Social Anxiety

I began working at my first job, in a grocery store, a little less than a year ago. Up until then, I was pretty content with my life. I didn't really do much or go anywhere. If I did, it was either alone or with my family.

I was nervous at first to begin my job. It was natural. Isn't everyone just a little nervous when they start a new job? You are put into a position where you don't know what is expected of you or what to expect from the work place.

My first day on the job was fun, but very nerve wrecking. I ran the register for eight hours that day. My body was literally trembling for the entire period. Despite this, my drawer ended up being perfect when all was said and done. I figured that within a few weeks, I wouldn't be so nervous. I ended up being very wrong.

After about 2 months, I started to realize that I was far more anxious than need be at work. I had a lot of trouble speaking to people, I couldn't keep my head up when I walked past people, and my voice was so soft that you couldn't hear it from more than 6 inches away.

A lot of it, I think, is from not actively going out and meeting people. I was used to interacting with people the minimum amount possible. I don't have a lot of social skills because I never really spoke to people.

It's now almost a year later. I've been working on improving my social skills. I'm still very shy, but I've made a lot of new friends. I can look people in the eyes now when I speak to them or they're speaking to me. I can hold a conversation for more than 5 minutes. I can also start conversations with people, which I wasn't able to do before.

There is a lot that I still have to overcome. I'm working every day to become more outgoing. I think a lot of the shyness will remain, but I now have a different kind of shyness. There's confidence behind it that allows me to talk to people more easily. I'm not entirely cured of my anxiety in social interactions yet though. I still jump if people speak behind me. I have trouble keeping my voice up at times. There are days when my words get mixed up or I stutter. As I look back on the past year, I realize though how much I've improved when it comes to being able to talk to people, and I'm very proud of myself for that. 🙂

Well, first off, I'm glad to hear you're more outgoing and you're doing something to change your shyness and improve your social skills. I know it's not easy, but it's strictly necessary in order to survive.
You said: "I was pretty content with my life. I didn't really do much or go anywhere. If I did, it was either alone or with my family". Exactly, you're leaving your comfort zone and that was the reason for which you've developed social anxiety.
I used to be like that when I started university. It was a huge change, because the interaction with other people was very limited (family and friends).
It was the same people for 5 years in highschool (and all of them were girls -- the interaction with guys was null). When I got my diploma and started university, OMG, it was terrible. I barely talked to other people and I had a lot of the symptoms that you're describing (I used to get sick very often as well). Anyway, I saw myself trapped and tried to be more friendly, but I didn't know how to do it. It's something that you can't learn from one day to another. You have to build that little by little and it seems you're doing it properly 🙂 which is good.

Don't worry, LittleFox. It takes time, but you'll do it. 🙂 Do something to improve your self-confidence more. For example, working out helps quite a lot. I started in 2008 and I'm still doing it and, trust me, it's been really helpful 🙂

Yes, it really does take a long time to adjust to interacting with more people. For me, I find that the best ways to keep myself from getting too nervous are to take a deep breath when I start stuttering or get my words twisted, straightening my posture before I start speaking again so that I'm not slouching, and making eye contact. When all else fails... well, I just smile and nod, lol. 🙂

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