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Sociability

In which we don’t talk to strangers


I am my own worst enemy.

I’ve never been good at socialising, and I’ve never been good at meeting new people. This means that when I’m in a crowded place, with few people I know, lots that I don’t, I panic. I shut down. I sit in a corner on my own, feeling awful, assuming that everybody else there knows everybody else, that I’m the only lonely person there, that I may as well just go home because noone else would want to talk to me anyway. No doubt this is all nonsense, but it’s what I convince myself.

I should learn that none of it is true, that I could go up to strangers and talk to them, if I wanted. Because once I do start having conversations, interacting, doing stuff, I end up having a wonderful time. The only problem is that I’m rarely able to make that first step for myself. That’s what I need to learn to be able to do.

Keyword noise: , , , , , , , , ,

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10 comments on “Sociability”

  1. Clair says:

    I know that feeling very well. Sucks doesn’t it?

  2. Clair says:

    (Not the most intellectual of comments, but you know what I mean)

  3. Forest Pines says:

    Yes, exactly.

    The worst part is that I know things would be much, much better if I wasn’t like that.

  4. Vaughan says:

    I’d love to agree vociferously, really I would, but I’m scared of socialising in this comments field.

    [And, er, yes, terrible comment, but I couldn’t think of another way to agree more]

  5. vee says:

    yeah, sometimes it is hard though.
    And the thing is once you’ve done it once or twice (overstepped your shyness) it starts happening by itself.

  6. Forest Pines says:

    Vaughan: that reminds me of a conversation I had on Saturday night, which was the night out that inspired me to write this post. Someone who I didn’t know did try to talk to me and ask if I was OK, if I was a bit scared, or anything.

    “This place is great!” I said, “and it’s entirely my own fault, because I don’t know anyone and can’t talk to people I don’t know.” “You’re talking to *me*, aren’t you?” she replied.

    Vee: when I was planning this post in my head, I was intending to put a Smiths quote in to keep you happy. But then I forgot.

  7. vee says:

    hmmmm.
    I’ll take my revenge for you forgetting later.

  8. Gert says:

    Most people feel the same way. Just because they appear to be social butterflies doesn’t mean they are. It’s like they say lots of actors are painfully shy.

    Besides, unless you’re the Queen or someone, you don’t have to work the whole room. As the person who spoke to you sort of said, you only have to speak to *one* person.

  9. kate says:

    I’ve never really been *shy* per se, but I’ve suffered from awful, horrible social phobias since, well… since moving to the US at the age of 9. (OK, this could start up a whole conversation about the difference between shyness and social phobia, but still.)

    The way that I got over it, or got around it, rather, was that I invented this whole alternate personna who would be *fabulous* and chatty and bold and had no fear. And when I’d go out, at first, I’d be playing that role, then it became more natural.

  10. Forest Pines says:

    That’s maybe a good plan. I sometimes feel as if I *am* putting on a false persona when I’m talking to strangers – I put on this really open and chatty front to hide the real me away; I’d not thought of doing it deliberately.

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