Trouble in Social Situations

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    • #104235

      I’ve noticed that I really have a hard time in social situations lately. I feel like I am constantly afraid of saying the wrong thing and tend to ruminate and replay the conversation a lot after I have even a simple conversation with someone. I also realized how hard of a time I have talking to people on the phone, I even feel like I have to rehearse what I want to say so I don’t mess it up 🙁
      I’m really sad because I want to be more social and love being around people, but when I get around them I don’t know what to say and am too afraid to say it most of the time.

    • #104336
      Penny Williams

      Sounds like social anxiety. I know it all too well.

      You’re Not Shy or Stuck Up. You Have Social Anxiety Disorder.

      I’ve found, personally, that anxiety medication doesn’t help much with the social aspect, unfortunately.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #105219

        I feel the same way. I never know what to say in conversations or I’m not paying attention. Then I just end up just nodding my head or something so they know I’m listening. People don’t really talk to me because they think I’m shy and don’t talk a lot. Which is why I have no friends. when I’m with close friends or family my mouth doesn’t shut up though.

    • #104359

      Thanks for answering. Any suggestions on what might help? I’m really struggling and am not sure what to do at this point. I never really found anti anxiety meds helpful. I found they almost made me worse.

    • #104364
      Penny Williams

      The best thing you can do is honor who you are. You are likely a kind, compassionate friend, who just doesn’t enjoy large social gatherings or situations where there are people you don’t know.

      I’m not suggesting you avoid those things necessarily. That’s pretty much what I’ve done as much as possible my whole life and it has held me back in some ways. But, it has also not added undue stress to an already stressful existence of having anxiety.

      I’m actually feel more comfortable on the phone than in person, but my daughter has the same issues with the phone. I think it’s because she can’t see their face to try to read their mood and reactions to the conversation (to her). We usually rehearse what she’ll say when she has to make a call.

      She is also very afraid to upset others. I honestly think this comes from a place of being so sensitive yourself — you’re so empathetic and compassionate that you really worry and stress about hurting someone else, or causing them to not like you.

      Living with these issues is tough. But, the more you stress about being different and not fitting, the more difficult all these things become.

      I’ve actually started taking CBD oil recently and it helps my anxiety a great deal, even social anxiety, which nothing has helped with before.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #104782

      I certainly can relate; especially to the part about playing conversations over in my head. I tend to obsess a lot about things, even minor things. Best advice I can give you is to just embrace it as part of your personality and not let it control you. Try to find a benefit in it. Constantly replaying your conversations can sometimes make you more aware of how you’re coming across to others.

    • #104797

      Totally been there. So sorry. Zoloft helped me but I will say that when I first started the Zoloft I felt like it got worse too. I told me doctor and she pretty much laughed at me and said, “That means you need a higher dose.” I rolled my eyes at this but tried the higher dose and it actually did improve. Sounds like you have given it a try though, so I don’t know. When you are feeling that way every social encounter is such a courageous effort. My brother got some relief from talk therapy.

      I feel like my social anxiety stemmed from constant social fumbles related to my add, which made it worse because I knew I wasn’t making up the social blunders, they were very real! BUT I was surely exaggerating people’s responses to them. Anxiety is so frustrating because you can logically “shake it off” but the thoughts and feelings continue to circle. Does exercise help you? I always hate when people say sleep, good food, and exercise, but maybe it could help? When I am anxious I prefer yoga to cardio. Hope you find some relief. It is miserable to feel that way.

    • #105155

      Hi Emily

      I’ve experienced this a lot, sometimes while driving home, I’m reviewing/reliving conversations in my head or out loud. I used to get really anxious nearly anytime I’d have to converse with someone, and in particular I remember thst if I were walking down a hallway, and I’d have to pass someone walking the other way, I’d get so anxious that my legs would go a little weak.

      I think for me, this all stems from incidents when I was young of being publicly humiliated. Some of those incidents may actually have been reason to be embarrassed, others likely were due to my increasing sensitivity and fear of it causing me to feel humiliated by a small event, but either way, I internalized these as traumatic events. Honestly, I think the source of a lot of mine was bullying st an early age, but it can come from a lot of causes.

      I think that social phobia is a good name for how I was, with a phobia being an irrational reaction to a stimulus. If I were to encounter a lion in the forest, such a tense reaction and rush of adrenaline would be justified and beneficial… Having to meet someone at a business meeting? No beneficial.

      What I was able to do was to retrain my brain to not have that reaction. First of all, take notice of how many mistakes other people make, errors in speaking, choosing the wrong words, making bad conclusions, stumble on words, etc, etc. People make mistakes
      Second, take note after you experience the situations in which you get tense, that afterwards nothing bad had happened to you. Maybe even build up to it with small practice sessions (Toastmasters clubs are great). It’s like how people with a snake phobia start by getting used to holding a stuffed snake doll, then a rubber snake, watching snake videos until they can hold a garter snake. Build up incidents of the anxiety inducing experiences a bit at a time, with each finishing with out incident, until your brain no longer is triggered to “fight or flight” by it.

      Another thing that can help you here is a bit of the ole “fake it until you make it”. You can’t fake that you can pilot a plane, but confidence is something we can fake. Become like an actor on stage, play the part of the cool and confident person, after a while, that character of a confident you simply becomes you, and the casual confortable confidence is real.

      Best of luck Emily. If I can get over it, anyone.can

    • #105158

      I too have this social phobia and It is really hard to get out of it without the persistent efforts and proper counseling.

    • #105177

      I spent my life before diagnosis doing this.
      Did I say the wrong thing? Or the wrong way?
      I should have said “blah-blah” instead maybe?
      Why didn’t I say the other thing that came to mind?

      We spend a lot of our lives second-guessing ourselves if we have ADD. I eventually figured out that most often, nobody else even thought about what was said. Every human is different and in groups don’t tend to judge us or will try to understand what we mean. “Family” can be pickier, probably just because that’s the way family is.

      I have developed a habit of acknowledging these troubling thoughts and letting them go. I failed at being perfect long ago and people still like me.

    • #105201

      Greetings Emily LB – First – please DON’T consider this a a “disorder.” It’s a difficulty with social situations that is typical of folks with ADD or on the Spectrum. Effective strategies can be LEARNED! Second – Find a coach! Find a DBT therapist, explore EMDR and other “alternative” methods to reduce the natural anxiety you experience when you don’t feel confident. We all experience anxiety when we do things we aren’t good at. This is Natural, it’s not a disorder! Get a coach. Practice in “safe” environments (maybe family or closer friends who can tell you when you’re doing well, and when you’re not.) Perhaps there’s a social group in your area that can help. If you’re anywhere near North Carolina look me up! This can be learned and practiced. Be Ready, Be Prepared and Be Brave enough to give your new behaviors a try!

      • #105228

        Exactly, I totally agree with you. We should keep motivating Oneself.

    • #105285

      I am not afraid to be in social situations, but I find I play the conversations over and over again, and always fear I made a fool of myself. In fact I can run a little high. I start thinking that people don’t like me and at times self-sabotage myself at work. How do I quit self-doubting myself?

      • #105320

        “Positive thinking is powerful thinking. If you want happiness, fulfillment, success and inner peace, start thinking you have the power to achieve those things. Focus on the bright side of life and expect positive results.”
        ― Germany Kent

        Just keep this in mind, motivate yourself timely and Never Underestimate The Power of Believing in Yourself. This is not a disorder at all. Create a happy environment around you. If you still think that you need to consult, go for good ADHD therapist. Make a good Schedule of your day, practice good exercise/yoga.

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