Anxiety and Depression Support
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New here, appreciate tips for social anxiety

I often feel stupid or silly when I act like myself around others, even close friends. I crave social interaction, but I usually stress out about every little thing and worry that people won't like me. In the end, I think I'm so reserved due to a fear of be perceived negatively, that I am seen as boring. In fact, I am becoming boring. I don't know what to say or what I can talk about. I just want to laugh and get a long with people, but can barely make myself respond to things others say much less come up with something on my own to keep the conversation rolling. Anyone else who can relate to this, please give advice.

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Oh my gosh I feel you so much. I don’t know what to suggest. I have lost myself and my voice. I don’t speak because I feel like no one wants to hear what I have to say. It’s so very difficult . I am sure you are perfectly charming. Maybe we just have tier wrong audience.

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It's good to know I'm not alone, but I'm sorry you're going through it too. Not sure when it happened...it seems to have been a slow process. And even around people who I know love and accept me. Like you said, I've lost my voice. I can stick to social scripts, but beyond that, I don't know what to say anymore.

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Probably the best way to break through all this anxiety is to ask someone a sincere question about themselves. Then just let the natural back-and-forth of the conversation flow naturally.

Remember: You can't TRY to have a good time, but you can have a good time. You can't TRY to relax, but you can just forget about yourself, get into the conversation, and relax.

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I've tried this strategy and it at least will keep a conversation flowing. I seem to struggle when I'm in a group of people and there are lots of interruptions because then flow of conversation is lost. I don't know how to interject witty quips like other people, so I just sit back and try to laugh at it, all the while feeling like i don't fit in because these people are so much smarter and funnier than me. How do I become more playful and witty?

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You should not try to become more playful and witty. It will appear phony. Be yourself. I know this is easy to say and hard to do. Faux has some good thoughts below.

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Why would you need to do that? Sometimes people like more people to listen- we have two ears and one mouth.

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Fair point. Sometimes I wonder if I feel this way because my husband and all of our friends just happen to be exceptionally witty and funny. I want to be apart of the playful banter. But I suck at it. But you're right, we need all types of people.

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I hope you can talk to your husband about this- remember he married YOU not his friends.

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I have before, he just makes a joke out of everything (go figure). But he's kind to me and reassures me most of the time. Just my own internal struggle.

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This is just my opinion- but making a joke out of someone's feeling does not sound too cool to me. You dealt with your parents favoritism , now you're dealing with this. That is good he is reassuring too- but making a joke should not be part of the picture.

Also, why was he crocheting with you- I mean what was he trying to prove? I hope he was not trying to compete with you. I wanted to mention also- I have been to some pow wows some years back- really cool.

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Yeah..I get mad about it sometimes. Because he does get competitive. He isn't the most sensitive person. He's actually very caring and kind, but sometimes just doesn't know what to say or realize that he's hurt my feelings. But then again, I'm a pretty sensitive person. He's supportive of me being apart of this support group, I think because it eases the burden on him.

How did you find a pow wow? I want to go!

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This was many many years ago- we just happened to know some tribal people. I do not know about online.

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I am sorry your feeling kind of left out and unsure of what to say and do around people. But one thing I would suggest is, find groups who have the same interests as you. I was a geek, so I was definitely awkward and weird, was told to dumb myself down so I could fit in with the average crowd more...well.....I found the science club and it was heaven to finally be able to speak geek. The same too with art....I have always loved multi-media, and artists are often kind of odd balls too...so....maybe you can find people with more of your same interests, that way you definitely would maybe feel a bit more like you fit in. I found most people who all followed each others dress code, what was or wasn't cool, did all the cool stuff...I found them boring actually....so don't give up hope...plus you can always share here, these are nice people and very kind.....

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Thank you, I think you're right about that. The truth is, I need to explore my interests more. I dabble in so much but never master anything because I'm so afraid of failure. It's a vicious circle. Do you know of any websites where you can explore different interest groups like that?

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Try meetup.com. I did, and I found a bunch of different things to do in my area.

And when you're with a large group, it's good to keep your comments shorter, because you have more "competition" for the same attention.

