The Student Room Group

I have serious problems with my social skills

When I'm one-on-one with someone random I am fine, I can talk a decent amount, and when I am with a close relative/friend I don't shut up.

BUT when I'm with a guy I'm attracted to or someone my age even, I go bright red and can't talk properly. Rarely it will be okay if I'm reallyyy not attracted to them, but majority of the time I fumble. I'm guessing that's just nerves and stuff because I like guys, but it's ruined relationships/talking stages in the past because I get told I'm too shy and they don't think I'm interested, or I'm bad on dates (I think I feel pressured so I can't talk).

My biggest issue is when there's more than one person. (Doesn't happen with my immediate family though) (Can't talk to my extended family :/) One-on-ones are perfect but as soon as someone else enters the conversation I honestly go completely mute. I can't speak a word, so I just sit there awkwardly laughing/smiling until someone says something directly to me, and even then I'll give a one word answer. I can't speak in any situation with more than one person, even when I'm with two close people. E.g., if my friend comes round I won't be able to talk (my mum understands me and my problems so makes these encounters very short for me lol).

It's causing me a real issue as I've been like this for probably around 10 years now, it didn't matter as much when I was much younger; I got told I'll grow out of it and be more confident, but I'm 21 now and it's still crippling my life. I have tried therapy 4 times, they are useless they just say oh write on this sheet what you're feeling. I don't know if there are drugs that can work but I don't wanna just be put on sertraline or whatever because that will probably not work and have side effects.

I can only talk normally in (small) groups when I'm drunk, which I know is normal. BUT, if the group gets bigger, my anxiety is SO POWERFUL it takes over and I am mute again, no matter how drunk I am. I should probably be medically studied for having the most powerful, debilitating anxiety on the planet.

I have been diagnosed with social anxiety so I say it's that but I don't have a fear of social situations - I'd love to be confident and social and have a billion friends, it's just when I'm in the situation I die.


Anyone got any ideas whatsoever? Therapy and drugs won't work so what else is there? Electric shock therapy to rewire my brain? Should I just live in a cave and die alone? My life suckkksss.
Reply 1
Also, I don't even know what's going on because I can do some things some people with anxiety can't do. I can 85% of the time order food at a counter, I've been to the cinema on my own a few times, I take public transport on my own regularly (not taxis though) (Ik this is normal for most people), I recently went to three shows which were very awkward for me because they were interactive and I didn't feel comfortable getting up and dancing and singing etc) but I still went and did some clapping). But I wouldn't eat in a restaurant alone (really want to build up the confidence to do this), and I can't make phone calls at all.

So idk if it can be classed as social anxiety? Just extreme shyness in only a few specific social situations? IDK WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME
Reply 2
Original post by fudgeyx
Also, I don't even know what's going on because I can do some things some people with anxiety can't do. I can 85% of the time order food at a counter, I've been to the cinema on my own a few times, I take public transport on my own regularly (not taxis though) (Ik this is normal for most people), I recently went to three shows which were very awkward for me because they were interactive and I didn't feel comfortable getting up and dancing and singing etc) but I still went and did some clapping). But I wouldn't eat in a restaurant alone (really want to build up the confidence to do this), and I can't make phone calls at all.

So idk if it can be classed as social anxiety? Just extreme shyness in only a few specific social situations? IDK WHAT'S WRONG WITH ME

idk sounds to me like social anxiety or just not being open to strange people, not to be rude but if you don't go to idk where try to find like social clubs,friends of friends stuff like that.or you might just be an introvert just like me,it is not a bad thing you just don't like opening up to stanger, but believe it gets away with practice
Reply 3
Original post by Anonymous
idk sounds to me like social anxiety or just not being open to strange people, not to be rude but if you don't go to idk where try to find like social clubs,friends of friends stuff like that.or you might just be an introvert just like me,it is not a bad thing you just don't like opening up to stanger, but believe it gets away with practice

I try to go to clubs at my uni, when I go to places on my own I can easily talk to strangers, but when it comes to being in a group I go mute. I have some confidence, I'm not afraid of social situations like I want to be social and I love going to social events like parties, shows, concerts etc., I just can't talk. I'm like a mute/shy extrovert idk
I am in no way a medical professional, and this diagnosis should be treated with caution as a result, but to me it sounds like you are suffering from selective mutism. Selective mutism is defined by the NHS as "an anxiety disorder where a person is unable to speak in certain social situations, such as with classmates at school or to relatives they do not see very often. It usually starts during childhood and, if left untreated, can persist into adulthood". I would seriously consider looking into this, and potentially trying to get support/therapy for this condition. But regardless, the biggest takeaway is this: You are not broken, and whatever this condition is, it doesn't define you. Hope this helps!
Edit: A pop culture example of this condition would be Raj from The Big Bang Theory, who suffered from selective mutism and could only talk to women when he was drunk. This might help you understand where your behaviour is coming from, or gain some insight into how this behaviour is viewed from a third party perspective.
(edited 11 months ago)
Reply 5
What kind of therapies have you tried?

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