February 10, 2019 at 1:21 pm #279585
Hello fellow seekers, I’m happy to be back writing on tinybuddha. I want to thank you for the answers on previous posts and I especially want to thank (Anita) for helping me through my past confusions. I would love some help regarding speaking and keeping conversation since I have had difficulty in this area and it is really affecting my self-esteem, confidence, and security.
I think I should tell you a little about myself before I address my issue. I am a semi-confident guy, i have a couple of good friends, I’m gay and recently came out to my whole family and friends. They all accept me for who i am and I’m glad that nobody took it the wrong way. I love performing magic, it is my passion and i can feel that i am meant to be on stage but to accomplish that i have to work on my social abilities, i love the pressure and nervousness of being at the center of attention for a moment. A lot has happened over the last year but something which I have been gaining more awareness of is what and how i speak, and i am in some trouble. My main problem is that sometimes i go blank in a conversation, and i literally have nothing to talk about and i start feeling extremely anxious and don’t know how to get out of it. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes i can be very outgoing, telling great jokes, talking freely and i can feel how spontaneously my thinking and talking flows but other times i literally can be with my friend having a great time, talking and relating on a deeper level and suddenly i can feel this trigger creeping in on me and i feel negative inside of me and i cannot think of anything to say and soon my friend or friends notice it subconsciously and start acting defensive and cautious which is a vicious loop which feeds my feeling of rejection which ends up feeding my insecurity about the situation. I have been working on my anxiety and it has lessened, but the problem about knowing what to talk about still remains. My other connected issue with talking is that i sometimes can’t stop thinking about what i am going to say next, and this can be a variety of situations but especially with my best friend who happens to be spiritually knowledgable. Because of my spiritual practice i try to be in the moment as much as possible and being spontaneous but i can’t help thinking about stupid things like what i will say when i meet my friend, how will i greet him, will i say ”hi” or ”good day” or maybe hello etc etc. I have the same problem when im going to leave him and go home, i feel like have to think about what to say and what kind of goodbye i should say to him. Maybe i give a hug, maybe i just shake hands, or what about just saying cya and patting him on the shoulder. This kind of thing makes me crazy and whenever i do say goodbye or greet my friend or friends it feels programmed, unnatural and comes out in an awkward way which my friend can feel. On top of this im dealing with some feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and self-doubt which comes and goes, i am fed up with these cyclical feelings and problems which makes me feel i can’t trust myself. Automatically i start thinking about what i will talk about this time, do i have enough conversation topics so it won’t run out. Sometimes i have backup topics, whenever i run out of things to talk about. I know that i should just be spontaneous and the topics will arise by themselves but it does not work all the time and i feel very selfish when i go blank and depend on my friends to initiate discussions which i can engage in. I want to look forward to meeting my friends, instead, i feel worried, nervous and anxious whenever anyone asks me to meet them, i know i need people to develop social skills but i really don’t know why i almost feel scared to meet my friends. I think way too much about what and how i should talk and don’t know how to stop listening to this crap in my head, sometimes this critic inside of my head start thinking in mid-conversation and i start getting thoughts while im talking about how stupid i sound, or that i sound like im boasting or talking too fast or too slow or that they can see my bullshit through my eyes which ends up ruining what im saying completely.
Thank you in beforehand, i hope you have some wisdom to share about this thing.February 10, 2019 at 3:44 pm #279607
I am an introvert. I will suggest two things that has helped me in conversations.
1) Be curious. Be present. Be a good listener. People like to be asked and talk about themselves. Ask questions about people’s lives, their work, their hobbies, their passions, their activities, etc. Make and keep eye contact and be present for them. This helps being focused on the other person and in the present moment.
2) Take an improv class. They teach you about being spontaneous, in the moment, and having fun. I loved it. This gets you out of your head.
MarkFebruary 11, 2019 at 8:47 am #279699
Welcome back and congratulations for coming out to all your family and friends as a gay man. Next to do is to bring out of you the authentic person that you are, bring him out in the context of family and friends.
You don’t know how to greet a friend authentically. Why don’t you practice in front of a mirror when you are alone, take your time and practice. Greet this way, see how you look and sound when you do. Try a different way. Which greeting do you approve/ feel comfortable with? Choose the one and practice it in front of the mirror or film yourself so that you can watch and hear yourself.
Next practice with the friend, again and again. If you feel comfortable with a particular friend, you can do the whole choosing of the greeting and practicing with the friend’s help.