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Is it my issue or other peoples?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Ive been thinking recently, that i need to change, but the more i think about it the more i wonder why

Ive always been like this, im really quiet around new people. Im shy, nervous, and self concious. Im worse in big groups of people i dont know, but even if im only with 1 new person i'll still rarely talk unless spoken to first.

Its not that im rude, i just have nothing to say to new people that i dont know, which is understandable, right? Or not? I can have a conversation if people make an effort to involve me, and if i have something to say about the topic, but if not then i cant join in with the group

I frequently get asked if im ok (which yes i am, i just dont know you!), to cheer up (i dont need cheering up im perfectly happy being quiet, and im not going to sit here smiling non stop), and i just get the feeling that people who dont know me, generally dont like me because of all this. Ive been described frequently as "hard work" which im really not if you get to know me (but it will take months before i come out of my shell...)

So i was just wondering if anyone has any advice, i dont actually have a problem with the way I am, but i know that other people do, and because of this i now have a problem with it, because i dont like being sat there thinking that other people dont like me, or thinking they think im moody / unhappy / not having a good time

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It depends. I would say that you should only ever change because you want to, or you think it would benefit you. If people are saying you should be more outgoing because they feel uncomfortable with someone who is happy to keep themselves to themselves, then that's their problem. However, if your friends are encouraging you to get more involved and talk to more people, then it's probably because they care about you, and think that you'd feel better if you did.

    I think there are some benefits to generally being more outgoing. if someone's having a conversation about something in your presence that you feel you could contribute, then why not just give your opinion? If you're with a group of new people in a pub, then just socialise. Maybe go up to someone who seems like you, who probably won't speak until spoken to and speak to them. I'm quite happy to sit quietly myself, but I have much more fun when I'm a bit more outgoing, and it definitely helps build your confidence and learn how to express things in the way you want (which is really useful in loads of situations, and helps you to be taken more seriously). And it doesn't mean you have to change your personality at all.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    However, if your friends are encouraging you to get more involved and talk to more people, then it's probably because they care about you, and think that you'd feel better if you did

    thing is, its not my friends. Im fine around my friends because ive known them for ages

    But recently ive been around groups of 5 or more people and only know 1 of them already, he'll be happily contributing because its his friends but im the only person there who doesnt know anyone, they all know eachother and i feel majorly like a spare part :( same with his family, i stayed with them for a few days and they told him that im hard work and very quiet.

    im quite happy sat there listening to conversation and just smiling if something amuses me, but i know that other people think im having a bad time and that im just being some sort of stroppy stuck up bitch, which really isnt the case, but with first impressions i cant get myself across, people are going to cling on to those first impressions
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Blah : just to say, i'm exactly the same...so i dont have any advice, just that you're not the only one :P

    I read through the post and i was just like 'oh my god its me' lol
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Blah wrote:
    Its not that im rude, i just have nothing to say to new people that i dont know, which is understandable, right? Or not? I can have a conversation if people make an effort to involve me, and if i have something to say about the topic, but if not then i cant join in with the group

    id have thought there would be lots to say to new people, you dont know anything about them so that gives you a lot of conversation topics to cover!
    i think its natural to be shy around new people, but even so it sounds as though you expect them to make more of an effort than you yourself do, so maybe thats why people get the wrong impression.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    H-face wrote:
    Blah : just to say, i'm exactly the same...so i dont have any advice, just that you're not the only one :P

    I read through the post and i was just like 'oh my god its me' lo
    me too hun x
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Kat_B wrote:
    id have thought there would be lots to say to new people, you dont know anything about them so that gives you a lot of conversation topics to cover!
    i think its natural to be shy around new people, but even so it sounds as though you expect them to make more of an effort than you yourself do, so maybe thats why people get the wrong impression.

    its not that i always expect other people to make the effort, but when im the only new person in the group, and everyone else already knows eachother, and are messing around and having pointless chat like friends do which i know nothing about, i find it realyl hard and im happy to just stay quiet

    I know that when im with a group of friends and theres a new person who's probably feeling uncomfortable, i will make loads of effort to speak to them because i know what its like, having my own friends around me gives me the confidence to talk more

    Im much less bad when its 1 on 1, and i will actively make an effort
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It can be annoying when you're hanging around people who are talking about something which only they know about. But it sounds to me like you want to get involved, so make sure that when the conversation is about something you can contribute to, chip in. I wouldn't say I would look more favourably on someone who speaks a bit more when you first meet them, it's just that I'd more likely to actually be able to form an opinion about someone (which in most cases equates to "yeah, she was nice").
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I really know how you're feeling, and I guarantee you you're by far not the only one feeling like this. I've been like that for the past three years, rarely socialising and finding it hard to actually engage in conversations - especially with new, unacquainted people. I've stayed quiet for my life, not bothering about the consequences of being alone. It sounds exaggerated, but I feel that in conversations, i have nothing to add - nothing worthy to be said. It only ends up in i'm the taciturn, depressed teenager who probably self-harms himself and the others having a great time. Bah for that! :(

    However, note that this is only for people i haven't acquainted myself with properly. Take my confirmation, for example, a group of 12 people - i know none of them. For all of the lessons, i've stayed quiet unless we're having some sort of group activity. I just don't know what i should say to them! Whenever i try, i just embarrass myself, with "strange / unaccepted" words. Instead, i deprive myself of the happiness of socialising, because i'm afraid of embarrassing myself, or say something wrong.

