I am very introverted. I get panicky trying to maintain a conversation. It always becomes awkward. What can I do?
Last Updated: 02/13/2018 at 7:53am
Jessica McDaniel, LPC, LCPC
Licensed Professional Counselor
I have been practicing cognitive behavioral psychotherapy since 2007 with a diverse group of adult clients with various diagnoses, all races, and socioeconomic classes.
Top Rated Answers
Social skills come with practice. Put yourself out there, but be gentle on yourself all the while as well. Don't compare yourself with others, because they have different life experiences that make socialization different for them. Don't dwell on past social mistakes. Move on from them. Learn from them is good too, but don't dwell on them too much. Learning from what you've done right is just as good as learning from mistakes. Remember only conversations that go well.
I am a fairly shy, introverted person myself. When I find myself feeling any anxiety or panic in a social situation, I try and keep the other person talking. I ask them questions. This works especially well if your conversation partner is fairly outgoing. It also works as a distraction from my own anxiety. I have to actively listen to the other person in order to ask questions and keep conversation going, rather than concentrating on my own discomfort. This also takes off any pressure I might feel to have to say something witty, funny, or intelligent. Questions are usually fairly neutral.
I can relate to you. I really can. I'm an introvert (INFP) and I can't really handle small talk well. When it comes to maintaining a conversation, it gets really awkward and I tend to sweat. But that's okay! What you can do is; you can try starting up conversations with your closest friends or with your siblings. Like practice speaking in front of a mirror so that you know what feels awkward to the other person and what feels just about right. I hope this helps! :)
Constantly have something that you are used to on you. You can always chew the same gum, or wear the same clothes (I have a jacket), or carry the same item/jewelry. This will become your security item, if you start to feel nervous, remember that you have that.
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