For the past year or so, I’ve gone through a lot of change. Mainly involuntarily.
I’m not even trying to change, but it’s happening so much, so fast.
For the most part, it’s a good thing. It’s just a bit confusing, since a lot of the things I thought kind of defined me before are starting to fade away.
I always just automatically considered myself to be a shy person, and I still kind of do. There were only certain people I ever really talked to. I had a pretty awkward relationship with the other 99% of people I knew.
The thought of interacting with strangers still scares me; I do realize the irony of saying that online, when majority of the people who are reading this are strangers anyway, but real life is different. Making an order at a restaurant, asking questions at a store, and even ordering pizza through the phone, put me into this state of panic. I hear my thoughts screaming to me, “Abort mission! Abort mission!”, and, most of the time, I follow. I force someone else to do it for me, or just don’t do it at all, effectively starving me or costing me a good opportunity in the process.
Pretty pathetic, I know.
My situation with strangers is improving though, but only barely.
So what’s the big difference?
Well, before, I actually considered a lot of people to be strangers to me – classmates, relatives, acquaintances – I treated them all like strangers. So when faced with the possibility of social interaction with any of these “strangers”, I go into panic mode again, and I either silence myself or just leave, if I can.
It used to take a lot to get out of that “stranger” bubble – like you had to be my best friend or a member of my family for me to be talkative around you.
My stranger bubble has shrunk though; I don’t treat a lot of these people like strangers anymore. I treat them like friends, so I find myself being talkative around a lot more people now a lot more often than I did before.
The past few months, people have been saying things about me that I never thought anyone would. People I’ve known for a long time are saying things like, “Aren’t you supposed to be quiet?”, and “You’re so noisy pala!” Even people I’ve only met recently are asking, “Is she always like this? Is she really this happy and talkative all the time?”
It’s weird, but it’s great.
I used to be the “emotionless” girl. The quiet girl. The awkward girl.
But now, apparently, I’m talkative, happy and noisy.
I even have a few friends now that are telling me that they used to look at me in a certain way, and that they were pleasantly surprised to find out that I wasn’t actually a snob, that I wasn’t actually anti-social, or that I wasn’t actual scary (and yes, a friend of mine did tell me that he thought I was scary before).
When I think about it though, from the outside looking in, I probably would’ve appeared to be all of those things, because I probably was – the keyword being, “was”.
I can relate to this, quite a lot. I still can’t help but think of myself as shy, even though in most everyday situations I’m not really shy at all any more. It’s strange, but it’s a good thing, especially since I’ll be starting university in a few months and I’ll have to talk to a lot of new people.
Oh my god… I thought I was alone. Growing up, I hated interacting with random people… same exact situations: checking out at the store, paying the pizza boy, using the phone for anything else but to talk to family…. I’d always make my mom do these things for me… ordering in a restaurant never bothered me though. Maybe because I like food so much? XD
But yeah, though it still isn’t fully gone, I’ve noticed that I’ve overcome it for the most part. People don’t think I’m intimidating anymore. It just takes time and experience. Lots of experience.
I’m glad you’re overcoming these obstacles, and that the impact on your life seems to be positive. This is what you want, isn’t it? XD
In order to feel better (because I had the same problem and slightly do) I ended up taking anti anxiety medication. Though I couldn’t breathe when I talked to people, even people I considered friends. It was very bad and suffocating.
I’m glad that you are overcoming these fears ;D
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