Wild Minds Network

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This post is about social anxiety rather than daydreaming, but some of you might be able to identify with it.

I have always suffered from mild social anxiety: shyness, insecurity, reluctance to start conversations, etc..  However, I am usually able to overcome this when I need to.  If I really need to talk to someone about something, I can usually force myself to start the conversation, and once the conversation gets going, it isn't that bad.

However, in the past few years since I have started using facebook and email almost on a daily basis, I have discovered that social anxiety can be even more crippling when you couple it with electronic communication. It is very frustrating and hard to understand why I get so freaked about about sending a simple email or facebook message.  It usually crops up when I am communicating with someone whose opinion I care about but whom I don't know very well.  I am posting about this today because, at the moment, I have at least 4 people who I need to send messages to, and I can't bring myself to do it.  Why can't I just do it?!?!  Maybe today, since I don't have anything else to do, I will finally sit down and force myself...

I guess this is because email conversations and facebook posts to not require an immediate response.  So, it is really easy for me to say I will respond to that email later.  Unlike face-to-face conversations, with email it is not enough to just initiate the conversaion and let the it proceed naturally.  With online communication, I have to send the first message, wait for the reply to appear in my inbox, and then force myself to step out again by replying to it.  Add to this the worry about whether or not I will be understood without the feedback and non-verbal communication you get when you are face-to-face.

So, I don't know why I am writing a post about this.  I guess I just felt like to would be helpful to share.  Maybe some of you experience similar problems.  Maybe now that I've written about it, I can force myself to deal with it.  Back to those 4 emails I need to write....

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Comment by Beth W on October 21, 2011 at 4:13pm
I know I can relate. I dread talking on the phone, and even if I join a site that I think is really cool I'll never really post or get involved. I've posted more on this site than anywhere else, and I think that is mainly because I just got so excited that I finally found out what was going on and found others who understood that I wasn't afraid to say something.
Comment by Michael Gibson on February 26, 2011 at 4:18pm

Well you did fine with this e-mail!

 I find your situation interesting, in that I actually found that using internet social networking helped me overcome most of my social anxiety.  Of course I didn't start with facebook, where "everybody knows your name," so to speak.  Perhaps being involved with forum discussions (like on this site) might be less stressful? I found that in discussion groups, I got a lot of positive feed-back, and that helped with my shyness a lot.    

Comment by Cordellia Amethyste Rose on February 26, 2011 at 2:27pm

Lol, yeah I've been going through this for years.  I just accept it.  I don't even try to hide it.  I flaunt my awkwardness.  I'm ok at calling on the phone NOW, though I used to be that way.  It's only because I spent years in customer service.  I don't answer the phone now unless I know who it is, though.  I even tell people that when I leave messages or email them.  Don't call me unless you tell me when & what number, or I simply won't answer.  If I have to schedule a phone call with someone, I often insist on calling them.  Of course part of that is because it's cheaper.  I make phone calls from my computer & preserve cell phone mins.  Whenever I leave a message, I emphasize that I WILL NOT ANSWER if they call back, so they must leave a message and call-back number, or we'll forever be playing tag.  

 

I go through bouts of email anxiety. Mostly it's because I usually have a lot to say, so I'll put it off and put it off until I have time to sit down and word it properly.  I put a LOT of meticulous thought into every little thing I do in general.  I wrote an algorithm for leaving my apartment for a class once........it was over 2,000 words, no joke.  There are a million things I think about while doing anything.  It's no wonder I don't get anything done.  Anyway, heaven forbid I should have an actual important email to send........if I get too anxious, it can take a really long time.  

 

I definitely do not prefer face-to-face interactions because I always get flustered when someone's staring at me as I'm trying to think.  I come off as a high-strung idiot in person.  I am high-strung, but I'm not an idiot.  When I write, I can speak a thousand times more intelligently.  It's much easier.  I can't think with someone staring at me.  

Comment by Karen Stapp on February 26, 2011 at 12:33pm

I'm smiling right now because I do the exact same thing.  You're not alone with your anxiety about that.  I also stress about how long the email conversation is going to last. "Do I have to keep on replying or will they think I am ignoring them?"

K :-)

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