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  • Social anxiety?

    I suspect someone I know has social anxiety because he rarely if ever initiates conversations and avoids social situations like the plague; however, I'm not 100% sure. I don't like initiating conversations or social situations in general either, but I can usually do those things without much difficulty if I had to. So he could just be a moody git like me.

    I'm quite a newbie when it comes to social anxiety, so I'm just wondering if anyone here at AN has experience of this - e.g. maybe you have social anxiety or know someone who has it? Are there any tell-tale signs and how do you interact with someone who has social anxiety? What does a person with social anxiety go through everyday?

    P. S. Sorry for making the same thread twice - I had intended this to be in the General Off-Topic Discussion sub-forum because I don't think it's going to spark wild acrimonious debates. Could a mod please delete the duplicate thread in SDAD? Many thanks in advance.

  • #2
    I was wondering about that... the SD&D topic has been removed.
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    • #3
      I have pretty severe social anxiety to the point where sometimes I can't leave my house, I mean 90% of the time it isn't that bad but it can be very crippling at times, I really can't handle it when people just walk up to me and start a conversation, and sometimes when I'm talking to people I lose any ability to coherently say anything

      As for how to interact with someone else that has it, I couldn't help, sorry...

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      • #4
        I have had off and on issues with social anxieties for most of my life. I have gotten much better about it over the years but it can be really easy for it to come back. When I had my accident a few years ago it was traumatic enough that I was petrified of being out and among lots of people for a really long time. I imagine for many people something like that is true though if you ever experience a traumatic experience or something bad happens to you. I have heard many times that people who are victims of violent crime or have to go through a very bad situation have a hard trouble readjusting and reestablishing a comfortable trust to go back out and be around people again.

        I have a good friend who had to deal with an online stalker that really got to her. This guy would say he knew where she was and where she worked, he would threaten to show up at her house, try to contact her friends, etc. All of this because she is a female in a predominantly male collector community and because she had the guts to call him out on his regular trolling. However once she did show that the typical level trolling wasn't working he took it up a notch and that is when it got really bad with him. This all happened 3-4 years ago but she had to drop out of that online community because nobody would help her, got rid of the social media accounts, and it took months before she would even go out and have fun again since she would nearly have panic attacks due to this.
        "Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill... (Scientology is) the world's largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Nutmeg View Post
          I was wondering about that... the SD&D topic has been removed.
          Thanks Nutmeg! Just "Liked" your post - first time for everything...

          Originally posted by superplough
          I have pretty severe social anxiety to the point where sometimes I can't leave my house, I mean 90% of the time it isn't that bad but it can be very crippling at times, I really can't handle it when people just walk up to me and start a conversation, and sometimes when I'm talking to people I lose any ability to coherently say anything
          Interesting; so would you say it's a bad idea to just try and strike up a conversation with somebody who has social anxiety? Would you appreciate someone trying to engage with you or would you resent them trying to change the rules of engagement that you're comfortable with? I guess an issue here for me is whether society anxiety means you want to have a conversation but cannot, or whether you actually don't want a conversation at all.

          The thing is though, from the perspective of someone trying to interact with somebody that has social anxiety, not trying to engage appears like ignoring that person, which might make things worse. But trying to engage might make things worse too. So what is one supposed to do? Just pick one and hope for the best??

          Originally posted by Sazae
          I have had off and on issues with social anxieties for most of my life. I have gotten much better about it over the years but it can be really easy for it to come back. When I had my accident a few years ago it was traumatic enough that I was petrified of being out and among lots of people for a really long time. I imagine for many people something like that is true though if you ever experience a traumatic experience or something bad happens to you. I have heard many times that people who are victims of violent crime or have to go through a very bad situation have a hard trouble readjusting and reestablishing a comfortable trust to go back out and be around people again.
          Sorry to hear about your accident and your friend's stalker problems, but good to hear your perspective on social anxiety. So do you mean that your level of social anxiety fluctuates depending on personal circumstances? i.e. the same situation may elicit different levels of anxiety depending on the particular frame of mind that you are in, over which you have some measure of control at least. I would like to ask though about why specifically you were petrified of other people. Did you feel that if you met and got to know somebody, they would eventually just betray your trust? Or is it something else?


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          • #6
            Originally posted by radiator123 View Post
            Interesting; so would you say it's a bad idea to just try and strike up a conversation with somebody who has social anxiety? Would you appreciate someone trying to engage with you or would you resent them trying to change the rules of engagement that you're comfortable with? I guess an issue here for me is whether society anxiety means you want to have a conversation but cannot, or whether you actually don't want a conversation at all.

