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Advice on how to become more socially confident.

Hey I'm a 16 year old girl and I've had maladaptive daydreaming since I was around 5 ish. In these last 1.5 years I've struggled with depression and anxiety but it's slowly getting better with the help of my therapist, and I sometimes struggle with social anxiety (but I don't have panic attacks like when I was 12/13).

I feel like I'm having a quarter life crisis, like I wasted some of my teen years. And I feel like I'm behind - socially, emotionally and experience-wise - everyone else who's the same age as me and I constantly feel like I'm making up for lost time. I hate how I keep comparing myself to this fake me and living in a different world.  I get down sometimes cos I feel so boring and naive since I daydreamed a lot of my life away.

At the moment I'm trying to push myself like getting a job, try talking to my friends more often and try to make new ones. In a way it can be frustrating cos in real life I'm worried that I can't make new friends cos I'm a bit awkward and shy, as well as I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to applying for jobs (but then who isn't???)

I would really appreciate if anyone has any advice on how to get more of a social life and try to be more confident. Cos I don't wanna live a fake life anymore, I really want to live a meaningful one.

Thanks xx

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You can't just force yourself to have a social life and be more confident. It just doesn't work. It would actually make things worse, because you're putting even more pressure on yourself, which I'm guessing is the last thing you need right now.

Have you considered trying to get to the bottom of why you're daydreaming so much in the first place? You said you're already seeing a therapist, so you might be already investigating that, but if you haven't already you might want to try finding a chain of "why"s that could bring you closer to identifying its origin.

Living a "fake life", as you call it, isn't something you can just will out of existence. It started for a reason, and it will only end when that reason is gone.
Most importantly, don't allow yourself to get stuck in endless thought loops that bring you nowhere. The more you overthink, the more out of touch with reality you will be.

IMO, the person posted above give very constructive suggestions which I had agreed most of his post, and usually it is hard to give better advice than his(for me, coz I am still relatively young and suffering MDD also). However, I notice a worth noting perspective that I want to elaborate a bit.

Considering the bottom reason of your daydream, is the correct solution, but it is also not that easy for everyone. It is possible that your MD is contributed by multiple reasons, and one of those, may actually be your lack of social life and confidence. I felt like that before, and even though they were not my root cause of MDing, it did make me feel like my MD was unsolvable at that time. 

This looks like an endless loop, but it is not. Try to change your mindset. Try to view social life skill as a kind of talent; not everyone has it, but at the same time not everyone can sing good, not everyone can draw pictures good, and we have been living without these other talents completely fine for years. You may need some talent to find a few friends, but you definitely don't need to go to those parties with dozens of unfamiliar people. And finally, if you are one of those who believe everyone is born with equal talent, this may boost you a bit to find the new talent belonging to yourself, at the day you put down your reason to MD.

The teen years are so hard — please be kind to yourself! You have decades ahead of you to work and learn social skills. Don't try to rush it. Social skills, like any other skill, take time and practice.

My recommendation is to pick one thing you enjoy — maybe it's a hobby or an extracurricular program or charity project — that will get you out and around people. When I was 16, this was drama club, but that's not for everyone. The point is to get in a situation where you're around people with whom you have something in common, so you don't have to make up things to say — the conversations arise out of whatever the mutual goal or program is. It's easier to make friends with people when you know you already have something in common, like working on the same charity project.

Also, I find that working on a program or project with other people distracts me enough to rein in daydreaming, at least short-term.

hey im 17 and I day dream a lot but somehow Im still an extrovert? so I dont really have problems with the social part of my life.

I just think its great that youre trying your best, Id just say to try to get out of your comfort zone a little and to challenge yourself Im sure youre capable of it since you already started doing that.

I was a bit nervous about getting a job too but it ended up being really nice so just choose something easy going and short term incase you dont like it. another thing you could do instead of working is you could volunteer, it would make you feel like youre doing something with your life and its sometimes less demanding than a job (depends on what it is ofc). anyway I wish you the best of luck and Im really glad that youre trying to get out there more Im sure its hard but you can do this!

