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Social Phobia: 6 Empowering Ways to Overcome Shyness Holding You Back

You can't conjure up the courage to go talk to him. Your social phobia is not allowing you to be a normal person in public. But what if it were as simple as making mental adjustments to be more social?

Social phobia

Are you ready to overcome the shyness holding you back from being the more sociable you?
It's possible for anyone to be a good public speaker, or a good conversationalist. It begins with understanding the basics of human psychology, and then it's just a matter of how badly you want to move past fear of rejection if that's what's stopping you from talking to people. Either way, don't doubt your abilities because everyone including you has it in them to have a healthy social life.

friends talking in square

How to eliminate social phobia

1. Conversation starters

Conversation starters to help break the silence and establish a common interest. This is key in social situations. Become comfortable by starting out small and working up.

2. Small talk

We with social phobias hate small talk. It accomplishes nothing but killing time. But it's necessary sometimes; know when to use it.

3. Ask questions

Ask questions to keep the other person talking so that you don't have to. Listening is a valuable trait that many people value. You can overcome your social phobia knowing this.

4. Body language

People's body language is far more indicative of how the conversation is going than just words. Pay attention to body language in order to boost your social awareness.

5. Group chat

Some of us have extreme fear of large groups of people. Too much stimulation can lead to someone with social phobia to shut down mentally. Learn how to prevent this from happening.

6. Be positive

Above all, don't sabotage yourself by thinking too much before talking. Practice to throw aside your ego and say what is on your mind. It won't kill you, I promise.

Social Phobia can Hold Many of Us Back from Realizing Our True Potential. After All, Social Skills are a Necessity to Succeed in Today's Society

There are true ways to conquer your fear of speaking or socializing of any sort. Trust yourself that you have the ability to change yourself for the better. Here's how to make it happen.

1. Practice some conversation starters

two hands putting together puzzle pieces

There is nothing more empowering than going into a conversation with another person with a solution to the puzzle of how to overcome social phobia — a definite plan in mind.
It's as simple as having a memorized list of lines in your head. Ice-breakers are the key to establishing comfort and report. Practice some conversation starters. They don't have to be interesting. Just something to ease the tension of silence. What this accomplishes is far greater than people give it credit for. Conversation starters are what establish common interests. You comment on something both of you are looking at; this is a common interest. And you don't have to be a skilled conversationalist to have a memorized set of conversation starters. This aspect of overcoming shyness and social anxiety is highly underrated.

Ask people for the time of day

If you are intent on turning around this social phobia soon before it becomes a social disorder, then make a pact that today you will ask ten random people for the time of day. You could pick people on the street, or on commute to work, anywhere really. Almost everyone you meet will have no problem giving you the time of day, since the access to the time is easily available. They might think you are a little strange or an out-of-towner for not having a watch or a cell phone on you, but that's alright. For the purpose of confidence-building, you want to practice this conversation-starter. As soon as you're comfortable with 10 per day, double it and keep doubling it until you have no problem talking to strangers.

2. Become comfortable with small talk

college students talking

The best advice on how to treat social anxiety is to start of small and master small talk. Small talk is things like "how are you?" and "nice weather, isn't it?". Small talk is used as common courtesy. They aren't usually about anything substantial; that's why it's called small talk. But small talk can also serve a very important purpose. Just like conversation starters, you should internalize some of these small talk questions or phrases and use them to fill in silence. Yes, small talk is boring. But think of it this way: chances are if you need to use small talk, it's because the other person isn't talking. So if they are boring and not making any effort, why should you? Have some small talk memorized so that you can use them to practice your conversation skills with boring people. Your social phobia will vanish as you use some of these basic conversational skills with a variety of types of people.

Get them talking

Small talk is crucial to break the ice and establish rapport. Small talking doesn't have to be extensive. It could be as simple as one rehearsed line to ease the tension. Jokes make excellent small talk. As long as you get the other person talking, that should ease your tension and make it easier to shift onto other topics. Let the conversation flow naturally after that. Small talk isn't meant to be natural; just a start to get them talking.

