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Old 02-21-2013, 09:54 AM   #46
MissMichigan
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Sorry for lack of response, been busy.

I have done research on introversion in the past, and don't feel that's me. While I do enjoy having quiet time to myself to read, watch tv, etc, it's not my preference. I like being around people, going out, having people over, that sort of thing. I love playing hostess and having parties. I'm always asking DB who we could invite to do this or that. I enjoy having people around, it's just the actually having conversations part that I struggle with.

I feel awkward around people if i'm talking. I love listening, and always speak back spoken to...it's just starting or carrying on a conversation. I honestly can't remember the last time I spent time with a friend alone, and feel like I don't know how to interact properly. I always hang out with a group with DB, and before that, a group with XH. (My mom thinks that because most of my life has been spent around boisterous, loud people, that I just gave up trying to be heard over the commotion and stopped trying to play a part. She talks all the time, dad talks all the time, whole family tries to drown each other out, and XH's family was even worse.)

I'm not currently employed, but am looking. I'm in school, but online. I enjoy photography and am trying to start my own business. Other interest and hobbies are pretty typical...music, movies, cooking/baking, crafting, writing, reading, travel, animals...etc etc.

This isn't something I want to change just for DB. I've wanted to change this since high school, and have been making very small strides over the last few years, just nothing significant. Learning that I could lose the love of my life over something I hate anyways was the final push for me to realize I HAVE to get over this.

I haven't always been this way. When I was young (12 and before) I was very talkative and outgoing. I was the one always putting on performances for everyone and that sort of thing. Something changed, and I just stopped talking and being myself around people outside of a select few (parents, brother, then XH and now DB). Don't know what caused it.

I feel appreciative that DB was willing to sit and talk to me about this. Like a PP said, it's better that he talked to me about something that was bothering him instead of just ending the relationship without even trying. He said he felt like a jerk even telling me it bothered him. He's not pressuring me or demanding a deadline. He knows I won't turn into a social butterfly overnight.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:39 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by mrsklamc View Post
This is the common misconception that I was trying to clarify. Anxieties are a disorder; introversion is completely normal. People who have social anxiety typically want to participate in social contexts, but are afraid of what others think of them. Introverts just really don't care what most people think.
Yes . . . but while introversion might be normal, there is a stigma placed upon it. So many people who are introverted and would be perfectly happy that way are made to feel inferior because they prefer to be alone. They are then forced into situations which don't make them happy, when really, there's nothing wrong with them.

And when a SO has to preface a comment with "I feel like such a jerk saying this, but . . ." it's probably something they shouldn't be saying in the first place. Even the smallest suggestion that the OP's SO might leave her over this is really, really sad . . .
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:10 AM   #48
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Originally Posted by MissMichigan View Post

I'm not currently employed, but am looking. I'm in school, but online. I enjoy photography and am trying to start my own business. Other interest and hobbies are pretty typical...music, movies, cooking/baking, crafting, writing, reading, travel, animals...etc etc.
That's a lot of interests that usually have local groups - I know on meetup.com for my area there are ones for writing, photography, and reading. There is a separate one for NaNoWriMo (www.nanowrimo.org).

If there are any local craft/hobby stores, they probably have classes or can point you in the right direction.

Even though your classes are online, are there other local students? Is the school local? You might be able to make some social connections through study and activity groups.

Your local recreation center might offer classes as well in things you might like or be interested to try.

If you're in a situation where everyone is learning to do the same thing you're just learning how to do OR where the focus is something you're confident in, you'll be much more relaxed than say, trying to mingle at a dinner party where you don't know much about anyone.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:10 AM   #49
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Originally Posted by Ginny Favers View Post
Even the smallest suggestion that the OP's SO might leave her over this is really, really sad . . .
How is ending a relationship when you are unhappy about something not acceptable? They aren't married. He's not backing out of a commitment here.

As I said before, I think her BF showed her how invested he is in her because he wants to be with her. He was letting her know he is unhappy about some things but would like to stay together. That gives her some say in how/if they are going to go forward.

