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  1. #1
    Member October Rust's Avatar
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    Unhappy Can't Talk To People? :/

    I need some advice, encouragement or hope.. or something. I thought fellow NFs might be able to provide it.

    I'm really, really socially awkward around people I don't know well. It's like I have to literally force myself to talk. I've been told before that I should just try and be myself, what do I have to lose if someone doesn't like me? The thing is, if I say something stupid I think about it for days.. it tortures me. It's constantly in the back of my mind and it makes me feel really bad about myself.

    I don't know what to do. I can't make friends because I avoid talking to people whenever I can. I think some people see me as a snob, but I'm just shy.

    I get really nervous about job interviews and have never had a job before because I suck at trying to convince someone that I'm a good person for the position. I hold myself to these high standards but I never match up to them. I hold other people to those standards as well, but somehow I'm always worse than them.

    Help anyone?
    INFJ, 4w5
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  2. #2
    Member Cephalonimbus's Avatar
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    I have the same problem and have spent years in complete isolation, but it has gotten less severe over the years and the more i interact, the more confident i become.

    It's important to realize that everybody says stupid things. People might go WTF for a brief moment, but they'll have forgotten it the next moment. I know from experience that shame, and the fear of saying something stupid or not having something interesting to say, can be a tremendous obstacle. It can be truly crippling. But it's completely unnecessary, as it accomplishes nothing more than feeling bad about yourself, which in turn makes it even harder to socialize... you see the pattern there? Your thoughts about yourself and what you have to be or do in order to be worthwhile talking to, aren't at all realistic, and they're stifling you. The solution to your problem is to break out of that vicous cycle. That's easier said than done, though... but i know you can do it You don't have to do it alone, either. Personally, i've benefitted quite a lot from group therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy and even made a few good friends there.

    I know it can feel absolutely hopeless, i've been there and it's a terrible place, but it really isn't hopeless. Please don't ever forget that!

    ik sprokkel wat dagen, drop baggage,
    soms heb ik geen zin om die koffers te dragen,
    ik laat los, los het op, word onzichtbaar
    en geef de buitenlucht wat ruimte terug
    dus.. nu zit ik op m'n fiets alsof het niets is,
    maar niets kan toch niet uit zichzelf pedalen laten draaien?

    ~ Typhoon

  3. #3
    Member October Rust's Avatar
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    Aww, thanks so much

    I think you're right about people forgetting that you've said anything stupid after a few moments. There are times when I fear that I've said something to hurt someone, and that they don't like me anymore because of it.. and I worry and worry, and then when I see them next, there is no problem at all! And when I think about it, I don't hold what others say against them.

    It is hard...but it's good to know that there is help out there. I might have to look into that.

    You've made me feel a lot better though It's always good to hear that you aren't the only one.
    INFJ, 4w5
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  4. #4
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    I like to ask people questions about themselves and what they are doing. It is interesting to hear what they have to say and then you don't have to do as much talking.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

  5. #5
    Member October Rust's Avatar
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    Haha, I like that idea! xD
    INFJ, 4w5
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  6. #6
    Member Cephalonimbus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by October Rust View Post
    Aww, thanks so much

    I think you're right about people forgetting that you've said anything stupid after a few moments. There are times when I fear that I've said something to hurt someone, and that they don't like me anymore because of it.. and I worry and worry, and then when I see them next, there is no problem at all! And when I think about it, I don't hold what others say against them.
    Yeaaah that's the spirit
    I have to remind myself of his too sometimes, but what you say here is true. It's really not realistic to think like that, and it actually holds you back.
    Of course, occasionally people will not respond positively... it's important not to interpret that as a confirmation of your self-doubt. I know i have... but that isn't realistic either. It's just that even the most awesome person in the world can't be liked by everybody.

    It is hard...but it's good to know that there is help out there. I might have to look into that.
    It might be a good idea. Besides the fact that it helped me recognize and change my destructive thought patterns, one thing i really liked about group therapy was that the people there were quite supportive and open to any weaknesses other members had, which created a very safe atmosphere to start working on my social skills. Personally i was at a point where i really didn't know where to start, and this was infinitely easier than, say, going to a bar alone and trying to talk to random strangers. it can be a long and frustrating process though, but in my case, it was totally worth it.

    You've made me feel a lot better though It's always good to hear that you aren't the only one.
    I'm really glad to hear that
    ik sprokkel wat dagen, drop baggage,
    soms heb ik geen zin om die koffers te dragen,
    ik laat los, los het op, word onzichtbaar
    en geef de buitenlucht wat ruimte terug
    dus.. nu zit ik op m'n fiets alsof het niets is,
    maar niets kan toch niet uit zichzelf pedalen laten draaien?

    ~ Typhoon

  7. #7
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    get tipsy. not drunk, have a glass of wine before you go out or take a shot.
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

  8. #8
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Gromit is right on.

