If you suffer from social anxiety, you probably don’t think much of outgoing, confident people – I know I don’t. It depresses me to be around extroverts like this. I always end up making comparisons and beating myself up because I can’t be more like them. I mean, they just seem to be having so much fun!
To be honest, I am probably more jealous than anything. Well, that, and the fact that they make me feel so inadequate.
Having said that, very few outgoing people have ever gone out of their way to make me feel bad, or to personally attack me. Well, if you don’t count the bullies from my childhood (they thrived on dominance and humiliation). Fortunately, juvenile, school-yard bully tactics are practically non-existent once you reach adulthood.
Yes, I might still hold some sort of resentment for outgoing people, but I’ve also leaned a few things now that I’m increasing my social activity a little. I’ve discovered that 99% of the negative emotions I feel while around these people are things that I’ve created on my own head. They are not real and they are based on my own negative beliefs about myself – not reality.
The bad news is that there is no easy way for me to prevent the flood of negative emotions while I’m around these people. It magnifies my social phobia symptoms like crazy. In order for me not to feel this way, I’d have to be completely cured of social anxiety – and that isn’t likely to happen soon.
Obviously, there is no quick fix for this. However, I do try to remind myself of a few things:
- Most people don’t go out of their way to hurt or humiliate others.
- Everyone is more concerned about themselves and how they are coming across.
- Outgoing people can’t help being that way. It’s like I can’t help being shy.
- People can’t see through me – even though it feels as though they can.
- No one knows what’s going on inside my head – other than me.
All in all, I’ve found that most outgoing people are decent folk, once you get to know them. In fact, I often feel more comfortable chatting with someone that is able to communicate confidently, than someone who is so shy they aren’t able to keep up their end of a conversation.. Yeah, that sounds hypocritical, but it’s a fact.
Though I avoid mingling with groups of outgoing people, I will welcome the chance to chat with someone one-on-one. Talking with an extrovert means that I am not always scrambling for something to say. I also feel less self-conscious because this person is so open. Talking with a shy person sends my imagination into overdrive. I often assume they dislike me because they are quiet and serious looking.
Here’s a thought: Is it possible that less outgoing people feel the same way about me?