I totally agree with you, you seem to know a lot about this. 

Ive been thinking of why I have md too but I can never get to a definitive answer... Ive never suffered of a huge trauma that would do this so I just feel ungrateful to my real life, I dont even suffer from any mental illnesses. anyway I hope we can all find the root of this so we can eventually move on. 

your reply somewhat helped me too so thanks.

Camoran said:

You can't just force yourself to have a social life and be more confident. It just doesn't work. It would actually make things worse, because you're putting even more pressure on yourself, which I'm guessing is the last thing you need right now.

Have you considered trying to get to the bottom of why you're daydreaming so much in the first place? You said you're already seeing a therapist, so you might be already investigating that, but if you haven't already you might want to try finding a chain of "why"s that could bring you closer to identifying its origin.

Living a "fake life", as you call it, isn't something you can just will out of existence. It started for a reason, and it will only end when that reason is gone.
Most importantly, don't allow yourself to get stuck in endless thought loops that bring you nowhere. The more you overthink, the more out of touch with reality you will be.

Thx. I do kinda know why I daydream so much (unsatisfied with my life) and I have talked to my therapist about it. I know I can't force myself to be more confident or stop living a fake life but I'm willing to take steps towards leading a better life.

Camoran said:

You can't just force yourself to have a social life and be more confident. It just doesn't work. It would actually make things worse, because you're putting even more pressure on yourself, which I'm guessing is the last thing you need right now.

Have you considered trying to get to the bottom of why you're daydreaming so much in the first place? You said you're already seeing a therapist, so you might be already investigating that, but if you haven't already you might want to try finding a chain of "why"s that could bring you closer to identifying its origin.

Living a "fake life", as you call it, isn't something you can just will out of existence. It started for a reason, and it will only end when that reason is gone.
Most importantly, don't allow yourself to get stuck in endless thought loops that bring you nowhere. The more you overthink, the more out of touch with reality you will be.

I get where you're coming from about the social/talent thing. I just feel like as young people it's a struggle if you're more on the quieter side as I feel "teen culture" is centred on being really sociable which can be difficult for some people. Thx for the reply xx.

Fishno7 said:

IMO, the person posted above give very constructive suggestions which I had agreed most of his post, and usually it is hard to give better advice than his(for me, coz I am still relatively young and suffering MDD also). However, I notice a worth noting perspective that I want to elaborate a bit.

Considering the bottom reason of your daydream, is the correct solution, but it is also not that easy for everyone. It is possible that your MD is contributed by multiple reasons, and one of those, may actually be your lack of social life and confidence. I felt like that before, and even though they were not my root cause of MDing, it did make me feel like my MD was unsolvable at that time. 

This looks like an endless loop, but it is not. Try to change your mindset. Try to view social life skill as a kind of talent; not everyone has it, but at the same time not everyone can sing good, not everyone can draw pictures good, and we have been living without these other talents completely fine for years. You may need some talent to find a few friends, but you definitely don't need to go to those parties with dozens of unfamiliar people. And finally, if you are one of those who believe everyone is born with equal talent, this may boost you a bit to find the new talent belonging to yourself, at the day you put down your reason to MD.

I have tried doing something like that a couple of years ago but it didn't go well as my social anxiety was much worse than it was today. I guess my frustration is actually the fact that some people I want to be friends with have actually have a lot in common with me but I guess struggle with confidence and keep telling myself usual bs like they don't like me. And you're right about practicing social skills - I'm gonna try to take small steps. Thx.

Kristen Fay said:

The teen years are so hard — please be kind to yourself! You have decades ahead of you to work and learn social skills. Don't try to rush it. Social skills, like any other skill, take time and practice.

My recommendation is to pick one thing you enjoy — maybe it's a hobby or an extracurricular program or charity project — that will get you out and around people. When I was 16, this was drama club, but that's not for everyone. The point is to get in a situation where you're around people with whom you have something in common, so you don't have to make up things to say — the conversations arise out of whatever the mutual goal or program is. It's easier to make friends with people when you know you already have something in common, like working on the same charity project.