OP has the choice of telling him to take his opinions elsewhere if she has no interest in changing. She doesn't want to - because she agrees with him that she's having trouble in this area.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:15 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by MissMichigan View Post
I have done research on introversion in the past, and don't feel that's me. While I do enjoy having quiet time to myself to read, watch tv, etc, it's not my preference. I like being around people, going out, having people over, that sort of thing. I love playing hostess and having parties. I'm always asking DB who we could invite to do this or that. I enjoy having people around, it's just the actually having conversations part that I struggle with.

I feel awkward around people if i'm talking. I love listening, and always speak back spoken to...it's just starting or carrying on a conversation. I honestly can't remember the last time I spent time with a friend alone, and feel like I don't know how to interact properly. I always hang out with a group with DB, and before that, a group with XH. (My mom thinks that because most of my life has been spent around boisterous, loud people, that I just gave up trying to be heard over the commotion and stopped trying to play a part. She talks all the time, dad talks all the time, whole family tries to drown each other out, and XH's family was even worse.)

I'm not currently employed, but am looking. I'm in school, but online. I enjoy photography and am trying to start my own business. Other interest and hobbies are pretty typical...music, movies, cooking/baking, crafting, writing, reading, travel, animals...etc etc.

This isn't something I want to change just for DB. I've wanted to change this since high school, and have been making very small strides over the last few years, just nothing significant. Learning that I could lose the love of my life over something I hate anyways was the final push for me to realize I HAVE to get over this.

I haven't always been this way. When I was young (12 and before) I was very talkative and outgoing. I was the one always putting on performances for everyone and that sort of thing. Something changed, and I just stopped talking and being myself around people outside of a select few (parents, brother, then XH and now DB). Don't know what caused it.

I feel appreciative that DB was willing to sit and talk to me about this. Like a PP said, it's better that he talked to me about something that was bothering him instead of just ending the relationship without even trying. He said he felt like a jerk even telling me it bothered him. He's not pressuring me or demanding a deadline. He knows I won't turn into a social butterfly overnight.
I was the one who asked early on "what you do". Thanks for answering.

I agree with those who think you probably have "social anxiety" (if this is the term used today). I think we used to know it as "shyness", and there can be varying degrees of it. Whichever you have, obviously it's severe if it's impacting your social life and your self-esteem, etc.

I was pretty shy growing up. Most in my family are fairly quiet, reserved people. My father recognized I needed to be "less shy", if you will (cause we all know basic personality traits don't really change), in order to be what he saw as successful in school and work, etc. He made me take Public Speaking in high school, and I don't know that it really helped me because I hated it so much! But the thing that did help was he gave me this book. Read it if you really want to get better at talking to people. It's a classic. http://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Friend...p/0671027034#_

I also notice from the bolded that much of "what you do" is solo. Online school, photography, reading, cooking, etc. - those are all things that keep you sort of isolated. When you're isolated, you don't get practice in interacting with people, you know? In order to get good at it, you have to actually do it, and become more comfortable with it, have success at it, etc. I would recommend taking a hard look at that in your life and seeing what you can change about it. Why not go to a regular college, instead of online, if you're not working or have other responsibilities (like kids) that would make it hard for you to attend class? What about getting a job, even part time, that would "get you out there"?

When I was a teen I had several different jobs working with the public, then I worked in nursing homes in various capacities. I found I really liked working with older people and hearing their stories. Later, I became a nurse, and you can't get much more intimate with people than that. (Hard to be shy when you routinely have to handle someone's private parts or wash them up, you know?) Maybe you could consider volunteering in a nursing or retirement home? It will get you talking to people with very little pressure, and you might get to enjoy it. (You'd be doing a great thing, also, and that might help your self esteem. Nothing like improving your own self-image by helping someone else.) Start slow, and work your way up. Just a thought.

A friend of my DS15 showed great wisdom recently when he was talking to my son about his mild shyness. He told my son, "I used to be just like that until I got a job and I had to deal with people. It helped me get over it and now I can talk to people". So true. And as my father used to say, "Out of the mouths of babes".