    Each person is an expert on something or is passionate about something. Find out what it is and show an interest in it. Look at each exchange as an opportunity to learn something you didn't know. Even negative people have something to teach us (even through their negativity) if we are looking for what it is.

    Shyness is actually a form of self-centredness, even though we don't usually face it. Our insecurities keep us focussed on ourselves, our interests and our needs. They magnify our mistakes. This doesn't leave enough room for us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes and think of what they would like to get out of the exchange. When we start focussing on other people, they will automatically respond more warmly to us, they are pleased to be given the opportunity to talk about what matters to them, and we learn to get out of our own heads and look outwards.

    Conversation is like a ping pong ball. A game is not fun when one person smashes all the balls at us without waiting for us to hit it back. It is also not fun if they catch all of the balls we hit their way and put them in their pockets. Good conversation usually involves responding to a person's comment or question in a supportive way, and then adding something that allows the other person to contribute something or opens up new avenues of conversation. It's kind of like putting down a word in Scrabble that opens up new opportunities on the board.

    At first, try to think of the most common conversational situations you will get into and script yourself with some possible things you could say, so that you do not feel put on the spot.
    - What could you say when someone asks how you are to validate their question and then put the focus on them?
    - What do you know about each person's interests or people that are important to themthat you could remember from the last conversation and allude to or ask about? This makes a person feel listened to and like they are valued by you.
    - What is an honest compliment you could give?
    - How would you accept a compliment appropriately?
    - How could you use body language and words to appropriately close off a conversation when you have to go?
    - How could you greet someone?
    - What are some facts about yourself that may be relevant to the conversation?
    - In a job interview, what are some of the most commonly asked questions? Have you thought ahead of time about how you could answer them?

    Mostly, insecure people display rejecting body language and sometimes even speech because they are not comfortable. Remember that other people are affected by this and it makes them feel badly. When you don't respond, they feel stupid for having spoken. When you seem uncomfortable, they are unsure of what to do to help you. If you don't look at them, they may assume that you dislike them or that there is a problem between you, rather than that you are shy. Try to focus on making your verbal and non-verbal messages match. Non-verbal messages account for 90% of the impression you leave, and yet they are open to misinterpretations. Therefore, your verbal message needs to reinforce it. When the verbal message and the non-verbal message are not the same, people mostly will believe your behaviour, rather than your words. Try to put yourself in their shoes and think of them being uncomfortable, rather than focussing on the negative messages in your head and the discomfort you are feeling. When you get a negative message popping into your head, be ready with some counter message to neutralize it. By replacing unconscious thoughts with a positive, conscious ones, you are giving yourself a new script and new thought patterns.

    Practice is essential to get better at any new skill. When we avoid doing something, it becomes blown out of proportion in our heads. Practicing it allows us to face it in a more realistic way and to improve. No one in the world is born a completely confident and at ease person. Some hide their insecurities in less obvious ways, but they are still there with everyone. It is not a matter of predestination, beyond your control of whether you happen to be a good communicator or not. Mostly we are afraid of the elements that we believe are out of our control. By thinking ahead and being proactive instead of reactive, you can predict what is going to happen much more easily. By practicing, you know much better what to expect and can more easily steer around conversational potholes in the road. Conversation and the art of making people feel at ease is a skill and one that is well worth developing. Everyone in the world is capable of becoming a good communicator.
    -

  9. #9
    Iron Maiden fidelia's Avatar
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    Gromit is right on.

    Each person is an expert on something or is passionate about something. Find out what it is and show an interest in it. Look at each exchange as an opportunity to learn something you didn't know. Even negative people have something to teach us (through their negativity) if we are looking for what it is. Something as simple as a taxi ride can be a great opportunity! You'll never even see the person again, and yet you walk away with knowledge you didn't have before!

    Shyness is actually a form of self-centredness, even though we don't usually face it. Our insecurities keep us focussed on ourselves, our interests and our needs. They magnify our mistakes. This doesn't leave enough room for us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes and think of what they would like to get out of the exchange. When we start focussing on other people, they will automatically respond more warmly to us, they are pleased to be given the opportunity to talk about what matters to them, and we learn to get out of our own heads and look outwards.

    Mostly, insecure people display rejecting body language and sometimes even speech because they are not comfortable. Remember that other people are affected by this and it makes them feel badly. When you don't respond, they feel stupid for having spoken. When you seem uncomfortable, they are unsure of what to do to help you. If you don't look at them, they may assume that you dislike them or that there is a problem between you, rather than that you are shy.

    Try to focus on making your verbal and non-verbal messages match. Non-verbal messages account for 90% of the impression you leave, and yet they are open to misinterpretations. Therefore, your verbal message needs to reinforce it.

    When the verbal message and the non-verbal message are not the same, people mostly will believe your behaviour, rather than your words. Try to put yourself in their shoes and think of them being uncomfortable, rather than focussing on the negative messages in your head and the discomfort you are feeling. When you get a negative message popping into your head, be ready with some counter message to neutralize it. By replacing unconscious thoughts with a positive, conscious ones, you are giving yourself a new script and new thought patterns.

