Question: I find new social situations really difficult, I will do anything to get out of a situation where I am in a room with a bunch of people I don’t know. Before I get to the event I find myself imagining negativity and rudeness, it’s all in my head because usually people are really nice and friendly. I am an introvert, is this something that is fairly normal to me? And how can I work towards more confidence in these situations?
What a brilliant question, and you’re absolutely right, you’re an introvert and group social situations for introverts are difficult to handle. It’s not easy for an introvert to divide their attention between many different moving particles. So it’s this is an extremely important question. A lot of people who are doing self realisation work are actually introverted people because they are already looking inside of themselves for answers, and they are more open to exploring more depth in themselves, because they are already doing it naturally.
So, let’s put this question into a couple of different sections. First of all the introvertedness which I’ve already covered. But secondly, you find yourself imagining negativity and rudeness and as an introvert this comes from your experience of crowds being negative and your experience being that people don’t respect your space. Because they don’t! Because you’re going to the pub or somewhere, it’s not actually ‘your’ space so everybody is in ‘your’ space effectively, and you naturally consider this to be rude because you’re so used to having your own space and if you were around people in your own home, firstly nobody would stand right in your face while you’re at the bar getting drinks, nobody would stand that close to you normally, but your experiences in the past in social situations, for example at the pub, have been on a body level, at a cellular level that people are invading your space and you’re having to listen to crap, that’s basically what it comes down to. Of course it’s not ‘crap’ and it’s not that people are rude, it’s just that it is not a natural environment for an introvert to be in, with a bunch of people.
So, you already have gathered some evidence in your mind pointing to the direction of “I can expect negativity and rudeness from people” when you are thinking about going into a social situation as an introvert. Secondly, you said that ‘it’s in your head because usually people are really nice and so on’ it’s actually interesting that if you imagine people being rude and negative with enough intensity, you will create that, so over time you will attract people around you in those social situations who are behaving like that. That’s why if you have been proven wrong on this, I would start deliberately expecting people to be different then negative and rude. So it is too late to do anything when you are already thinking that.
When you are anticipating it then it is more likely that it will happen, especially if you imagine it, because imagination is a very powerful creative tool. So, before you go into a public place or social situation imagine people, not being necessarily negative and rude but actually just the fact that ‘ah I am going to put myself into a position where I am going to be in a room of people and it might make me feel uncomfortable, but it’s not actually a reflection of the people that are there’ what will happen is that you will start to see people as who they are rather then as rude and negative. I mean of course you still have the odd rude and negative person, that goes without saying, but overall your anticipation has changed from having rude and negative people into having conversations with real people, connecting on a level that is just a little bit deeper than just talking about the weather and so on, and just actually getting to know people as they are.
So, is this something that is fairly normal to me? Was your question, and how can I work more towards confidence in these situations? First of all, yes its normal, and secondly, know that you are aware of what you are imagining, start imagining different things and just tap into your body from time to time. Excuse yourself form social situations within that social gathering from time to time and go and catch your breath a little bit and then go back when you are more refreshed. So just to be kind to yourself, your inner child is freaking out inside as there is too much stimulus coming at them. But just do your best, give your inner child a break, take breaks from social situations and just go back when you’re ready.
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