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I don't like being around people. Can I change?

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    This is an issue I have struggled with most of my life, and I want to deal with it for a final time. I'm looking for advice particularly from people with similar situations. A preemptive thanks to those who help.

    I am uncomfortable around people socially. I have struggled with social anxiety and depression for a good few years, and I dare say for a long time even before I was diagnosed with them. I am most comfortable spending time with myself or my close family, I even feel uncomfortable at times around some of my best friends, and will often create setups where I see them in my family home.

    This is really unsustainable, because as much as I like being alone I hate being lonely and need people around me (contradictory I know!!). I am shortly going to move away from home to start a new job, it's in a place I don't know at all, and I don't know anyone locally. My friends, bizarrely, describe me as confident, bubbly and friendly (which doesn't seem at all familiar to me) but I am terrified I will end up crawling into my own shell and not making friends at all and becoming very depressed. This happened the first time I went to university so I know it's a possibility.

    I'd like to note that this is only a problem socially, I am very confident in the workplace, previously working on reception with ease and at university I was also fine in the classroom. I know what people expect of me in those situations, I don't know what they expect of me socially and it gets me very anxious.

    Does anyone have any advice on how I can train myself to be more comfortable around people. Anyone have experience of being successful.
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    I hate people and am very happy just the way I am sorry I cant help futher
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    (Original post by Anonymous)
    This is an issue I have struggled with most of my life, and I want to deal with it for a final time. I'm looking for advice particularly from people with similar situations. A preemptive thanks to those who help.

    I am uncomfortable around people socially. I have struggled with social anxiety and depression for a good few years, and I dare say for a long time even before I was diagnosed with them. I am most comfortable spending time with myself or my close family, I even feel uncomfortable at times around some of my best friends, and will often create setups where I see them in my family home.

    This is really unsustainable, because as much as I like being alone I hate being lonely and need people around me (contradictory I know!!). I am shortly going to move away from home to start a new job, it's in a place I don't know at all, and I don't know anyone locally. My friends, bizarrely, describe me as confident, bubbly and friendly (which doesn't seem at all familiar to me) but I am terrified I will end up crawling into my own shell and not making friends at all and becoming very depressed. This happened the first time I went to university so I know it's a possibility.

    I'd like to note that this is only a problem socially, I am very confident in the workplace, previously working on reception with ease and at university I was also fine in the classroom. I know what people expect of me in those situations, I don't know what they expect of me socially and it gets me very anxious.

    Does anyone have any advice on how I can train myself to be more comfortable around people. Anyone have experience of being successful.
    If you are OK at work, would you be OK going out socially with people you work with? Maybe if you saw it as having a purpose (even pretending), then you could manage better? You could set up a group too like a cinema/reading/anything club and then the social stuff before it would be leading somewhere and you would have something to talk about or start a conversation on. That might give you confidence to go further. You say you have friends too - what do you do with them? Sounds like you are fine around them.

    I'm not good with people either but I'm not good anywhere, at work, uni or socially. I think it might change if I was in a career rather than a job where it was what I wanted to do and was expert in, but I'm only hoping!
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    What it sounds like, you have a fake side and a real side.

    Your fake side is okay, because you only need to handle people on a fake level to a certain extent and you only have to deal with them so far (e.g. in a work environment and in a professional manner)... so your issue is your real side.

    I am guessing, but maybe you lack confidence? Maybe you think people won't accept what you have to say on things? Maybe you think your opinion is not important?

    As poster above mentioned, if you are already comfortable with your workmates, maybe you could just go out for a few drinks with them. If the conversation is an issue that makes you anxious, just let them discuss while you sit and listen. You don't have to be the centre of attention (as there is probably someone already who is good at that, there always is), but if you listen, then speak when spoken to, maybe it will give you greater confidence.
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    Can completely relate, I feel umcomfortable in social situations too and won't go to parties or even join conversations if my closest friend is there.

    I try to push myself a little each day and reward myself for it - I can't stand to approach someone first, but I know they appreciate it, so if I start talking to someone first or say hello etc. I reward myself by saying "When I get home, I'll treat myself to (insert yummy food here)"

    I need a lot of alone time too, but it does feel lonely.

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Updated: June 18, 2012
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