            The thing is though, from the perspective of someone trying to interact with somebody that has social anxiety, not trying to engage appears like ignoring that person, which might make things worse. But trying to engage might make things worse too. So what is one supposed to do? Just pick one and hope for the best??
            This is pretty hard to answer for me lol because a lot of the time I do want to talk to people but there are times when even saying hello to me can cause panic attacks so I don't really know what I want *shrug* For example I was having a terrible day yesterday and people started trying to sing happy birthday to me... I literally ran away and hid lol even though I appreciate them being nice for me

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            • #7
              The thing is though, from the perspective of someone trying to interact with somebody that has social anxiety, not trying to engage appears like ignoring that person, which might make things worse. But trying to engage might make things worse too. So what is one supposed to do? Just pick one and hope for the best??

              I've had my fair share of anxiety, though nowhere near the level of others on here, (unless one counts being shy and reserved) but I find just saying hi or nodding a hello helps?
              Avatar: Izuminokami Kanesada

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              • #8
                I have social anxiety. Being around people just drains me. Crowds make me really nervous. I hate parties and get togethers. I don't like going out. I don't hate people, but I'm more comfortable when I'm alone. I have to work and deal with people, but by the end of the day I'm spent. I'd much prefer to be at home reading a book. If someone talks to me I won't refuse them. I'm actually nice though not that friendly, so approaching a person with social anxiety isn't necessarily something bad. It depends on their personality.

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                • #9
                  I have social anxiety a little bit. It's not as bad as it was when I was younger, like in high school. Just someone saying "hello" to me in the hallways made me a nervous wreck. I could hardly respond back. And I hated when someone tried to strike up conversation with me. Eventually they stopped and I was a loner. Which is funny, because as small child I was actually pretty outgoing.

                  As I reached my earlier 20's I started to come out of it (I am 29 now). I got on some medications for depression and anxiety and I think those really help. I don't mind going to crowded places like the grocery store or festivals. But going to a party where I am expected to talk to people makes me a wreck and I withdraw to myself. A lot of people can see my nervousness on my face as I am either frowning unintentionally or my smile looks crooked or fake. I usually head straight to the booze to get some liquid courage at these parties.

                  I also agree that sometimes a trauma can make you less inclined to talk. Some of you know my brother was a victim of a violent crime. Before the event he was shy but very social. Now he is withdrawn and gets overwhelmed and wants to leave a crowd of even his closest friends more often than he normally would. I worry about him more than I do myself (which I am severely depressed....probably partially because I am so worried about him). :/
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by superplough View Post
                    For example I was having a terrible day yesterday and people started trying to sing happy birthday to me... I literally ran away and hid lol even though I appreciate them being nice for me
                    I see, so the efforts of others trying to be nice do not go unnoticed; this concurs with what I know of this guy I suspect of having social anxiety (or even pstd). Incidentally, I would also probably try to run away if people started singing happy birthday to me - can't stand that kind of attention.

                    Originally posted by goddessofanime
                    but I find just saying hi or nodding a hello helps?
                    That sounds like a safe strategy. Maybe that could eventually draw a conversation once in a while.

                    Originally posted by dalmain
                    I have social anxiety. Being around people just drains me. Crowds make me really nervous. I hate parties and get togethers. I don't like going out. I don't hate people, but I'm more comfortable when I'm alone. I have to work and deal with people, but by the end of the day I'm spent. I'd much prefer to be at home reading a book. If someone talks to me I won't refuse them. I'm actually nice though not that friendly, so approaching a person with social anxiety isn't necessarily something bad. It depends on their personality.
                    Interesting... I can identify with a lot of things you said there, except that being around people doesn't necessarily drain me (depends on who the people are, the setting and what mood I'm in), crowds don't really make me nervous anymore, and I'm a bit of a misanthrope at times. You say you're friendly and would talk to people, but would you try to initiate contact with other people, like saying hi or something? And would you give short answers to anyone asking you something?

                    Originally posted by Dazzlekitty
                    But going to a party where I am expected to talk to people makes me a wreck and I withdraw to myself. A lot of people can see my nervousness on my face as I am either frowning unintentionally or my smile looks crooked or fake. I usually head straight to the booze to get some liquid courage at these parties.
                    Is there any aspect of talking to others at parties that you're particularly averse to, such as being afraid of not having anything to say and getting judged? Just curious. For me, I don't generally like talking to others at parties because it's hard to get into a reasonably deep and/or insightful conversation with trashy music pumping into my head and people yapping away all around. But that's just my experience.

                    Sorry to hear about your brother's change of personality, but hope he approaches his older self with time.




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                    • #11
                      It isn't always anxiety, some people just aren't people persons. And that's okay.
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                      • #12
                        My mother has agorophobia and extreme social anxiety from a sexual assault she had suffered. It ruined her life.

                        The key to intdractions with her is doing it in places or around people that make her feel safe. She was actually first able to leave the house alone by use of a big guide dog.

                        Your friend might not be as bad, but the philosophy can apply, engage when they are in a relaxed environ where they are comfortable and in control.

                        Maybe even online, in a game etc. Id also do it incrementally, hello the first time, how you doing the second ask them a question the third etc.

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