I am afraid to socialize. How do I overcome this?
Last Updated: 09/08/2020 at 10:51pm
Brittany Kelley, MSW, LCSW
Clinical Social Work/Therapist
I am a psychodynamically trained clinical social worker. I find assisting women and families through difficult times an extremely rewarding and collaborative process.
Top Rated Answers
Sometimes you may define yourself as an introvert. Not keen on a very stimulating environment where you have to engage everybody around you. It seems like too much work and kind of scary sometimes! The reality is this: just like a muscle, you can train your social skills! An born introvert CAN become a full blown extrovert! You may think you are too overly conscientious.. but that is your strength! Take the time to research some techniques and skills online! Start small! But also take the time to appreciate the deeper relationships you may already have! Existing friend cliques are often difficult to connect with, but a very powerful tool is to build new connections with your mutual friends! You don't have to go talk to strangers. Set realistic and achievable goals in the realm of socialization! Be yourself!
A fear of socializing is normal. Socializing can be very challenging. Try and figure out what is making you not socialize. What is happening or has happened to you before that makes socializing difficult. If you should start anywhere this is where. Identifying the problem is key to improving your fear of socialization. Once you work on the problem socializing might seem easier to do. Every day try and be conscious of wha it’s keeping you from socializing. Work through the fear to eliminate it. One day soon, a fear of socialization will be a thing of the past.
I used to have selective mutism which means I am completely mute with people and only talk to people I feel comfortable with. However, breaking out of it took a long time and in slow steps. Having a resolve and determination to break out of something you fear takes a lot of strength and courage. Yes, it can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. For starters, you can smile and acknowledge others with a nod or hand wave. You can do it when someone looks at you, just smile and nod, acknowledge their presence. They may feel appreciated. When the opportunity is there, take it. Who knows? They may talk to you soon enough. Next, if you haven't yet, you can join a club or group that share the same interest as you so it's easier to have a conversation with something both parties like. Also, you can practice to ask questions that can help to extend the conversation with someone. I know how awkward it can be when you talk then the conversation just suddenly died. Even so, continue with another question about the person so it shows that you are interested in knowing the person. Lastly, the more you talk to different people, you will find it easy to start and continue a conversation.
Many people are afraid to socialize, including the popular people, but they just make it seems like they are pro at it. To overcome this, taking time to practise and preparing beforehand can really help. For example, if you are attending a date with your boyfriend or girlfriend tomorrow, you could prepare some conversations before the event, like, what kind of pets do you have, do you have any siblings, etc. Practising in front of a mirror or with a friend can also help to improve your communication and overcome your fear. Overcoming socializing can take some time, so be patient.
I've been in your situation before - what I did was take small steps in the beginning, and gradually make them bigger. I started off by just smiling at other people more and giving longer answers to their questions, and transitioned into just asking many questions, inviting them to join me for a fun activity, etc. After doing this for a while, everything came naturally; I was able to make conversation rather comfortably. While I still don't like to socialize very much, I'm not really afraid to do it more. I suggest you try taking small steps at a time, like I said. Sometimes, just 'jumping in' to talk or hang out with someone when you're afraid to can make you feel self conscious, further increasing a fear of socialization.
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