    And on top of that, i dont particularly like people i don't know.

    Sorry for trying to steal the attention... this is not my thread. My advice is to say whatever comes to your mind, not pondering too much on what's "right" and what's "wrong" to say. Also, try to start a new topic - the starter always gets to say the most, as far as i'm concerned. It might be you don't have anything in common with the people you hung out with... just a thought.
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    I'm pretty much the same... And also it's rare that I'll find people who speak about something I know about (most of them tend to speak about football or cars half of the time).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think you just described me blah.
    I am the same but have found myself pushing myself more, and make more of an effort as it's hard to make frends otherwise. I find it hard though as most of the time i am pretty quiet and happy being that.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Im exactly the same hun.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Well im glad im not the only one

    For everyone that's not quiet around new people, if there was someone new in your group of friends for the night, and they didnt say / do much, what would be your first impression of them? And would it prevent you from wanting to get to know them in the future?
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    Blah wrote:
    But recently ive been around groups of 5 or more people and only know 1 of them already, he'll be happily contributing because its his friends but im the only person there who doesnt know anyone, they all know eachother and i feel majorly like a spare part :( same with his family, i stayed with them for a few days and they told him that im hard work and very quiet.

    im quite happy sat there listening to conversation and just smiling if something amuses me, but i know that other people think im having a bad time and that im just being some sort of stroppy stuck up bitch, which really isnt the case, but with first impressions i cant get myself across, people are going to cling on to those first impressions

    Hi Blah,
    First off, I think it was really insensitive of your friend to tell you that his family thought you were hard work - way to knock your confidence and make you feel crap!

    Secondly - it can be hard for anyone (quiet or shy) to make a "good impression" on a whole new group of people. So don't be too harsh on yourself. The following approaches may be worth considering -

    1. You can aim to make at least one or two new friends/connect with at least one person in a group by listening for something that they say which you identify with and then picking them up on it later. Just by having a proper conversation with one person can make you feel more confident and included.

    2. Ask people questions!! People love to talk about themselves :) Not only does this take some pressure off you to talk about yourself, but it also shows that you are interested, intelligent and friendly.

    3. If people ask you questions, try not to give closed answers and do elaborate as much as possible. If it's relevant, ask the same question back.

    4. This option is slightly more intimidating, but if you try and aim to just briefly talk to everyone in the group one by one, just by asking them what they're doing (work/study etc) and how they know the other people in the group, it will give you a better idea of the group as a whole, make for a fun experience and last but not least, give a good impression.

    Hope this helps :)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Blah wrote:
    Well im glad im not the only one

    For everyone that's not quiet around new people, if there was someone new in your group of friends for the night, and they didnt say / do much, what would be your first impression of them?
    I'd just think they were quiet. If someone asked me what she was like, I'd say "I dunno, didn't talk to her that much".
    Blah wrote:
    And would it prevent you from wanting to get to know them in the future?
    Wouldn't make me ignore them or anything, but I might have more trouble remembering them. Of the people that I've known in the past, but only hung out a couple of times, it is some of the more talkative ones that I like the most. It is also some of the more talkative ones that I find most annoying. But at least I can have an opinion of them.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Blah wrote:

    But recently ive been around groups of 5 or more people and only know 1 of them already, he'll be happily contributing because its his friends but im the only person there who doesnt know anyone, they all know eachother and i feel majorly like a spare part

    That just about sums up how it was when i first starting meeting some of my ex's friends. Some of them were lovely and chatted away to me about general shite (which is always good as it's light, fluffy and melts the ice). But urgh some of the others were really ignorant and just left me sitting there on my own or talking about so and so's do etc. I don't think some of them realised they were doing it but some of them you could tell just couldn't be arsed to make the effort. I ended up staying really quiet and just watching everyone. Hard work - damn right and proud of it :D

    But basically what i'm trying to say is don't worry too much as i'm one of those people who will chat shite with anyone but in some situations even i am quiet and withdrawn. It's give and take so if people don't help you out then it's not your fault for withdrawing more.