Good luck, and get yourself out there more.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:49 AM   #51
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Originally Posted by disykat View Post
How is ending a relationship when you are unhappy about something not acceptable? They aren't married. He's not backing out of a commitment here.

As I said before, I think her BF showed her how invested he is in her because he wants to be with her. He was letting her know he is unhappy about some things but would like to stay together. That gives her some say in how/if they are going to go forward.

OP has the choice of telling him to take his opinions elsewhere if she has no interest in changing. She doesn't want to - because she agrees with him that she's having trouble in this area.
Ending a relationship is fine, but threatening to end it if someone does not change is not.

What is sad is that he gave her this ultimatum-- change or else I leave you. He might have phrased it nicer, but that's the gist of it.

To me it's like, lose weight or I leave you. Or in his case, "You have such a pretty face, if you just lost a little weight, the whole world would see how pretty you are! Otherwise, I don't know if I can be with you as it breaks my heart when people don't see how special you are." If she wants to do it, great, but sometimes, it's not so easy to do. Breaking out of shyness is not a simple thing, and introducing the possibility that he might leave her isn't exactly the confidence-builder one needs to become more social.

If he really does love her, he should accept ALL of her and help her to break free of her anxieties-- not issue threats thinly veiled as compliments.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:55 AM   #52
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It's been said but people seem to be ignoring it. She's not an introvert.

Introverts don't WANT to participate in chit-chat. They see no point-although some are quite good at faking it.
In my experience introverts would like to participate in chit-chat, but don't feel proficient or comfortable doing so.

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Introverts CAN socialize, they usually just prefer not to.


Introverts just really don't care what most people think.
I think most introverts would like to feel more comfortable socializing; I would not say they don't want to.

Inroverts most certainly do care what others think.
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Old 02-21-2013, 12:39 PM   #53
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Just a little quick research. Extroverts with social anxiety exist, but are fairly rare. Here are a few things to consider in determining if you are one:

-Wanting to go out and just be out there but feels an invalid fear every time you even think of it
-Avoiding social situations and staying home for a few days only to find yourself extremely irritated because you haven't socialized.
-You catch yourself off guard sometimes when you notice yourself enjoying the conversation when the energy you gain from chatting over powers your fear (usually doesn't last too long...)
-You make so many plans on going out either alone or with your friends but you cancel it last minute because as the day approaches, you feel more and more anxiety.
-You do not approach strangers, but you feel excited/energized but fearful at the same time at the idea of having a stranger approach you
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:11 PM   #54
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Not to seem like i'm trying too hard to defend DB on this or anything, but I don't feel he is trying to "change me", technically. He wants to BE ME. He does love me as I am, and doesn't understand why I won't let other people know that person.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:27 PM   #55
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It sounds like you have social anxiety, in which case I would strongly suggest you seek therapy and even possibly a psychiatrist. I have GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and reluctantly went to a psychiatrist for medication after speaking to my doctor. Was never keen on the idea of taking meds, and even now I try to keep my dose low as possible, but it has helped immensely. Therapy will benefit too, it allows you to get to the roots of things and sort out your thoughts. I always suggest talking with someone first and saving medication as a last resort.
It's nice that your boyfriend wants you to get better, but he needs to understand that overcoming something like this can be challenging and take time. It's important that he is there to support you, knowing when to push and when to stop.
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Old 02-21-2013, 01:41 PM   #56
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Not to seem like i'm trying too hard to defend DB on this or anything, but I don't feel he is trying to "change me", technically. He wants to BE ME. He does love me as I am, and doesn't understand why I won't let other people know that person.
I sort of think what your bf thinks is beside the point. (No disrespect meant to him.) This is something you do for yourself if it's what you really want. The rest falls into place - or it doesn't. I know it was part of the reason for your OP, but don't get hung up on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MissMichigan
But then last week, my DB told me it needs to stop. Apparently, people are always asking him what's wrong with me, why don't I talk, why don't I like them, etc. It embarrasses him, and he's getting fed up. He's told me if I can't learn to talk to people and be more social, he's going to have to end things. I am very much in love with him, and having this conversation was a wake up call for me. I know this part of me needs to change, and now I have extreme motivation to make it. (And before anyone starts bashing him or saying I should just leave him if he can't accept me, etc, I WANT this to change, I HATE this about myself. This isn't just being shy or quiet, it's major. He knows I'll be happier if I can work through this, and he wants that happiness for both of us. He said he hated to tell me it was that big of a problem, because he loves me so much, and think i'm "the most awesome person he's ever known, and just wants everyone else to know that too")
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:19 PM   #57
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In my experience introverts would like to participate in chit-chat, but don't feel proficient or comfortable doing so.



