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Old 06-28-2020, 10:38 PM   #1
PrettyBoy17
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Default Selective Social Anxiety? Or just an irrational fear of strangers?

So, this might sound strange, but I don't feel particularly anxious about being on camera, being on the radio, giving an unprepared speech for a decently sized audience, teaching or most things in an academic/professional setting. I may get some butterflies/adrenaline, but for the most part I seem to be more comfortable than average in these settings.

However, get me into a social situation and it all changes. Put me in a small house party where I don't know most of the people there and I'm terrified. It's very difficult for me to talk to strangers in social situations and I have to know a person very very well before I can relax and talk naturally and be comfortable.

Apparently, that is not the norm, as I've had people not believe that I can't make friends easily or navigate purely social situations unless it's with people I already know. I even used to have a difficult time going through drive-thrus or calling to make appointments etc. because it meant talking to strangers. When I lived in a city and there were more options for stores, I would have difficulty going to places that were very large (like Walmart) or places that weren't my usual place because I didn't know what to expect and maybe even the whole too many people (although I think large stores came from my fear of getting lost).
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Old 06-28-2020, 11:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Selective Social Anxiety? Or just an irrational fear of strangers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PrettyBoy17 View Post
So, this might sound strange, but I don't feel particularly anxious about being on camera, being on the radio, giving an unprepared speech for a decently sized audience, teaching or most things in an academic/professional setting. I may get some butterflies/adrenaline, but for the most part I seem to be more comfortable than average in these settings.

However, get me into a social situation and it all changes. Put me in a small house party where I don't know most of the people there and I'm terrified. It's very difficult for me to talk to strangers in social situations and I have to know a person very very well before I can relax and talk naturally and be comfortable.

Apparently, that is not the norm, as I've had people not believe that I can't make friends easily or navigate purely social situations unless it's with people I already know. I even used to have a difficult time going through drive-thrus or calling to make appointments etc. because it meant talking to strangers. When I lived in a city and there were more options for stores, I would have difficulty going to places that were very large (like Walmart) or places that weren't my usual place because I didn't know what to expect and maybe even the whole too many people (although I think large stores came from my fear of getting lost).
Wow you are fortunate that you do not mind being on camera, Iím very uncomfortable being on camera and giving a speech. Being on the radio is slightly better since people only hear you and are not staring at you. Some symptoms you describe sound like agoraphobia, regarding difficulty going to a large store with a fear of getting lost. For me, I dislike most social situations and prefer small groups of 10 or less at a dinner party where I know most people.
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Old 06-29-2020, 08:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Selective Social Anxiety? Or just an irrational fear of strangers?

Well, now that I think about it, the radio interview I'm thinking of was back when I lived in the city and it was downtown at a coffee shop with a live audience...so not the typical radio show/interview. I might get anxious about not being able to recall basic information (and as a result, look stupid), but if I have notes for myself, I'm fine.

It could be agoraphobia. I don't know much about it. I always associated it with being anxious to leave home. I guess unless I have a reason to go somewhere or even outside, I just stay inside. I guess I'm anxious going to events (even if I may be fine once I get there) because what if I went to the wrong place, or have the wrong time, or the wrong day etc. I guess changes in my routine or going to unfamiliar places can make me anxious. I would be anxious driving an unfamiliar route if it weren't for the gps on my phone.

None of this impacts me as much as being able to make and develop friendships/relationships due to being too anxious to talk to "strangers" or even less familiar people that I have met before. I'm kind of worried about this since I just moved somewhere where I don't know anyone.
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Old 06-30-2020, 12:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Selective Social Anxiety? Or just an irrational fear of strangers?

Yes can relate about being anxious meeting new people and I always get anxiety meeting new people. Being new at a job or school is tough. It always help to make one friend when your new or if everyone is new at first itís better too.
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Old 07-01-2020, 03:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Selective Social Anxiety? Or just an irrational fear of strangers?

I have a question.
In these occasions you mention you deal pretty well because itís in the academic field, do you prepare yourself very consciously before hand?
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Old 07-03-2020, 12:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Selective Social Anxiety? Or just an irrational fear of strangers?

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I have a question.
In these occasions you mention you deal pretty well because itís in the academic field, do you prepare yourself very consciously before hand?
Sometimes I do, but I donít think I always do. I think itís because it gives me something to relate to when it comes to other people. Working together always seemed like the best ďcommonĒ ground. And in the case of speeches, I guess Iím considered an ďexpertĒ enough that it gives me confidence or something?
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Old 07-03-2020, 09:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Selective Social Anxiety? Or just an irrational fear of strangers?

I think people should believe you when you tell them what you are feeling.

Have you considered therapy to help with the parts that are difficult for you?
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Old Yesterday, 02:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: Selective Social Anxiety? Or just an irrational fear of strangers?

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I think people should believe you when you tell them what you are feeling.

Have you considered therapy to help with the parts that are difficult for you?
I think so too, but most people need concrete proof for you to prove how you feel or who you are. I mean, most people arenít going to believe I know my own attraction/sexuality because I havenít had a relationship or sex with the right people to prove it. Iím obviously not doing enough to prove my gender, even though doing so could put me at risk. If I feel awful about the way Iím being treated by someone, most people donít believe me and blame me...unless they see it first hand. I guess Iím just untrustworthy among other things.

Iíd like to go back to therapy, but due to COVID and having to move to the place where Iíll work in the Fall, I wonít have a paycheck until September, so it may be best to just wait until then.
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Old Yesterday, 02:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Selective Social Anxiety? Or just an irrational fear of strangers?

I don't think you are untrustworthy.

I think the others are invalidating.
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Old Yesterday, 02:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: Selective Social Anxiety? Or just an irrational fear of strangers?

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Sometimes I do, but I donít think I always do. I think itís because it gives me something to relate to when it comes to other people. Working together always seemed like the best ďcommonĒ ground. And in the case of speeches, I guess Iím considered an ďexpertĒ enough that it gives me confidence or something?
I do understand it. It always happened the same with me in relation to my coworkers and job were too way more easy for me to deal with.
I see it normal because you are good at your field and intelligent so this is the door you may find open to grab it and also improve in other social situations. But, you will have to make an effort. Itís not easy.
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