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Thread: Scared in a group

  1. #1

    Scared in a group

    Hi, am pretty new to this site and have read alot of the posts in the Social Anxiety section, think I may have suffered for this for years! Have recently been suffering with health anxiety but after browsing through this site think i may have social anxiety aswell.......

    I was picked on for a while at school, not what I would call bullying but just found out my 'friends' used to say how unattractive I was behind my back, I'm quite a sensitive person so this hurt alot as it would anyone, anyway when i was in my first serious relationship at 15 my 'lovely' boyfriend occasionally also used to tell my how his mates used to take the piss out of him for being with the ugly bird, looking back can't believe I stayed with him till I was 19, anyway I stayed round his house for tea alot and noticed that I could never say a word when all his family and me were eating tea, the thought of speaking terrified me, so much so that I never did come out of myself and actually initiate a conversation when me and his family were having tea, just stayed quiet and didn't say a thing, he told me his Mum thought I didn't like her, quite the opposite, I thought his family were lovely.

    Now here I am 27 years old living with my boyfriend of 6 years and guess what, when I go round his Mums for tea and everyones there I sit there and don't say a word, I am scared to say a thing! They must think I'm so rude but maybe they are used to it now...

    Thinking about it if I'm in a group at work I won't say anything. Our xmas do year before last I still couldn't say anything, am just the quiet one. There used to be 4 of us on our pod at work, don't think I ever joined in a conversation, to scared but when two of them left I was fine, am absolutely fine one on one, could talk for ages! Don't like being on the phone at work if the Office is quiet and everyone can hear me, I get embarrased.

    Would love to know anyones thoughts and or similar experiences on this and if they've managed to overcome this, I would love to speak in a group of people, I think this has really stopped me meeting people as seem to have lost alot of friends aswell.

    Thanks for letting me ramble!!

    Phoebs xx

  2. #2
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    Re: Scared in a group

    Hi Phoebe, You are definately not alone in this, i would say the majority of anxious people do not like to be in group situations, and i know in my case it comes from having heightened senses. When i am in a group and lots of people are chatting and it is noisey, i find it really distracting and start to worry that i am going to miss what someone is saying and that they will think i am rude for not answering so i tend not to talk to anyone. I am also terrified of saying something stupid and everyone hearing. I was also treated at school exactly the way you were, and i would definately class it as bullying, i was never hit, but verbal bullying is not taking so seriously so the teachers couldn't understand why it bothered me so much. But it does eat away at your confidence and self esteem and i still feel today that people are only nice to me to my face but they don't really like me. It is a hard one to get over if you are not naturally confident, and my husband always tells me "i couldn't care less if people like me or not it says more about them than it does you" I have tried to teach my daughters to be nice to everyone, and am always encouraging them to befriend the new or not so popular kids as i think how you are treated at school has a big impact on how you are treated in later life. I know i just need to get a thicker skin. Also i avoid talking to people on the phone and don't answer it in the day unless it is a pre- arranged call, i don't know what it is i just get really nervous and can't get my words out and feel trapped as i can't just end the conversation without seeming rude, sounds stupid as most people who do phone are strangers that i am never likely to meet anyway !! Good luck with the socializing.

    Jacq x
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  3. #3
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    Re: Scared in a group

    I have never ever been any good in a group situation. I never know what to say. I personally put it down as being an only child in a very quiet non sociable family – so I never really got the chance to learn how to interact within a group setting.

  4. #4
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    Re: Scared in a group

    I struggle with this and I used to have to do presentations in public which was a horror for me... I found if I could block out the majority of people and only focus on one person (I'd pick someone who was interested and not having a quick snooze) I would then pretend I was just talking to them. Like you I can do it one to one - just not to groups of people.

    I know it is a slightly different situation but I still use that technique if at a meal or family event - I will cut out the others in my head and focus on the person sat next to me and talk to them. I even admit I am shy and find it hard in such situations and never had a n negative response. Perhaps if you just make conversation with the person next to you. Or go in the kitchen when only the person who is doing the cooking is in there and say to them " sorry if I seem rude - I am not, just incredibly shy". Nothing bad will happen to you if you do that and they'll understand. I should think after 6 yrs they have probably sussed you aren't rude !

  5. #5
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    Re: Scared in a group

    Hey phoebe.

    From what u hav said I think u certainly have some degree of social anxiety. Everyone feels a bit awkward when meeting a bf/gf's parents, but the fact you feel you can't say anything means there definately is something you need to address. Like you I suffer from the same thing, well that is part of my SA. In groups of people I don't know I clam up too. The thing I have learnt though is that by staying quiet and not risking saying anything for fear of making a fool of yourself you let the fear stay alive. the only real way to remove the fear is to try and enter the conversations, however small your contribution is. Slowly you will grow in confidence and realise that you are actually quite capable making conversations in groups. As you point out, the mother of one of ur bf's actually thought u didnt like her. Part of our problem as SA sufferers is that we tend to put words (negative thoughts about ourselves) in other peoples mouths and take them as fact, when actually they think no such thing. Just know you arent alone at all and you can get over your fears if you like the rest of us learn to face them (gradually) - I know, easier said than done lol. All the best anyway.

  6. #6
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    Re: Scared in a group

    Hi Phoebe, I think you have social anxiety too and I think this tends to be brought on by low self esteem.

    I tend to be ok in groups but one on one is tricky for me. I am trying to face my fears head on and have been asking friends if they'd like to go for a drink, one on one.

    I'm always worried I will say something wrong, and am very conscious that as I sit there talking, or as they are talking to me, I think they are thinking that they wish they werent there. I assume they dont actually want to talk to me.

    Have you thought of maybe a few questions you could ask as you eat dinner with your b/f's family? Or something you did that you could tell them about maybe?

    I tend to think of a few questions in advance just so I have something to say in case there is silence. Serves as a good back up
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  7. #7
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    Re: Scared in a group

    Hi, Phoebe
    I know exactly how you feel it can be really hard sometimes.
    I also find that I can talk for ages in a one to one situation but otherwise I clam up I seem to freeze. Then my head is whizzing with thoughts like everyone will think I'm rude, boring, miserable or strange or all these and more!

    I have a family party at the end of this month that I am really dreading but I have to go.

    I am having CBT at the moment and I'm finding it helpful. The breathing exercises and relaxation tape helps, but also that you have to keep trying -avoiding situations and people who make you feel anxious is the worse thing you can do. On my CBT sessions they say start off with easier situations take baby steps and then practice, practice and practice some more its the only way to get better. I'm also going to try a herbal thing called 5htp which is supposed to help.

    Would it be possible for you and your bf to visit his mum when it will only be the three of you, so that you could build up abit of a friendship with her, and as someone else has suggested mention to her that you feel shy in groups of people.
    Hope this helps. Take care Anna x

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