Meeting New People

Everyone who knows me will tell you that i am far from being regarded a shy person. I can talk,a lot,be it on the internet or in person. My talkative tendencies were actually one of the reasons i started blogging,to get all these thoughts out of my head before i drive myself into insanity. But there is one thing most people didn't know about me and probably wouldn't believe,i used to be EXTREMELY scared of meeting new people.

Whenever i had to meet mutual friends,i would try to mask this anxiety by either trying too hard to engage with them or by resorting to gluing my eyes on my phone the whole time.I was failing to understand the reason for my peculiar behavior because even if i told myself that,"you are not going to be anxious today when you meet these people",it still happened,so i never talked about it with anyone.I just resorted to cunningly dodging social settings which may involve me having to interact with strangers. The anxiety symptoms included really sweaty palms,my heart beating like crazy,uncoordinated walking and lack of mindfulness.The reason for my social anxiety had always eluded me until this year when i decided to do something about my worsening mental health and i figured the reason for it was that, i was so concerned with what people thought about me at first meeting.

I was concerned with everything,what they thought about what i'm wearing,how i'm talking,what i'm talking about etc etc. I looked at myself the way i thought they looked me and this made the anxiety so much worse. It was only after i got to know a person and got really comfortable around them that i would start to relax and be able to actively engage them in conversation .The social anxiety really impacted my social life because i would always try to dodge social interactions as often as i could.It got to a point where my friends will not even bother inviting me to outings because they knew i was going to come up with some lame excuse about why i couldn't come and this made me,the same person who refuses to go out,feel left out.

Ever since i decided to take the initiative to put myself out there and meet new people,i have seen a complete change in my social interactions. Nowadays,for the first time since in my life,i actually look forward to meeting new people. I no longer think about myself abstractly,i just completely indulge myself in that moment with the strangers, engaging them in conversation as much as i can without thinking about how they perceive me and it is such a wonderful feeling,the ability to interact for the first time with people and get to know them. I have made a couple of friends from these interactions since then,something that i did not think i could do a couple of months back. One thing this new experience teaches me every time is that there are so many people out there with interesting life stories and if you give them the chance to share them with you,you are bound to learn so much about life.The anxiety symptoms i used to get are completely gone,no more sweaty palms,no more jitters. I figured hey,no one probably thinks i'm that interesting enough to monitor each and every word i say,how i say it or when i say it,so why should i let it bother me so much?Why should i let it define me?why should i let it impact my social life so much?

 We are always bound to meet new people.Be it at school,work or any other social setting,you are going to have to meet and interact with people you do not know and having social anxiety does not make this task any easy. It can make you feel less human,like you lacking something and that can have a major knock on your self esteem. Having low self esteem will consequently make your anxiety worse because now,not only are you anxious about meeting new people, you are also anxious about being anxious about meeting people and this is what Mark Manson refers to as the Feedback Loop From Hell. Simply put,the Feedback Loop From Hell is you being anxious about being anxious. Annoying right?

So if you  are reading this blog post and you are struggling with social anxiety,i want to let you know that there is nothing wrong or weird about you,you are awesome. Try to stop thinking about what impression you are going to make on people because most of the time,like i already mentioned,they are not paying attention to you as much you think they are.Sometimes,if not most of the time,our anxieties are merely a reflection of what we think about ourselves and not what we think people perceive us as.

PS:For more about how i dealt with my anxiety issues,please also check out my You Do Not Exist post.