Most of my social encounters turn out to be mediocre at best. Occasionally, I do have my moments and I am able to function in, what might be perceived to be, a completely normal manner. In fact, once in a blue moon, I’m actually able to step out of my usual comfort zone and truly enjoy interacting with others. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, there’s nothing like it.
I’ve often tried to duplicate my success, but to no avail. It seems that there is a lot more to creating the perfect social experience than simply convincing yourself that you’ll have a good time no matter what. In my case, I often don’t know how a particular situation is going to turn out until I’m actually in the midst of it. I’ve had encounters where I was 100% convinced that I’d make a fool of myself, only to wind up enjoying the evening and interacting at a social level that was frightening, but at the same time, invigorating and exciting.
I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s pretty much impossible to predict how things are going to work out. For that reason, I tend not to think about things until I’m actually faced with them. I used to allow myself to become overcome with anticipatory anxiety and worry – long before any social event.
More importantly, I’ve learned that there are many things that can influence the outcome of a particular social situation. Most of these are out of my control since much of it depends upon the actual process of socializing. In other words, the chemistry that is created between myself and others will ultimately determine my success in a given situation.
As one who suffers from social anxiety, it doesn’t take much negative chemistry to derail my plans and send me home feeling insecure, aggravated, and depressed. Often, all it takes is one person to say the wrong thing and that’s the beginning of the end for me. I’d love to be able to simply shrug things off as most folks do and carry on having a good time. However, it’s simply something that I haven’t been able to do – ever.
Some of the most socially successful people I know would never let something so small and silly get in the way of having a good time.
I know that if I could get over this, I’d be able to enjoy other people’s company much more and take full advantage of mingling and socializing. The frustrating thing is that I know I have it in me to do this, it’s just that conditions have to be perfect in order for me to have the confidence to interact on a higher social level.
So the question is: How can I simply ignore thoughtless people and their comments and carry on interacting with those who raise my confidence level and self-esteem?