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Forums » Smalltalk » How to Communicate with Shyness and Anxiety

I'm slowly returning to RPR, and getting used to being social. However, I have one issue that's kept me from dipping my foot back in and participating in the fun.

...I am shy. Extremely shy.

I'm an anxious person, and always clam up in awkward embarrassment when I run out of topics to talk about. I've also developed a fear of oversharing since I've been jaded by people not caring about me or what I have to say.

How do I overcome this and start interacting with people again? I'm not only asking for my sake, but for others going through similar problems.
Anxious person here! It's really hard, what happens to me a lot is that when a person takes days or weeks to answer a role, my anxiety shoots up thinking that they hate me or that what I'm doing is wrong. Those things have made me unable to start roleplaying or not encouraged to talk to someone with whom I would like to roleplay.

What I do a lot is try to humanize the person behind the screen, to know that they are human like me, and that they do not know me as a person to hate me just like that. I also try not to be on the page all the time, so I try to do other activities while waiting for the answer.

Sure someone has better advice than me, but I would also love to read it to get more tips lol
Hello my friend! I’m also a super anxious person and have a ton of social anxiety, so I understand completely. :)

When I come to a situation where I get anxious for a friend to respond or something like that, I start doing a thing called Mindfulness. Mindfulness is exactly what you assume it is; to be mindful.

Checking the facts of a situation is mindful. Let’s say someone hasn’t messaged you in a week and you need to check the facts, the facts could be:
- they haven’t messaged in a while.
- They could be busy
- Maybe internet issues?
- personal issues came up?

Thinking they don’t like you is intrusive thinking. I get a LOT of intrusive thoughts daily and checking thr facts of a situation helps. After you check the facts, you ask yourself, what can you do to help with these facts? Maybe message them again and be like, “hey.. you okay man?” Or something like that.

Another thing I do is being mindful of the thought. It’s a thought. Not a fact. You thought that they don’t like you, that doesn’t mean it’s true. Taking the time to realize what your thinking is just a thought and something conjured in your mind helps a lot—well, for me at least. You had the thought they don’t like you.. well, everyone thinks things. Everyone in our lifetime has thought something that isn’t true or is weird.. it doesn’t make it a fact!

I hoped this help. I’m not good at describing ways to help people, but I tried my best. <3
As someone who is extremely introverted and diagnosed with severe anxiety disorder, chronic depression, and ADHD this is something I find myself still struggling with even as I do my best to remain social. It's a difficult task when I've gone reclusive for a little while, be it any number of weeks, months, or even just short terms for days. It can make branching back out into social structures overwhelming and induce anxiety attacks or bouts of depression hit me pretty hard right after I jump in and do my best.

I approach these things in a few different ways, because I found that trying it the same way every time didn't always help me the best. Variety in efforts is important, so I hope my advice is helpful to you too.

The first way I initially try and return to social interaction is what I call the "cold pool water" attempt. Most of the time when we get into a pool we either try easing ourselves in or we just plunge in and just get the water over our heads (or most of the body anyway) to start acclimating to the colder temperature. This can also be like the usual "rip it off like a bandaid" method.
  • Try and jump in quickly, reach out to people even when you're feeling nervous about it, and just try to get the first interactions started. You don't have to be super excited, but just sending someone a "Hey there, it's been awhile" or "Hey there, I'm a bit shy but I'd like to chat!" can usually get the ball rolling in 1x1 conversations. I find this method usually works best for me with just getting the conversations started and getting used to starting conversations even if the conversations don't last very long.
    • Letting people know that you're feeling anxious or shy and have trouble maintaining conversations is definitely not oversharing and can also help encourage those you converse with to help you in keeping things going without the uncertain awkward pauses where neither of you is sure why the conversation ended or became difficult to continue.

Due to my ADHD and other traumas it's actually fairly common for me to accidentally overshare personal life information which is actually a "symptom" or "sign" of traumas in your life. Regardless of what you, or anyone, deems as the 'severity' of any initial trauma this a fairly common coping mechanism for people who have suffered from different traumas in their life. I hope that you don't feel ashamed of your oversharing, because it has been a tool that has helped you in the past. However, while it isn't the most appropriate coping mechanism, it has still been a tool in your arsenal.

The way that I'm trying to explain this is that coping mechanisms we have, be they appropriate responses or inappropriate responses given each situation they're used in, are tools we have at the time. They may not always serve us to help us, but they were what we had and what we knew. As we grow we get different tools, learn new skills, learn how to use our new tools and grow to find which tools still help and which tools no longer help.

I've learned to better maintain my oversharing coping mechanism by first asking the person I'm talking to "Would you be okay if I shared something personal with you that I find relates to the conversation? It's okay to say no, I understand if you're not in a place to hear my experiences." This gives the person I'm talking to a chance to voice their boundary about what they can handle having shared with them. You can also reword this when it doesn't relate to a topic and ask "Are you in a place where I can share something personal with you? It is a stressful topic, so I understand if you're not in a place to have these things shared with you right now."

Asking these questions also gives me time to run through my thoughts a few times to ensure that I can word what I want to say with as little chance as possible for it to be translated into something inappropriate.

Another method I use for re-entering social situations is by slowly joining group discussions in different discord servers, or forum topics, in order to ease my way into having conversations with people again without directly jumping into intensive 1x1 conversations where things can get awkward if I stop giving my input or half of the conversations. This gives me leeway to slide in and out of conversations without awkward pauses or gaps in response times where I might leave another person questioning things in the same ways that I might question their quietness.

Just remember to be patient with yourself and don't set yourself any kind of time limits or time frames as to when you "shouldn't" be shy anymore, or "should" be capable of holding lots of social interactions.

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