Sometimes you can't say much because you know nothing about the topic. I was with some people the other day that were talking about skydiving. I don't know (or care) anything about skydiving, so I mostly listened.

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You are writing and living my own truth. Word for word my life is the same. No matter what I do, I’m anxious and nervous even with my meds. I do try to stretch myself occasionally but always end up nervous and anxious even with the nicest people.

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Maybe you could try another med combination? But I think for me it's more of a self-esteem issue. No meds can fix that. I have taken some that made me just not care, and that was nice, but I didn't like altering myself so much. I just want to get to a healthy point where I can accept that not everyone will like me. And that the right people will. I understand this on a logical level, but struggle with it all the same. Barb, maybe we can challenge ourselves to say exactly what's on our mind once a day, or even once a week, and share our results?

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Why are you preassuring yourself to master something? That sounds like a job. If you are referring to job skills, then that is something different. If you are referring to interests or passions- do what comes naturally - if you feel forced the situation probably is. Plus- try to feel comfortable being with your own company. There is something called meetup also. Volunteering is also a great way to meet people because of a common purpose .

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I think it stems from living in my older sister's shadow. She was always naturally talented at whatever she pursued. Our parents sang her praises all through childhood and still do. They constantly talk about her to me to this day. And my sister was hyper critical of everything I did. Like even breathing and chewing. She was awful to me. My parents tried to stop it but it didn't work. So I feel hopeless at pursuing anything because I know it won't be good enough. When I do try to be creative, I prefer to do it alone so that I can't compare my results with anyone else. It's a bit lonely living that way, but I don't know how else to try things.

I am going to try meetup for sure.

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I can relate to that. I’m always worried that my friends will think I’m weird and stop talking to me, etc. What helped me was joining groups at my college and kind of pushing myself to interact. Asking a lot of questions can help keep people engaged, and even when you don’t know what to say it’s nice to just smile and say something like “Yeah” or “I understand”

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That's awesome that you joined some groups. Lately I've been struggling to find courage to talk to the cashier. I do the nod and smile with affirming words thing a lot, but I guess I just worry that I'm boring because I'm so agreeable all the time? When people describe me, it's with words like "pleasant" and "professional" and "poised." But I actually have a really weird silly side that I'm just afraid to let out. So I never really feel like myself.

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I had the same issue when I was younger. When talking to cashiers I’d have to wear a hoodie and sunglasses.

I know it can be hard, and it’s important to try and find what helps you.

I don’t know you personally, but I’m hear if you need someone to listen

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Thanks mhunnell. Same to you :)

Next time I say "You too" when someone tells me "thanks" or "Come again soon" I'll remember there's someone else out there who probably did they same damn thing and both cashiers have already forgotten about it. lol

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Many people have a "silly" side- it's what makes us human.

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Hello bluebird, im socially anxious to. And when i do go out, i worry I've said the wrong thing or appeared as awkward as i felt. Somehow, people don't seem to notice though and i think a great deal of these​ feelings, are about how WE feel about ourselves. They say 'only bored people are boring' and so it might help you to get new hobbies, or Study something interesting, so that you have something interesting to talk about. In the end i think if we are ourselves and genuine, people with realise this and see the best in us. 😊🌻✌️

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EXACTLY.

Finding hobbies is what my husband suggests too. Do you struggle with pursuing hobbies whole-heartedly because you're afraid of failure? I do. Like, I got into painting but each time I start I immediately feel pressure for it to be good, so sometimes I don't even start. Or I'll think my interests are corny. Who wants to talk about how Native American flute music actually feels healing? lol.

Where is a good place to start?

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Well, yes, i used to feel like that. But, now i think I'm painting for my own pleasure n learning as i go. So if it's a failure, i put it down to a learning curve.😊 and don't beat myself up. have you tried the online hypnosis i find them very soothing and the Mantras too. I do Tai-chi and i swim. Not saying I'm very skilled at any of it but, it suits an old hippy like me. 😊 Oh my goodness "bury my heart at wounds knee" . I love Native American anything!!