Also, I find that working on a program or project with other people distracts me enough to rein in daydreaming, at least short-term.

Oh cool. How was your job like? How did you get over nerves? I did some volunteering years ago, but I've kinda crashed and burned in these last 1.5 years and lost some of that confidence. And it's cool to see that people around my age also suffer from md - it's always kinda awkward to talk about. But maybe that's what I should do, talk more about it. And like what everyone else said about getting out of your comfort zone etc, I'll try to take small steps - this is how I stopped getting panic attacks. Thx for the reply xx.

Manar said:

hey im 17 and I day dream a lot but somehow Im still an extrovert? so I dont really have problems with the social part of my life.

I just think its great that youre trying your best, Id just say to try to get out of your comfort zone a little and to challenge yourself Im sure youre capable of it since you already started doing that.

I was a bit nervous about getting a job too but it ended up being really nice so just choose something easy going and short term incase you dont like it. another thing you could do instead of working is you could volunteer, it would make you feel like youre doing something with your life and its sometimes less demanding than a job (depends on what it is ofc). anyway I wish you the best of luck and Im really glad that youre trying to get out there more Im sure its hard but you can do this!

And also I've read somewhere online that finding a middle ground between the real me and the idealised me can reduce mdd etc. I guess it's in the small achievable things.

Drift-Away said:

Thx. I do kinda know why I daydream so much (unsatisfied with my life) and I have talked to my therapist about it. I know I can't force myself to be more confident or stop living a fake life but I'm willing to take steps towards leading a better life.

Camoran said:

You can't just force yourself to have a social life and be more confident. It just doesn't work. It would actually make things worse, because you're putting even more pressure on yourself, which I'm guessing is the last thing you need right now.

Have you considered trying to get to the bottom of why you're daydreaming so much in the first place? You said you're already seeing a therapist, so you might be already investigating that, but if you haven't already you might want to try finding a chain of "why"s that could bring you closer to identifying its origin.

Living a "fake life", as you call it, isn't something you can just will out of existence. It started for a reason, and it will only end when that reason is gone.
Most importantly, don't allow yourself to get stuck in endless thought loops that bring you nowhere. The more you overthink, the more out of touch with reality you will be.

Finding a middle ground could be a start, but it won't be enough, if it's even possible. Don't be surprised if there is none to be found. The very existence of an idealized "you" came from the conflict between reality and how you process it.

As with all idealized selves, I'm willing to bet yours has everything you feel you need but can't get. Or can you? Does it inspire you to reach goals that are reasonably possible or does it torture you with completely insane standards and impossible demands that can never be fulfilled?

You might want to consider asking yourself that. The answer could turn out to be very interesting.
I could also be completely wrong about this. Only you can know for sure.

Drift-Away said:

And also I've read somewhere online that finding a middle ground between the real me and the idealised me can reduce mdd etc. I guess it's in the small achievable things.

Whenever I enter the social scene, it is such a disaster! I instantly get poked fun of by other socially outgoing people. Well, I give off an impression that I'm very grouchy and serious, very awkward, and not enjoying myself. I guess it's because I'm shy and not accustomed to meeting strange new people who are way more forward and fearless than me. I actually had some people slide over and really start to embarrass me.

So, I can't give much advice on how to build a social life, all except take the risk and just randomly starting talking to people. I've visited meetup websites with social group hangout events, and I must admit, it does help. They have all sorts of different groups; such as dancing, drama, photography, sports and hiking.

Don't be afraid of applying to jobs, I've had so many jobs since I was a teenager. If you feel socially awkward and don't want to be bullied at work—Don't take any fast food jobs. They'll just stick you down into the dirtiest and smelliest duties that doesn't even involve helping customers—and laugh at your shyness. Trust me, the managers and staff are assholes. Rather, Look for jobs in offices, nursery, yard work, baby sitting or data entry.



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