How do I get over my anxiety of talking to new people?

I'm socially awkward. I've always want to be popular. I've had the opportunity to be popular, but every time I get i,t I'm too scared. All I have to do is talk the popular people. They're really nice to me, but I'm too scared of change. I really want to work up the courage to lose my fear.

Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Kaileen McMickle, MS, LPC
Licensed Professional Counselor

Talking to people can be pretty scary.  When we talk to people, sometimes we overanalyze what we say or how we react in fear that we will seem weird or they won't like us, which makes us appear awkward.  So that overthinking piece can ironically work against us.

When you talk to them, really spend time to listen to what they are saying.  Your default may be to think about how you will respond or what's cool to say, but people like it best (usually) when you are genuine and yourself.  If you focus on what you are paying attention to (them), then you will naturally have a response.  If you can overthink about yourself, you can definitely have some thoughts pop up when talking to other people!

Also keep in mind that if the conversations turn out to be less than you'd hoped for, that's OK.  I'm assuming you are in high school, but in any situation with peers, if they don't like you then they aren't worth all your worry and effort.  

Give change a chance--you've endured change in your life before this, so let it happen again.  You are in control here--you get to choose who you talk to and don't talk to.  That can be powerful!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide.   If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Jessica Fealk, MA, LPC
Jessica Fealk, MA, LPC
www.dalycounseling.com (Michigan)

Give yourself credit here!  It sounds like you are liked and people want to get to know you!  

I would wonder with you, what is the self-talk going on when you get too scared to talk to people?  Those statements are probably connected to some core beliefs (I'm __________, I'll never __________, I'm not __________________, etc.), which probably need to be examined for truth and challenged!  

Often times, practice helps!  You could start by having a conversation with someone you already feel comfortable with, but talk about a topic you've never discussed before.  Next, you could strike up conversation with someone who is new to you, but for a brief time, like a cashier or waitress/waiter.   Keep taking steps towards practicing talking to new people, and build your skills and confidence with each conversation.  Sure, you'll probably feel awkward and uncomfortable and say some silly things, but you'll also probably say some brilliant things, and you're doing it!  Eventually, you'll probably feel more comfortable talking to the people who you'd like to talk to, without so much fear. 

Learning new things are tough!  Once you get some practice and confidence under your belt, you can get more and more comfortable with your abilities to talk to new people.  

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Amy Nolan
Amy Nolan
Your journey to wellness starts here!

Change can be uncomfortable, but sometimes those uncomfortable moments are the opportunity for us to be the person we feel we really are.  It sounds like you like to spend the time in your head anticipating the worst, why not be in the present and encourage yourself that you can talk to people and it will be okay.  By telling yourself it will not be okay, or that it will go wrong you are hurting your confidence to do what you want.  Give yourself some credit for being awesome and tell yourself you can build new friendships...it may be the motivation you need to move past this fear.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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