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:) I'll try. I have listened to Michael Sealy for sleep hypnosis and loved it. Do you have others you suggest?

Yes! I'm so intrigued by anything having to do with Native American culture. It seemed so much simpler and like they were really connected to our Earth and listened to their intuitions. I wish I could find a group that explored their spiritual beliefs or even just to listen to their music.

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Yes, Michael Sealys great n Jason Stephensons good too. I also listen to the Mantras of Dr Dhyana Guru. There are lots on different helpful subjects for us Anxty types. And yeah, the Native Americans had a wonderful affinity with Nature. What a sad loss to humanity, an estimated 20 million of them wiped out is. If you've not heard Buffy Sante Marie her music is great and there's an online video of her playing mouth harp to Pete Seager playing guitar, when she's just 15! See what a geek i am! 😊 Seriously just be yourself 'dont sweat the small stuff' there are plenty of people like us around. It's just a question of finding them. 😊🌻✌️Dee

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Ahhh Dubba61, you are talking about my favorite "go to" men on YouTube Michael Sealy and Jason Stephenson have such a mellow and soothing voice that I immediately relax just hearing them.

Thanks for sharing, I'm going to check out Dr. Dhyana Guru.

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Really! 😊 Thing i have his name right. But if you put " Mantra for positivity (or Calm" into YouTube it comes up with lots from him. 😊✌️🌻

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I listened to Buffy and loved it. Thanks for giving me hope there are other geeks like me out there! :) <3

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Ahh I'm glad you liked her. Yes, plenty of us geeky types milling around. Old n young, mostly sensitive and Arty. 😊✌️🌻

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One of her songs spurred a lot of inspiration in me-- I even found myself listening to Native American flute for the rest of the day and painted some clay pots with tribal patterns. So maybe I just needed some new music? Thanks Dubba!

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Aww your welcome bluebird. Very pleased you had a nice Creative day. The Tribal inspired pots sound lovely. Sometimes all we need is a little bit of new inspiration. 😊🌻✌️

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Blue,

Ya know that old adage...........Be yourself, everyone else is taken

don't be afraid to be yourself. what's the worst thing that could happen?

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Yeah, what she said! lol

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Everyone will think I'm stupid and terrible- obviously! lol

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Noooooooo

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Hi if others don't like you they will leave your company so don't worry about that. Not everyone can be witty or an extrovert and there is nothing wrong with mainly keeping quiet if you are more introvert. The main thing is just to try and relax and focus on the conversation and remember no is judging you as you are not anyone else.

I have found if you focus and follow the conversation and smile in the right places then you will fit in without any waves.

This reminds me - I had a group of close friends and one of them called me 'sensible'. I said 'sensible me'? I looked at another friend and said am I sensible? She gave me a long slow look and said 'Oh no' and shaking her head. I was delighted :) x

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Hahaha, it's good you have a friend who knows the real you!

Thank you for the reassurance. I am definitely introverted, although I like being with the right people and can feel energized by a good conversation. But you're right! I mean, I have met lots of quiet people. I may never be the life of the party, but it doesn't mean i can't be part of a group.

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Is there a walking or hiking group near you?

Its a great hobby if you can access it. There's no pressure to talk constantly or be "good" at it.

It's good for your physical health and there's lots of studies about how it helps communication move more freely.

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I should look for that on meetup! Good idea!

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Sometimes, it's easier to get other people to talk about themselves. Rather than try to tell them all about you, ask them a question about themselves. Also, having a few conversations/topics in mind (music, movies, TV shows you like) can make starting and keeping a conversation going a lot less stressful. And if you think you're "stressing up", relax your face muscles and shoulders. About being witty and funny, not everybody is blessed that way. But being comfortable with yourself is as important.

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Yeah, my husband is constantly making people laugh and I just wish I could do that. But it's just not who I am. He still loves me. His family still loves me. And I'm sure i have other redeeming qualities....? lol

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Hi:

I understand how you feel. I tried crocheting and feel I have to be perfect. Maybe trying something with a friend that you both enjoy. You will find very kind people here.