    To go to your question about people being quiet if i'm out with friends. I try and draw them into the group no matter how hard it is because i know how it feels to be left on the fringe of a group and i don't want anyone to feel out of place. All of my friends are like this to so our group is a pretty expanding one due to this ;) 9/10 times you can tell the difference between someone being quiet through shyness/nerves etc. and someone who is quiet because they don't want to be there or think you're all arseholes.
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,235 Listening Ear
    Carolina wrote:
    It's give and take so if people don't help you out then it's not your fault for withdrawing more.

    To go to your question about people being quiet if i'm out with friends. I try and draw them into the group no matter how hard it is because i know how it feels to be left on the fringe of a group and i don't want anyone to feel out of place. All of my friends are like this to so our group is a pretty expanding one due to this ;) 9/10 times you can tell the difference between someone being quiet through shyness/nerves etc. and someone who is quiet because they don't want to be there or think you're all arseholes.

    :yes: very true.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I am exactly the same too. I can be loud in a group with people i know but when I dont know the people or its a very big group, I am just really quiet.

    All my life people have said they thought i was snobby or uninterested in what they had to say and i get asked if i'm alright or if i'm tired or told to cheer up so often it really annoys me. I am interested, and I am listening, I just dont feel the urge to talk until I really have something to say.

    The way I have been trying to improve it when out with groups of people I dont know is to try and make a conversation with one person out of the group. I am quiet when it comes to talking to the group as a whole but i am quite happy to talk to each person one on one so I try to start like that now, just start a conversation with the one person sitting next to me or something.

    Also I find that if I start thinking like oh god i am being too quiet, what are they thinking of me etc etc, it just makes it worse so I try to relax and focus on trying to enjoy myself, not impress anyone else.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I've been trying to improve my social skills for a few years now, and am much less shy than I was. But I still have a problem with this. When everybody knows everybody else, and you just know one person. But I find it depends a lot on the group in question. As long as they make the effort then I'm fine. But they usually don't.

    Which is a shame because, except for the people at work, none of my friends know any of my other friends. And I often find myself in this kind of situation.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You might want to try googling Social Anxiety Disorder, it's something I have battled with for a long time..... see if you recoginse yourself from what you read.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I have a couple of friends who always claim that no-one makes the effort with them because they judge them before they've got to know them or whatever. The other week, I brought another friend out with us, and what did they do? They didn't say a single word to her all night, or make any effort to involve her in the conversation, and she had to do all the work with some help from me. Then later on, when she'd left, they started giving it all this shit about her being up herself, and stupid, and stuff like that when they hadn't said two words to her all night. She's a bit of a girly girl with the odd blonde moment, but she's not stupid once you get to know her. The only thing I can think of is that they'd formed an opinion about her in the first five seconds of meeting her, and didn't want to take the time to let her prove it wrong.

    What I would say is that you're always going to get judgemental twats (but then who gives a shit what they think of you), but always try to get involved nonetheless, and don't become a judgemental twat yourself in the meantime. Make the effort to talk to everyone, and the ones that are worth your time will make the effort back.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Make the effort to talk to everyone, and the ones that are worth your time will make the effort back.

    :yes: That's the bare bones of it all, in my opinion.

    It's difficult for pretty much everyone when they're thrown into a social dynamic with only one person they know and a whole load of strangers, and it's very tempting to latch onto the person already known to you and hope someone else will make the effort. But everyone knows everyone and you're the odd one out then chances are they'll make do with their existing company if you don't make a bit of an effort, I've always found that once you start chatting to someone about anything (and really, the possibilities for random conversation are endless) it breeds new conversation and new interest in the stranger in the group. Of course, it doesn't always work so happily and like I'm With Stupid said the ones that are worth your effort will repay that effort. The ones who aren't, won't, and are probably twats. But don't let that put you off!

    As to whether you actually need to change your personality, it's a toughie. I'd immediately say that if you're happy with yourself - well your social interaction in particular - then don't change a thing and chalk it up to the fact you're not one of those "get along with any old one" people. However, it's obviously troubling you a little. You don't have to change your entire personality - your existing, close friends prove that you don't have a problem with friendships and socialising. So maybe just try and be a little bit more open (while obviously keeping yourself back if you don't feel comfortable spilling your life story on first meeting) and actively interested in the conversation around you. It sounds shit to essentially say "pretend you're more interested than you are" but people do often mistake shyness and awkwardness in a new situation for boredom or aloofness and then they get the wrong end of the stick. It's unfortunate, but definitely true, and even I've made that judgement about the more shy of my [now] friends before getting to know them. I've always been one to make a hell of an effort, so can get along with pretty much anyone and even have a bash at drawing the shyest people out of their shell... not that they always appreciate those efforts. Ah, it's a minefield ;)

    Anyway, bottom line is that it's a little of your problem and a little of everyone else's. Try and enjoy new company for what it is, they mightn't become new best mates but they more than likely have some good craic and with a little effort from both sides you'll probably start to have a lot more fun in such situations. G'luck! :thumb:
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