Those who are reluctant to interact with new people, or make an effort to leave the comfort of their homes to see their existing friends, are often called anxious, paranoid, agoraphobic, anti-social and any other ‘official’ term you can think of. Often I hear people say they should have been born in a different decade or that the other people out there just do not ‘get them’. I have come to wonder…is this REALLY the case or are they just afraid of social REJECTION?
It was my own reality that popped that question into my head. For so long I kept myself in a bubble. I was afraid to try new things, ‘What if people laugh at me?’. I was afraid to be face to face with new people, ‘What if they think I’m odd?’. And lastly I was afraid of rejection, ‘What if they take the micky out of me?’. It was not apparent to me that I had a fear about these things until this year. Due to life events and drama going down it was time to take a huge step back.
I opened the door to my mind, went into the garden of my brain and peered through the window in curiosity. Sadly, I found the person I described in the first paragraph…and I almost laughed out loud. This was ridiculous. This was not me. I am opinionated, childlike and a go getter, yet in front of me was just a shell of former Thrine. I cannot bear the thought of my readers hiding their true selves, due to these self-destroying feelings, so what can I do about it? Make it blog #35 of course!
The first golden rule and one that we all struggle to accept is…it really is all in your head. Humans are naturally somewhat selfish and self-absorbed. We are like any other animals with instincts; we seek to protect ourselves from predators. In the material human world, predators can be other people who have bigger personalities, more friends and generally more going on in their lives. They are preying on life! Whilst this is making you feel inadequate, jealous and/or reluctant to join in, those predators are not even thinking about you…you just think they are. When you meet them for the first time, they are also meeting you for the first time. They may even be as scared as you but their confidence overrides this and they are happily just themselves.
…and that is the second part of this reasoning. Just be you. Nobody can argue with that. They may dislike, disagree and oppose you but at least the bottom line is, you have been true to yourself. Nine times out of ten people will appreciate your company and want to get to know you more if you are being genuine. If you choose to be moody, difficult and put across the feeling you do not want to be there, then that is exactly the response you will receive. Ooh frosty! Ultimately, there is no hand holding when meeting people/groups for the first time so you have to dive in, relax and enjoy the experience. If they do reject you when you are being yourself then please be rest assured… that is definitely an issue with them and not with you.
Being a social butterfly starts from learning to accept yourself and conforming to your own thoughts and ideas, rather than someone else’s. This instils confidence and allows you to discuss and debate topics and ideas without becoming emotionally involved in them. In my experience, this is where social situations can go left. Being an adult who socialises pleasantly involves letting people have their opinion, particularly when it is the opposite of yours. Once you find this mutual understanding with a stranger, respect and possible friendship can be built going forward. Most importantly, do not judge on sight. Everyone has SOMETHING in common but finding it takes effort.
If you tend to shy away from party invitations, weekends away or meeting for a brew with a random to save yourself a social headache, please consider that you may be missing out! Chance meetings and unexpected friends are what make life exciting and they also open up new unexplored worlds, doors and opportunities. I have my blog because I shyly revealed to two newish friends that I ‘had an idea’. Their response was ‘just go for it’, so I did! Granted, there are occasions where encounters do not work out and these are the ones we learn from. Either way, if you just cut your anxious restraints you will see your life go from low to high in the blink of an eye.