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Everyone here has been exceptionally kind, I agree. I tried crocheting too! But my husband did it with me and was better at it so I quit. It's unfortunate, but I compare everything I do to others, so I try to only do activities alone. I wish I could get past it. Like just be okay with the fact that there is always someone who can do it better.

I hope you try a different hobby that you can get satisfaction from. You might like painting flower pots! lol I tried it yesterday and actually felt very free to make mistakes because it is only a flower pot. Plus I painted them tribal style and that style happens to look better a little roughed up.

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Are you still in HS? That has been mucho decades for me, but I do remember it's a time of finding oneself, and defining oneself- maybe what you are going through is pretty common. Remember being a good listener is a real art, and people like to talk about themselves.

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No, I'm 28. Still going through this. I am a decent listener, but I would like to be a better conversationalist. I want to practice somehow.

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So you tried something , but your husband was better at it? Maybe he feels the same way. I am way older than you, and am hard on myself at times. Sounds like you are a nice person- that's way more important I think than anything else. We do not have enough nice people in the world; although people on this site are really supportive. Also, why quit something if you enjoy it? If you do not care for crocheting and it is forced you will not appreciate it. As I say, volunteering can be a great way of meeting people- there are all kinds of groups. Also the National Alliance on Mental Illness ( NAMI) sponsors walks - not only are you likely to meet some nice and supportive people - you'll get exercise ( based in USA).

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Thank you. I'm frequently described as nice. I usually feel a deep sigh when that happens. Like, I'm nice but am I fun? Smart? Interesting?

I think he's been better at everything ever. He was better than me in college, better at cooking, better at musical ability... But then again he had a great childhood and supportive parents, which I did not.

Obviously this is a self-esteem issue. Maybe the NAMI walks would be a good support. I really do appreciate all of you taking the time to reassure me and offer suggestions.

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Right back at you. I did a NAMI walk last year, and we're doing one next month. What's better than nice? Remember some of our richest citizens with degrees crashed the global economy. Are they nice? Heck no!!!! My late dad said that what mattered most was how nice you are. I hope your husband does not try to one up you- a relationship is not about a competition and unfortunately some people turn that into one. Look up NAMI on their website- hopefully if you are in the USA there will be a local affiliate.

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I just found one! I'm totally gonna go.

Lol. You have a point there... they may be smart and good at schmoozing but they certainly aren't ethical, good people.

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No, they are not. Also- how about volunteering like for animals or a senior center? Guaranteed - you will meet people who will appreciate you greatly. So glad you found an affiliate! That is awesome. They have peer support groups, connections, etc. I wish our support connection groups were closer to me, but at least we do the walks and they have other events. Some states even have state affiliates, and then there is the national. So.... who knows- you could find a whole new purpose!

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I love working with animals. I should try that, also to just meet people.

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That would be really nice. Are you a sped teacher or counselor? At any rate- lots of work- never ending working with people and having to deal with administrators, co workers , parents and of course the kids! Give yourself credit for having this amazing skill and patience.

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Sped teacher. And thank you :) Not many people seem to appreciate the amount of thoughtfulness and patience that I have to dig for each day.

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I love getting to spend my days with kids. They are frustrating sometimes but also bring so much happiness into my life.

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Nothing wrong with being a sensitive person- sounds positive to me!

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:) Thank you gogo.

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Also- who cares if someone else finds you interesting, fun, etc? Right? Sounds like you basically have a nice life or at least I hope you do- I will bet that you work in a social service or ed field- you sound like you have compassion . Anyway, remember if you are worried about what others think- ask yourself "Are they paying my bills and giving me food?" Like that one?

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You are right about my job :) I work in early childhood special ed. I have a good life. I just want to be more confident. Hahaha, that's a good mantra. I will try it!

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So, you're a Sped teacher? That is very noble. I still do some work in schools myself. I also know it also can be stressful believe me. I am sure you have confidence or you wouldn't be able to do what do. I think personally having gone through the sixties that we need less competition and more coming together. We all have something to offer , and you have a great deal.

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Thank you! That is so kind.