I think most introverts would like to feel more comfortable socializing; I would not say they don't want to.

Inroverts most certainly do care what others think.
I almost 100% disagree with everything you've said. I'm pretty far down on the introvert side. I hate chit chat. It's stupid. What is the point of discussing the inanely obvious... "beautiful day today"... well no S*** sherlock. Ok, maybe I'm not really that harsh... but I do hate small talk. If you have something to say to me, I'm happy to hear it, but don't go on for ages about the weather or something else equally pointless.

I do feel comfortable socializing. In small groups. I hate large crowds. I hate being forced into a room with 100 strangers. In a group even as large as 10 people around a dinner table I can talk your ear off.

I think some introverts might care what you think. I think I care sometimes and not others. If people think I'm being snotty, then yeah, I want to know. That's when I explain to them that my face JUST LOOKS LIKE THIS when I'm relaxed. I'm not mad, and I don't like being put on the spot. I like (as do most if not all introverts) to have time to think about my reply to questions, which is why I much prefer to communicate in writing than orally.

Sorry if I sound harsh. I'm pretty much sick of being treated as if there is something wrong with anyone who is introverted. The misconceptions are staggering... Some people say that homosexuality is the last discrimination... I disagree. I think introversion will be the last... or perhaps atheism, but I won't go there...
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:23 PM   #58
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In my experience introverts would like to participate in chit-chat, but don't feel proficient or comfortable doing so.



I think most introverts would like to feel more comfortable socializing; I would not say they don't want to.

Inroverts most certainly do care what others think.

I'm pretty much an introvert and I detest chit-chat.
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:27 PM   #59
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I almost 100% disagree with everything you've said. I'm pretty far down on the introvert side. I hate chit chat. It's stupid. What is the point of discussing the inanely obvious... "beautiful day today"... well no S*** sherlock. Ok, maybe I'm not really that harsh... but I do hate small talk. If you have something to say to me, I'm happy to hear it, but don't go on for ages about the weather or something else equally pointless.

I do feel comfortable socializing. In small groups. I hate large crowds. I hate being forced into a room with 100 strangers. In a group even as large as 10 people around a dinner table I can talk your ear off.

I think some introverts might care what you think. I think I care sometimes and not others. If people think I'm being snotty, then yeah, I want to know. That's when I explain to them that my face JUST LOOKS LIKE THIS when I'm relaxed. I'm not mad, and I don't like being put on the spot. I like (as do most if not all introverts) to have time to think about my reply to questions, which is why I much prefer to communicate in writing than orally.

Sorry if I sound harsh. I'm pretty much sick of being treated as if there is something wrong with anyone who is introverted. The misconceptions are staggering... Some people say that homosexuality is the last discrimination... I disagree. I think introversion will be the last... or perhaps atheism, but I won't go there...
I'm exactly the same way. I love to talk to people, but not about mindless crap while they inject laughter for no apparent reason.

Saw a sign on pinterest the other day that said, "I'm not anti-social, I'm selectively social."
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Old 02-21-2013, 03:35 PM   #60
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Saw a sign on pinterest the other day that said, "I'm not anti-social, I'm selectively social."
That is good!

Perhaps I should have said, introverts don't enjoy small talk, but would like to be more proficient at it. I would in any case.
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