at first because no one wants to see a grown person crawl; it represents the worst of us. It represents that stage of growth that looks like that unruly stage of hair growth; unkempt and downright shameful, but this too shall pass.

Embarrassment, the worst feeling failure can give us and it has prevented millions of people from having the skills/life/relationship/family/etc. they always wanted. Whether it be dancing salsa or speaking a new language, that rough stage is the hardest to overcome.

Japanese Example:

English has become the language of international business and every country in the world has enacted some sort of policy to encourage their citizens to learn. The Japanese start to learn English in elementary schools.However,  students in their last year of junior high who reached the targets (3rd-grade efficiency) were 26.1 percent for reading, 20.2 percent for listening, 43.2 percent for writing and 32.6 percent for speaking (JIJI). This is in part due to the Shame culture in Japan. The Japanese associate shame with mistakes; shame is especially harmful to those with high self-esteem like many Japanese and when the people witness these mistakes. In other words,  the pain that comes with shame is so overbearing that people would rather do nothing at all.

So what would you rather do, stay in the safe space where comfort isn’t guaranteed or risk it all?

The Problem: Self-conscious, Nerves, Uncomfortable, etc.  and the Culture!!!

The Individual:

Going into new situations would make anyone self-conscious. How do we get over it? How do we get over the debilitating feeling of nervousness that holds us back by anticipating the embarrassment before it happens? Because these nerves arise with every new experience and they remind us of past growing pains, aka “embarrassing moments”,  so with experience and skill against us, where are our allies? Because that attractive stranger doesn’t know us, and most people’s pickup game is swiping left or right.

The Culture:

  • Technology= If you’re behind a screen all day, you’re not doing much “normal” interacting
  • Institutional alienation=  Separation from the mean of production –> There is no passion, people are like machines and we are taught to embrace it; to expect it. Our institutions are lacking the human factor.
  • The stigma behind Vulnerability = According to music and movies, strength has no place for vulnerability, but vulnerability is important when forming new relationships. We all want strength, but don’t forget that vulnerability can be a strength as well.

The Key: Attitude

**This key is being given under the assumption that the people using it don’t have poor hygiene and have a decent style….. no one likes stinky people****

Everyone is self-conscious, and in reality, not that interesting. We live on a planet with 7.5 billion self-conscious people and sometimes they are afraid to admit that its true. We know nothing of our own existence and were lost on this external ride called life; we’re not important. People are like big numbers in long-division;  it’s overbearing when we see them, but once we put it into perceptive, we can break them down into basic forms.There are some simple truths to humans; we are social creatures, we all have a desire to connect, no one person can provide it, we’re all self-conscious, we’re all scared to be vulnerable. Having an intrinsic connection between people isn’t easy, but nothing worth having is. The main obstacle is the fear of embarrassment. Let’s be honest, it takes some courage to initiate any kind of interaction with another person. Whether you’re bumming a cigarette or asking for ketchup, no one wants to look stupid or say something stupid so it easier to just ignore the opportunities. But what if you became that person that wasn’t afraid? 

These are the first steps to take to get over the hump:

  1. Don’t be scared to be vulnerable
  2. Be yourself
  3. Have faith in other people
  4. Don’t interpret rejection as a bad thing
  5. Every interaction is a lesson
  6. Perceive nervousness as excitement
  7. Be Honest with yourself
  8. Expect the worst, hope for the best
  9. Be Polite
  10. Smile 🙂

Life is like a song; dance to it.

 

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