    Practice is essential to get better at any new skill. When we avoid doing something, it becomes blown out of proportion in our heads. Practicing it allows us to face it in a more realistic way and to improve. No one in the world is born a completely confident and at ease person. Some hide their insecurities in less obvious ways, but they are still there with everyone. It is not a matter of predestination, beyond your control of whether you happen to be a good communicator or not.

    Mostly we are afraid of the elements that we believe are out of our control. By thinking ahead and being proactive instead of reactive, you can predict what is going to happen much more easily. Through practice, you know much better what to expect and can more easily steer around conversational potholes in the road. Conversation and the art of making people feel at ease is a skill and one that is well worth developing. Everyone in the world is capable of becoming a good communicator.

    Conversation is like a ping pong ball. A game is not fun when one person smashes all the balls at us without waiting for us to hit it back. It is also not fun if they catch all of the balls we hit their way and put them in their pockets. Good conversation usually involves responding to a person's comment or question in a supportive way, and then adding something that allows the other person to contribute something or opens up new avenues of conversation. It's kind of like putting down a word in Scrabble that opens up new opportunities on the board.

    At first, try to think of the most common conversational situations you will get into and script yourself with some possible things you could say, so that you do not feel put on the spot.
    - What could you say when someone asks how you are to validate their question and then put the focus on them?
    - What do you know about each person's interests or people that are important to themthat you could remember from the last conversation and allude to or ask about? This makes a person feel listened to and like they are valued by you.
    - What is an honest compliment you could give?
    - How would you accept a compliment appropriately?
    - How could you use body language and words to appropriately close off a conversation when you have to go?
    - How could you greet someone?
    - What are some facts about yourself that may be relevant to the conversation?
    - In a job interview, what are some of the most commonly asked questions? Have you thought ahead of time about how you could answer them?
    - What are three situation appropriate questions that you could ask almost anyone to start or carry a conversation?

    Learning a new skill happens with four steps:
    1) Watching someone do it.
    There are some wonderful books written on the topic of becoming more comfortable conversing. Check out your local bookstore. Also think about the people whose company you enjoy. What qualities make them well-liked? Watch some people whom you think are good communicators and see what they do.

    2) Doing it with help.
    Admit that you need help to someone else and have them practice with you and give you ideas. Set up some simple social situations (like an exchange with a clerk in a store, asking directions, getting information etc) and bring that person along for moral support. If things get awkward, they can jump in. Start easy enough that it is impossible to fail and then build from there.

    3) Doing it alone.
    Same thing, but without bringing someone along. Also, try going to a social event with someone, but split off from them for small amounts of time to have a short conversation. Increase the length of time or number of conversations as you gain confidence.

    4) Teaching someone else how to do it.
    Look for someone like a child or someone new to the country who may need your moral support or scripting as they learn to communicate. As you think about how to teach it, it will make it easier for you to do yourself and you can become more and more advanced. You should always be trying to get to the skill level of someone more advanced than you, while training someone less advanced than you what you know.

    Remember that the more you avoid something, the more formidable it becomes in your mind. Facing it head on shrinks it back down to its actual size and also makes you more resilient when you do mess up.

    You have something important to offer. Do not allow your shyness to deprive other people of the warmth and interest you can give them, and the good you can do in the world! When you start looking outward, you begin to see just how good you actually have it and that there are always other people at different points along the road of communication.

  10. #10
    Member October Rust's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cephalonimbus View Post
    Yeaaah that's the spirit
    I have to remind myself of his too sometimes, but what you say here is true. It's really not realistic to think like that, and it actually holds you back.
    Of course, occasionally people will not respond positively... it's important not to interpret that as a confirmation of your self-doubt. I know i have... but that isn't realistic either. It's just that even the most awesome person in the world can't be liked by everybody.
    Yeah, I think I just have to try and remember that people that are mean to you aren't worth your time. Some seem to play on your weaknesses, but occasionally there are some people who I think can recognize my shyness, and they're really patient with me and try to bring me out of my shell a bit. It's really nice

    It might be a good idea. Besides the fact that it helped me recognize and change my destructive thought patterns, one thing i really liked about group therapy was that the people there were quite supportive and open to any weaknesses other members had, which created a very safe atmosphere to start working on my social skills. Personally i was at a point where i really didn't know where to start, and this was infinitely easier than, say, going to a bar alone and trying to talk to random strangers. it can be a long and frustrating process though, but in my case, it was totally worth it.
    I'm seeing a counselor now, but I don't think that she really knows how much of a problem I have communicating with most people. In situations like that I can pass myself off as being a decent conversationalist, but if someone comes up to me and starts talking to me out of the blue, I get really nervous. I'll ask about it next time I'm there. It would be great if they are as supportive for me as they were for you

    I'm really glad to hear that
    Awesome
    INFJ, 4w5
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    RLOEI, Chaotic Neutral, Melancholy / Phlegmatic
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