It is very difficult, but luckily I work with great people who are supportive and offer good strategies. I hope you have a good work environment as well.

I wish I could've lived in the 60s, it seemed like a cool time where people were more open minded.

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I do remember the movements for civil rights- yes and amazing time but also one that was rough as well, the draft, the war in Viet Nam etc. The music, the movements, live on . Thank you. There was also segregation and of course lesbian and gay people were not accepted like they are today. People, society are of course complicated. The EPA, and the Clean Air and Water Acts passed around that time.

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It's interesting to think how the LGBTQ community as still struggling for acceptance during that time. I guess I an lucky to be alive during my own time. I'd like to think that we've made great strides when it comes to keeping the environment clean but it doesn't seem like we're doing a good job compared to other nations.

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It certainly sounds like people are still struggling especially with this administration, and I agree with you about the environment. Wouldn't it be great if we had fewer cars on the road and better, greener public transportation etc? Have you been to other nations across the Atlantic or Pacific? I have also been a vegan for 36 years( did I say that)? I love animals, and see that wildlife has been losing so much space- they have fewer than fifteen per cent availability of their original spaces. I wanted to also say that NAMI also has literature available about different mental health conditions and other information. I hope that you have a nice week.

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Yes, it would be better if we had fewer cars and also if we had less plastic. That is amazing that you have been a vegan for 36 years, hard for me to imagine. I changed my diet 2 months ago to no dairy and no red meat and that's been hard enough. (I've cheated a couple times.) I really only did that for health reasons. It breaks my heart that we are destroying our earth and the animals who depend on it. Sadly, we are only digging our own graves. We need a massive shift in thinking if we are going to stop it. But I think that will take an event of immediate danger to humans before people realize how imperative a change is. I recycle but I wish I could purchase food that doesn't come in plastic containers so much because I'm not sure how much actually gets recycled.

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Yes- we use plastic way too much- it sounds like you are an in tune person- hey if you want to be vegetarian it does not matter why you do it- what matters is that you did. Anyway, try googling Vegefest- they are held in various areas. There are many groups addressing what you stated. All of our generations need to work together otherwise we slide backwards. There are more recycling programs now even in schools as you probably know. You're right - we are digging our own graves. BTW- by being a vegetarian- one person saves one acre of land per year! Thanks so much for being here. See- we made a connection.

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This is awesome! I've been thinking how we need more vegetarian and vegan restaurants that actually make good food. It's hard to know how to branch out with recipes sometimes. Know this ins't a restaurant, but still really cool. They have one where I live too. Hahaha wonder how many people I could convince to go? No one I know here is a vegetarian. Maybe if I just put some feelers out on facebook or something..

I'm super glad to have made a connection with you :)

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Maybe look for a vegetarian club or even an animal rights or welfare group in your area. I am glad to keep a connection with you as well. PETA might have some recipes.

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Trust me- life flies - sometimes I can't believe I reached the age I am- I've had some adventures- that is one way of looking at it!

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I certainly get what you’re saying. I too have my social struggles. Over the years I’ve become much more if a listener than the one who does the sharing. It’s hard because when I’m ask, “So what have you been up to?” I usually give the brief answer, “Oh I’ve been taking it easy.” Meanwhile the truth is my life feels boring and I’m just existing. But I do not want to give them that answer.

It’s hard especially when I’m around others that have active lives (travelling, social, playful, etc.). Then I feel defective because my social fears prohibit me from doing what they do. I don’t have an easy answer for this other than I hope to meet others that can relate. And instead of focusing on the negative, helping one another with nuturing growth and a safe environment to be around while enjoying social time together.

But I must say, in actually we’re not boring people, if anything we’re people that want to overcome our fears and grow. That right there is a lot of non-boring stuff to share with orhers who can relate.

Best,

MZ

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The only advice I have that worked for me was talking to my anxiety. It sounds so dumb. I was in the elevator before giving a presentation, I was SO nervous. But I stopped myself and I told my anxiety I was done. Then and there I decided I was 100% done and now I get along fine. I still have severe anxiety but my social life is soooo much better. Embrace the messy

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