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advice for the socially awkward

screen2011screen2011 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
edited December 2011 in Parent Cafe

Anyone have time to read my dilemma? Please help!

Coz you see, my problem is that most of my social interaction are very awkward, and some are really negative. I easily run out of words to say, and I cannot seem to express my opinion very well. I'm beginning to think that some people who had mistreated me in the past were right -- there is something wrong with my intelligence level . Funny thing is I graduated in college with an average GPA through handwork. I don't really struggle at school. I am not the brightest, but I am okay enough that I pass my coursework.

Now, my boss... He doesn't like me. I am the most quiet, extremely shy employee around, and I do my job and leave. I do not really socialize, and I tend to sit in my cubicle all day, except for breaks and lunches. Yesterday, I heard him talk about thinking of firing someone because that person act like a"mindless drone" and that is not good for the office environment. He wants more upbeat people.

I do not know if that's enough reason to fire me, but I am scared...

I had a temp job before and I wasn't offered full-time position because of the same thing.

It keeps happening to me. I try to be a different person. I cannot keep up with that kind of facade. It's tiring, it makes me feel sick .

Am I a hopeless case?
Post edited by screen2011 on

Replies to: advice for the socially awkward

  • mamitamamita Registered User Posts: 234 Junior Member
    You may have to train yourself to "act." When you are at work, you are in a role. Some suggestions, if you are open to them, are signing up for a community improv class or, less daunting, join a "toastmasters" group or something of that kind. Toastmasters, if you are not familiar with them, is a public speaking organization. Just regular people, learning leadership and confidence in speaking up about topics, some preassigned and others spur-of-the-moment. I think there are people who are born schmoozers and skilled small-talkers; others of us find small talk boring and annoying at times, but need to learn how to do it. In this society, having a social, upbeat personality is a plus. But, even if you don't naturally have this, you can learn to act enough to pass in a typical work environment. There are other cultures in which hard work and training trump connections and sociability. But, in the U.S. these are the unspoken rules... Wishing you the best.
  • HImomHImom Registered User Posts: 29,517 Senior Member
    Just a affirmation on Toastmasters. My sister, BIL & now niece have all joined Toastmasters and all seem to enjoy it immensely. There are branches connected with some firms and many throughout most states. It has helped my sister & niece greatly with their shyness and conversations.
  • bookwormbookworm Registered User Posts: 7,689 Senior Member
    Therapy is extremely effective for social anxiety, often combined with meds. I know a young man who spent 4+ years at his job, not speaking at meetings, joining others for lunch, or voicing his opinions about projects. Within a few months, he relaxed and found his voice. Among other things, his dating life improved.
  • WirefoxWirefox Registered User Posts: 194 Junior Member
    Totally agree with Bookworm. This sounds very much like fairly severe social anxiety. You can be helped but finding a good therapist who knows and understands would be a great place to start. And yes, medications might be in order. It wouldn't be a quick fix and you may never be the gregarious, life of the party type, but you can certainly get more comfortable around others. That alone is worth the effort of getting help for yourself.
  • MomLiveMomLive Registered User Posts: 2,370 Senior Member
    I agree with bookworm and wirefox. I would add that you need to find a way to connect with others. It's actually pretty easy (I speak from experience as I am shy and introverted but have gotten less so as I have aged):

    -Most people love, love, love to talk about themselves. Ask your coworkers questions about their life outside the office. Do you have kids? How old are they? A pet? Where do you live? Get to know these things about the people around you and you always have something to discuss. Learn the names of their kids, spouse, pets, etc. Showing interest in others goes a long way socially.

    -Pay attention to what others around you are talking about. Frequently it's popular TV shows, movies, sports or current events. Easy enough to watch a few episodes and join in on the conversation.

    -Do you have hobbies or interests? Bring those into the office by displaying items on your desk or talking about them. In my office, one of my co-workers has 5 dogs and likes to help place rescue dogs. Everyone knows that's her 'thing'. My 'thing' is I'm usually up-to-date on the US and world economy and other financial matters. Someone else is into ballroom dancing. Sharing innocuous information about yourself helps others relate to you. Bring in a picture of your pet or a picture taken when you went hiking last week. People will definitely ask you about it.

    -Smile, a lot. People are more approachable when they smile.

    -Offer to do stuff for people. Help them with a report. Bring them a cup of coffee.

    -Make a list of possible topics and keep it in your desk drawer. While it seems trite, even commenting about the weather is a a way for people to connect.

    A lot of social anxiety comes from the fear of being judged and rejected. David Burns has a good book called "Feeling Good'. I believe it is in that book he talks about getting over his fear of asking women out but spending an afternoon going up to women who were complete strangers and asking them out. He did this 100 times. Of course, he was rejected 99 out of the 100 times but getting that exposure to rejection and realizing he wasn't going to die from it made him no longer fearful of asking women out. You get the drift. By avoiding that which scares you, you make matters worse. You simply have to confront your fears and plunge ahead. It does get better. A good therapist can help you develop the needed skills.
  • limabeanslimabeans Registered User Posts: 4,751 Senior Member
    OP, you may also want to consider a different place to work. It doesn't sound as if you have many opportunities or reasons to speak with others. That said, I wonder if those opportunties don't come to you, do you ever go looking for them? Do you ever start a conversation or instead, do you only respond when spoken to? It may not be something you like to do, or feel comfort doing, but you have to make a point to leave your place of comfort (your cubicle) and relate to others. It's not easy, but over time, it gets easier. If feeling like you run out of things to say, only plan to say a little and then have an excuse to leave. Good for you: you made the first step by being self-aware.
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