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Old 07-06-2012, 10:39 PM   #1  
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Default Introvert vs shyness

I have never been a huge social person. I have one really good friend, I am very close with all three of my sisters and a few not as close friendship type relationships (friends from childhood/school whom I see a few times a year), but I have never had a large circle of friends and I have never been in any kind of romantic relationship (although I have a forth date with someone tomorrow night, so that's moving in the right direction ).

I have always been okay with my relationships (or lack of) because I had convinced myself I was just a naturally introverted person. I "like" doing things by myself, I didn't need close relationships. Over the last nine months, since I started working on me, I have come to realize that I am not an introverted person...I am a very shy person with self-esteem issues that actually wants to be an extrovert. I want to go out and meet people and build relationships, but after 30 years, it's a huge change and a big struggle. I am taking steps, making myself talk to new people, trying new things. I officiated my sisters wedding in May which was a HUGE step.

Any suggestions for things I can do, books to read, etc. that might help. I think I am making good strides in my quest to overcome the shy, quiet label I've carried my entire life, but any commentary on the subject would also be helpful.
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:39 PM   #2  
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Wow Amanda! I don't have any advice but I am impressed with the way you are able to look at yourself and understand that the previous way of moving through life isn't working for you now and that you need a different approach. Your weight loss and committment to your health and well being is impressive and I would guess that it is a huge boost to your self exteem to know what you are capable of accomplishing!
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:48 PM   #3  
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i also am very very shy....i enjoy being around people and out doing things but i am usually very shy....i do NOT want to be noticed...i know where that stems from, i've been like that my entire life and it's based on past life experiences

ive found that losing weight has made me more willing to step up and not be so shy, although it's not related at all to self-esteem....ive always had good self-esteem...but i'm more willing to take the risk of being noticed and deal with that fear, face it head on, and try to get over it somewhat
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:12 AM   #4  
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Hi there, as much as I wish I did, I don't have any advice to offer (I'm in the same boat) but I want to wish you all the best! You can do it! and enjoy!!!
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:44 AM   #5  
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I actually have social anxiety disorder. I too thought I was just an introvert, but then I tried going to college and I ended up dropping out within a few months and going into a deep depression. I didn't figure out for a long time that it was a disorder.

I tried medication, but didn't like the side effects. I read that St. Johns Wort worked for depression for some people, so I decided to try using it for the anxiety too since they were linked in my case. So far it seems to be helping.

But I am also making an effort to get out, even if I am uncomfortable. Just a little at a time so that I don't go into a full blown attack.

So my advice is to keep getting out there, a little at a time.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:49 AM   #6  
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I think I read somewhere that an introvert is someone who draws energy from getting alone time. I'm an introvert. Perhaps try meetup.com or a book club - where you can all discuss a topic and therefore it forces you to talk, but you'll always know what to talk about (the book)
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:37 AM   #7  
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Hi Amanda! I just finished reading a great book about introverts, called "Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking." As an introvert, I found the book to be encouraging. The book was a pretty quick read, with a lot of stories about the different ways that introversion can look.

I also want to let you know that, before meeting my husband, I was like you and didn't date. The guys around seemed so immature that I wasn't interested. He was worth the wait. :-)

This may be slightly tangential, but do you know what is one fun way to get out there and meet people? Sign up for a salsa dancing class! It is a lot of fun. Once you learn the basic steps, the whole dance is about communicating with your partner and expressing yourself.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:26 AM   #8  
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I think I'm a bit of both. I'm definitely shy, and am totally awkward around people (especially men, even now when I'm not even single or looking!) I don't know, and am usually very quiet when around people I have just met. It takes me a long time to feel comfortable and be myself around people.
But I'm also a little anti social and enjoy time alone or with just my close (and very small) circle of friends.
I went on a course for work a few months back, and didn't know anyone else in the course. I ate lunch by myself because I very much prefer that to making awkward small talk with people I don't know and will most likely never see again. The rest of the class ate together, and I thought hey maybe I should eat with them...but just didn't want to. So I'm sure I looked like a total snob to them, but I'm really, really not! It's just hard for me. And sometimes not worth the effort (at least in my mind).
That's not to say that I don't like making new friends, because I do...but I'm just not very good at it, so I think sometimes I don't even try, which is kind of a shame.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:39 AM   #9  
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I did actually sign up for meetup.com this week. I was looking for groups to hike with and they had a lot of options in my area (big groups, not individuals). There is also a running group that meets in my town on Saturday mornings for running then coffee that I want to join, although I'm still having trouble pushing myself into that one because I'm afraid I won't be able to keep up with the running part.

Some of the branching out came without me even realizing I was doing it. I've lived in the same apartment complex for four and a half years, and up until the last few months, I didn't know any of my neighbors. I have actually met many of them now and will take the time to stop and talk when I see them out. The dating on the other hand is still a huge struggle...I'm doing it, but it still makes me feel very awkward. For that I'm going with the "fake it 'till I make it" mentality.
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:25 PM   #10  
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You should give yourself HUGE props for thinking so analytically about yourself and having the will to change. That's great.

I strongly urge you to get a therapist to help you with this project. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is really good for this kind of thing. There might be CBT books about social anxiety--look into it. (CBT books about weight loss and relationships have been really helpful for me.)
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:59 PM   #11  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DietVet View Post
You should give yourself HUGE props for thinking so analytically about yourself and having the will to change. That's great.

I strongly urge you to get a therapist to help you with this project. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is really good for this kind of thing. There might be CBT books about social anxiety--look into it. (CBT books about weight loss and relationships have been really helpful for me.)
I totally agree about CBT! It's worked for me really well related to other issues in my life. I've done workbooks where I do it on my own, and have done it with a therapist. And I also agree that you should look into seeing a therapist. I was shy enough that I didn't really start dating until I was 24. Six years later, I'm a social butterfly. Things can change.

Last edited by carbstart; 07-07-2012 at 02:01 PM.
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:25 PM   #12  
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I'm introverted and I think a lot about this. I am shy too but also introverted. I don't know that you can "become" an extrovert at heart, any more than you can become right-handed if you're born a leftie.

But there are some things you can do to feel more comfortable in social situations. I think Bernardo Carducci, is the biggest researcher in the area of shyness. I saw him give a talk once, and I remember a big tip he gave was if you are shy, you might think it's easiest to slip into a party late, when all the action is going on. But it's actually easier for shy people to be one of the first people there, so you can acknowledge each individual as he or she arrives and introduce yourself without feeling like you have everyone's attention on you all at once.

Here is the website for his research group, with a lot of tips!
http://ius.edu/shyness/
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:52 PM   #13  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pixelllate View Post
I think I read somewhere that an introvert is someone who draws energy from getting alone time. I'm an introvert. Perhaps try meetup.com or a book club - where you can all discuss a topic and therefore it forces you to talk, but you'll always know what to talk about (the book)
In that sense, I'm definitely an introvert. However, I love to socialize and meet friends easily. I talk to strangers and I'm not shy at all.

When I want to relax, it's most definitely by myself.
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