By - throwawayaccmeow
so, for me back when I was in school, the way I made friends was, I talked to the people around me that I sat next to in class, it wouldn't work all the time (just because of differences in interests and personality) but one of my best friends to this day, him and I met in Choir, the others I met because of mutual friends. So I'd say you should start with that, if you don't know where to find common ground with people, at least having a class together is common ground enough to start talking to them about something.
Do you have any fun classes? like when I was in Choir, I made a bunch of friends there because there was so much interaction with other people. Or maybe clubs? or even bonding over the fact that you and someone else has the same fashion style or something could definitely work.
Ive been seeing a lot of underclassmen that are into alternative fashion, which I like. I should probably give them a compliment. Also I’m in the art club for the past 3 years, and planning to join another club. Maybe the newspaper club.
yeah, there you go! give them a compliment and find out where they get their clothes and introduce yourself. Art club is fun but if you've been there for the past 3 years, maybe there's just no one in there that you vibe with? when I was in art, me and the people around me, used to talk to each other about the work we did and kinda became friends like that.
For me there's also just some personalities that I gravitate to, so I'm no longer in school, but when I was new at this company that I worked in years ago, I made friends with this one dude because he's really cheery and easy to talk to, which is me also. So him and I got a long well.
Fake it til you make it. When I was younger and socially awkward, I would observe extroverted people and replicate their behavior. It felt unnatural and scary at first but after seeing that people reacted positively, I started adopting it and it eventually became natural. Try to befriend people who sit next to you in class, if you have online classes participate on forums, maybe go to social events organized by your school, etc. Just come up to people and pretend you don't understand something/are lost/need assistance and then start chatting about something you have in common, conversation should flow from there. Also don't be too harsh on yourself about it, I haven't known that many 17 year olds who weren't socially awkward tbh, it gets easier over time.
How do you get rid of this anxiety feeling though?
Just tell yourself people don't judge you like you think they do. Therapists rely a lot on exposure therapy to treat anxiety, which is all about exposing yourself to whatever triggers your anxiety so that you realize that it's not so bad, and eventually after some time exposing yourself to it you stop being anxious at all. I know it's easier said than done, but basically when you see someone who you'd like to talk to, jump into it headfirst before anxiety can settle. It's like when you're a kid and you ride a bike for the first time and are terrified of falling, then you realize; hey, it's actually easier than I thought. Good luck friend :)
But what if my anxiety does settle first?
I don’t think “fake it til you make it” is bad advice. I’ve been there — at some point it’s critical to just say fuck it and try. Talk to people in your classes. Join clubs or engage in extracurricular activities. Sit with new people at lunch and try and strike up a chat. It’s hard, but in practice you aren’t going to make progress without getting practice socializing and getting outside of your comfort zone.
*That said*, sometimes that isn’t enough by itself. Therapy or counseling can be ***huge***. I know that I’ve had periods where I was really lonely and kind of friendless, and I usually got out of them with time, but it took me until maybe 23 to realize that I wasn’t addressing the underlying issues (shame, a lack of self-confidence and self-love, a warped way of judging myself vs how I judged other people, etc.) that really drove a lot of my social anxiety. Talking to a good therapist about these issues and working on revising them or developing coping mechanisms made a massive difference for me. It’s a process, and it’s I’m not 100% out of the woods yet (I just moved to a new city where I don’t really know anyone and making new friends is probably the hardest part), but I’m leagues better off than I would have been if I were in the same position a few years ago.
Is it just a feeling of physical anxiety like rapid, heart rate, sweating hands, hyperventilating, adrenaline rush, feeling of panic? Or is it more complex like maybe an underlying sense of inferiority, a feeling of being socially inept, not knowing what to say or feeling overly self conscious or possibly some other feeling that might be inhibiting your socializing?
You might have AVPD or avoidant personality disorder or even sub clinical AVPD features. Some of the behavior patterns and feelings that you described in your post are congruent with AVPD. If this is the case, a kitschy motivational or philosophical quote won't change your behaviors however it may still give you a hopeful outlook. With AVPD the impulsive feelings of social inhibition/anxiety/ineptness, feelings of inferiority, excessive/irrational fear of being humiliated don't change, even with treatment. What can change is how you deal with these feelings as well as how you behave when these feelings are present.
So I need to reframe my thought process?
First you'd need to realize that these feelings most likely won't change and you aren't bad for that. It's just the way your brain works. Anticipate that you'll have these feelings and think of ways that you could possibly behave differently and more favorably in social situations. The hard part is once you're in the social situation and feeling the fear and anxiety, to actually behave in the way that you have planned but goes against your instinct to shy away.
Maybe look into CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). You can get some exercises and do them with a friend or family member who you're comfortable with.