3. Shift the conversation to them

two people talking outside

If part of your social phobia is about being self-conscious about yourself, then the solution is to steer the conversation away from yourself and towards them. Don't risk talking too much and saying something stupid. Ask him questions about himself, and you won't even have to worry about talking. In fact, asking questions is the best social phobia treatment. It's very easy, and you don't even have to be interested in what they are saying to do it! It helps if you actually pay attention, so that you can use follow up questions to show him that you are listening. But if you aren't, then don't worry about it! Your primary concern should be to slowly eliminate your shyness. The more you talk, the less intimidating it will all seem.

Be interested in them

A clever little tactic used by those without any kind of mental health anxiety is to focus the conversation on the other person in order to take pressure off themselves. Sometimes conversation can be silent and feel awkward, and you feel the need to talk to fill the silence. This wouldn't be necessary if you kept asking the other person questions about themselves to show your interest level. Strangers would be more likely to open up to you if they saw that you were interested in them as people. And that is the secret to defeating your social phobia; genuinely care what people have to say. Let them talk about themselves for as long as they want.

4. Pay attention to body language

Body language indicates social cues that just spoken language cannot. People with social phobia have problems picking up on body language cues because they are only focused on themselves in a social context. But the more you talk to people, the more you notice, and the more you can react on it. Body language can often indicate whether he is interested, bored, or irritated. Learning how to pick up the body language signs is very beneficial to someone who has trouble listening to the person they are talking to. At the very least, you didn't pay attention to a word he said but you learned something about his personality just from observing the nervous energy given off from his erratic movements. This is an important part of getting social anxiety help.

Challenge your awareness

Sometimes all that's required in social interaction is some extra awareness to the subtle nuances that don't include spoken words. You can tell a lot more about a person from their body language than you can what they are saying. If you challenge yourself to get out and start talking to people, be sure to pay special attention to the way they are moving. You will get used to things that most people don't pay attention to, and thus you will be able to know what people are trying to tell you without having to rely on words.

5. Force yourself to attend group functions

One aspect of being a social creature is having the innate desire to be accepted among at least one social group. We as humans have a need to belong somewhere among people like ourselves. This is why you should force yourself into a group social context; even if the thought paralyzes you with fear. If you don't find treatment for social phobia sometime, it will only grow worse as you get older. You need to shock your system by exposing yourself to your worst fears. And you may be so fearful in a new group that you won't know what to do or say. This is why you should pick a social situation where you don't know anybody and have the choice of never seeing them again. You really have nothing to lose in this scenario. You can beat your social phobia all on your own with a little courage.

Conquer your phobia

Group functions are a great way to alleviate social fear and practice your mingling skills. The best way to conquer phobias is to face your fears head-on. What doesn't kill you makes you strong, they always say. There is some truth to that, as there is no way that talking to people will prove fatal. It's the fear that holds us back from doing things that we should. Because of those fears, we live a low-quality life. Don't let phobias control your life and start doing things that you wouldn't normally be comfortable doing. The result will be that you will no longer have that phobia. Social phobia disorder is an irrational fear because there is nothing to be afraid of. Just be polite, try not to offend people, and smile.

6. Leave the negativity at home

Being self-conscious is one of the main signs of social anxiety and paranoia in all of us. Our over-inflated sense of worth, our ego, can make us terrible conversationalists. In fact, it is the reason why many people have trouble making friends. It can make us seem boring, over-eager, and self-centered. We have a self-defeatist attitude when it comes to social situations. We sabotage ourselves by thinking about all the things that could go wrong before we even say a word to him. Social situations are easy when you can be patient and have a little optimism. Visualize what you want to gain from the conversation, and remember it when you frame the conversation around that. Don't talk just to talk; always be learning from your shyness, always be growing.

Be cautious about negative thoughts

Negativity has a way of putting our fears at the forefront of the conversation. You will always tend to lean towards negativity when socializing, and that's because your negative thoughts are leading you there. Socializing can be scary when you aren't able to control the words that are coming out of your mouth. You should understand that speaking to people who aren't your friends and family should be treated with caution. People don't want to hear about negative things no matter how true they are. This is why overcoming social phobia can be accomplished by leaving your negativity at the door and only contributing positive things to the conversation.

Social phobia and your impression

A good social phobia test to eliminate anxiety beforehand is to do a little bit of research. What do people like to talk about, and how can you get people comfortable around you? Because at the end of the day, the impression you make will stick with you. Your reputation depends on the type of person you convey yourself as.

By Kacia Nall

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