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Topic: can't let my guard down in social interactions

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. 44Max44
    44Max44 avatar
    168 posts
    22 November 2021

    For as long as I can remember I've always 'had my guard up' during social interactions. I'm super careful about what I say and am always overthinking stuff. It's gotten to a point where I just don't talk to people because I don't want to make myself look bad or potentially offend them. I've been at a new job for something like 4 months now and I haven't had a real conversation with anybody there even though I think they're all great people. There's a girl there I want to get to know but every time I get to interact with her I can't bring myself to have any meaningful conversation with her, just the same "thank you, bye" stuff over and over. It's really eating away at me not being able to form relationships with people. Even one of my best friends that I've known for most of my life I barely talk to anymore. Even family members I barely talk to, my own parents and siblings I can barely hold a conversation with. Just being able to tell them that I love them is a huge feat for me and it rarely happens.

    I'm sick of overthinking everything. It's like there's a filter in my brain and I only 1% of the stuff I want to say actually gets through that filter and out of my mouth. I'm very soft-spoken, I only talk to people when they talk to me first and that's usually just responses to questions, I try to stay out of people's way as much as possible, pretty much I try to make myself as unnoticeable as possible. I don't know why I always have my guard up and I don't know how to let it down. I keep thinking that I've dug myself too far and if I suddenly turn back now and start being open about how I feel and being social with people that it'll just make me look weird and they'll think I'm drunk or high or something.

    I'm afraid that at this rate if something doesn't change I won't be able to form a meaningful connection with anybody ever. I think that's why I love animals so much, because they keep me company, they don't judge, and they love me unconditionally. I know how animals will act, but people are a complete mystery to me. If it weren't for my pets I don't know where I'd be right now and I'd be so unbelievably lonely.

    I need to see a psychologist but even making a booking for that is a challenge for me. Every time I've tried they've given me the "we're at capacity" response and that just destroys all motivation I had to get myself help and I put it off for ages. I'm trying to help myself but it feels like nobody wants to help me. I don't know what to do.

  2. Petal22
    Community Champion
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    Petal22 avatar
    2006 posts
    23 November 2021 in reply to 44Max44

    Hi 44Max44,

    Im sorry you are feeling this way.

    I understand it’s difficult when we feel this way and we find it hard to talk to people.

    Just take small steps maybe ask questions like how was your weekend?

    Im sure you’re a great person and people would be interested in hearing what you have to say.

    Tell your self good things about yourself… build yourself up….

    Maybe make an appointment with your gp and do a mental health plan together this will enable you to see a psychologist.

  3. jaz28
    Community Champion
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    jaz28 avatar
    467 posts
    24 November 2021 in reply to 44Max44

    Hi 44Max44,

    I am sorry you are experiencing these feelings. I often feel like having your guard up is a defence mechanism...maybe you've been hurt before..maybe you find it hard to trust others because of that experience...or maybe you're scared of rejection...maybe you want to try so hard that it freaks you out and you retreat because of fear that it won't go well. I only say this, because I have definitely experienced it myself, I am sure everyone has to some degree. You are not alone.

    As Petal22 said, start small and build up. I often find that asking others about themselves is a great way to fuel a conversation because..well..people love talking about themselves, LOL! At work, whenever someone new starts or I haven't talked to someone recently, I ask where they used to work, their experience, and often you can get a fair chunk of their work and life story from this! Yes, some people are a bit more closed of, but most people will be receptive and happy that you took the time to talk to them. Or - just ask about their weekend or night...you can get a conversation going from this too !

    It can be hard but I would also suggest seeing your GP and getting a mental health care plan - it is easier to get an appointment with a psychologist this way.



  4. meforcats
    meforcats  avatar
    116 posts
    28 November 2021 in reply to 44Max44

    Hi 44Max44

    I'm sorry it's so hard for you. I used to be incredibly shy and still get anxious about socialising. But not half as much as I used to. It must be experience and age that's helped.

    Please don't give up trying to find a professional to help you. I've been seeing the same one since 1990 and it's been invaluable.

    Also the more you practice the easier things become. All the best.

  5. Learn to Fly
    Community Champion
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    Learn to Fly avatar
    342 posts
    28 November 2021 in reply to 44Max44

    Hi 44Max44

    Thank you so much for joining us here and I am so sorry to hear about what you have been going through. I agree with all the advice you have been given. If you like this one girl, how about you start a small talk with her? Don’t expect too much of yourself or her. If it’s going to be easier for you, think about three questions that you’d like to ask her I.e. you meet in the kitchen while making hot beverages. You notice she is preparing tea/coffee. “Are you a tea/coffee drinker?” “Do you have a favourite coffee place that you like to go to?” “There is nothing better than freshly brewed tea/coffee, isn’t?”

    It’s a pretty safe subject to start with and you can’t go wrong with it or offend anyone. She will respond and might ask you the same or similar questions and you will have your first little chit chat done.

    How does this sound to you? Would this be something that you think you could manage?

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