Why does our society have to be so focused on small talk? It’s this “small talk” business that is, in some sense, destroying me. I never know what to say to people. I always scramble for topics to talk about, but eventually always run out. I am so uncomfortable with silence, or conversational lulls, and also with eye contact, in or out of a conversation. It’s weird because I will be very open and social with certain people, and then with some people I close up and have no control over it. I try to control this “closing up” but I can’t! I never speak in class, I always keep to myself while the entire class socializes. I just can’t socialize because I am scared of eye contact, and not knowing what to say. One particular time I had to read an essay of mine out to the class, the teacher asked me this out of the blue, and there was nothing I could do to get out of it. I read it so badly, my voice was shaking, I was shaking, I kept skipping words and my intonation was all wrong. I would doubt it if any of the class even understood half of what I said. What’s more, I have a math requirement class to take, and I am very bad at math, even the very simple basic things. Every time I have enrolled in a math class, I have ended up withdrawing. The problem with math class, unlike most other classes, is that you have to participate, and that is very hard for me, not only because I am very slow with numbers and freeze up when asked a math question, but also because I am so shy and scared of humiliation.
I am a senior in college and I am currently doing an internship in an entertainment company. This experience is supposed to help me, but I am afraid that it is hurting me more, because of the way I close up and act around all of these important, and not-so-important, people. There are times when my voice is so quiet, that people ask me to repeat myself five times, and look at me as though I am weird. But I just can’t get my voice loud enough. The one tie I actually spoke up at this internship was when I was asked an opinion by an exec. I was so happy to be asked an opinion, but messed it all up. I tried to not be shy, but I tried too hard. I came across as being too aggressive for such an insignificant project to them, that I ended up being laughed at. I’ve stopped going as much as I used to, but I’m afraid I’ve run out of excuses to give them, and now I not only seem anti-social and weird to these highly judgmental people, but also irresponsible. I am going to start attending a support group. I went to see a therapist once for an initial consultation but when she told me her price I couldn’t continue, unfortunately.
Well, that felt good, getting everything off my chest. Please, anyone! give me some feedback and advice. I am about to start reading the book “Overcoming shyness and social anxiety: a step by step guide” Rapee. Can anyone tell me if they know if this book can actually help? One thing I find which helps very much, and this can help anyone shy or not: keeping a journal, or writing songs/poetry, random thoughts/feelings, singing. Writing can especially help if you have no one you know to listen to you or understand you. Being your own best friend, and your own therapist can help. One quote I will always remember is from a Whitney Houston song: In life “no one is ever completely on your side”. Be your own best friend, talk to yourself, love yourself, nurture yourself, and try especially hard to say nice things to yourself!