Overcome Social Anxiety / Develop Social Confidence
Social anxiety and social confidence, this is a big, big, big, lesson because these are things that all of us do struggle with at some point or another. And again, it's like talking with icebreakers, we know what to say. We know we just do this. And do that. But it's getting us to that point that is, you know, it's petrifying sometimes. It terrifies us. Lack of social confidence. And to a greater, to a smaller extent, social anxiety. We've talked about what to do in the conversation a little bit. And we'll talk about that a lot more later. But what about getting there? Arguably, this is the most important part of all. Because if you're not gonna get there, then you're gonna live your life through avoidance. And, that's a very interesting thing to think about. But once you realize it, it's nothing but negative feelings. What is social confidence? The way that I like to break it down, pretty simple, the knowledge and comfort that, number one, things won't go wrong socially. And if they d...
o, you'll be fine. You won't be judged or rejected for what you say, how you present yourself. You'll be you, and people will accept you or not. And that's, that's a powerful feeling that is also tough to achieve. So I realize this lesson is something that falls into the sphere of better, or easier said than done. But we're gonna try to get you there. Why is it so difficult to internalize? Why is social confidence so difficult? Negative self-talk. We tell ourselves negative things. We don't think we can do something. We frame things in negative ways. Like, oh, they're just gonna not like me anyway. Versus, what if they don't like me. That would be weird of them. Perfectionism and a lack of vulnerability. We think that perfection is actually the ideal. We think that perfection is what is expected. We think that we can't be vulnerable in front of other people or else they'll just pick apart our weaknesses. Conveniently ignoring the fact that no one is perfect. No one outwardly even appears perfect. But that's what we tell ourselves. False comparisons. So this is one I, this is the analogy I like to make. You're comparing yourself, you've just woke up after sleeping two hours. You're a little hung over. You take a picture of yourself. You take a picture of yourself and you compare yourself, that picture, to someone's Instagram feed. It's not fair. You're comparing your worst moments, your terrible internal dialog, to someone else's best curated, filtered, posed moments. To everyone's best moments. So it's just not a fair comparison that we make. Yet we put ourselves through it. Traumatic emotional fixation. This is when we have one or two traumatic events in our pasts that we just fixate to. We identify with them, while conveniently ignoring everything else that's happened that positive. We have some more that I'll just go over real quick. Magnification and transference of flaws. We fixate on what we do wrong. And then we can't find our strengths through it. And then we transfer those weaknesses onto our whole selves. So we turn it into a judgment of ourselves and our identity. Compounding fear and avoidance. The more you fear and avoid things, the worse they get because you don't know how they are. You can't experience them. This is all negative internal narrative that you've begun to tell yourself. That you are not that type of person. You can't do this. That's not for you. I can't go to that room. I can't go to that networking event. I can't stand up and speak in front of people without peeing myself. (laughing) That's the negative internal narrative that we sometimes give ourself. And we don't realize that we're doing it. All that we know is that, ah, I can't do that. I feel like I can't do that. There's a reason. I'm not sure what it is. Same thing. (laughing) Minimization of positivity and strengths. So that's kind of what leads us into our next exercise that's gonna come up pretty soon. Your minimization of positivity and strengths. You're forgetting what you're good at. What are your actual weaknesses? What are your actual weaknesses? Things that you are terrible at? Versus things that are strengths. Which I define as things you are slightly above average at. So that kind of fixes for the filter a little bit. And really when you list these out, they should be pretty equal lists lengthwise. But they're usually not.
History maker is in the chatroom says, "I think I live in an area of two types of people. One, are non-communicative zombies. And two, are conversational hogs. How in the world do you always keep up conversations without just getting burned out after a while? You're always having to hold the conversation. And after a while it just gets to be annoying. A mutually satisfying conversation seems to be something that is not easily obtainable." And I guess it leads to the question, he's asking, how do you spur someone else's curiosity if there really isn't any?
With the zombies?
The zombies. Yeah. I mean if they're a zombie, are you just not gonna get what you need from them to get a fulfilling conversation?
I think that person needs to ask better questions. Because I think it's impossible, nearly impossible to say that someone has no interest. And nothing to comment on. And, definitely something we're gonna go into later. It's like, even, people have opinions on things. People have stories on things. Topics make people think of things. People have emotions. So it's not about piquing their interest with yourself. It's about finding the part of them that is interesting and finding what their interests are. I hope that answered it.
No, I think that covers it.
Okay. (audience member faintly speaking) Finding something in common. Commonality. Yeah. So back to social confidence. How does this manifest? How does this lack of social confidence manifest? People look for huge green lights. But they only see tiny red lights. People are looking for things that are saying, I'm not gonna reject you, I accept you. This is going very well. Let's continue to keep conversing. People wanna look for those things. They're never gonna be there. What people see, is they see someone maybe clipping an answer. Maybe answering someone else. Checking their phone once. Scanning the room behind them a little bit. Just to see if their significant other is there. They see these tiny red lights that can be interpreted in so many ways. And I realize this is interesting to talk about because we just talked about negative social cues. But they still only see tiny red lights. And that's a problem, that's a perception problem. Because you are never gonna be happy if you look for these. And you're setting yourself up for fail, you're looking for things that will never exist. It should be the exact opposite. What that means is, people look for huge signs of acceptance. They should be looking for nuance signs. Because again, people aren't gonna say, "This is going very well. I would like to keep talking to you." People see tiny signs of rejection. They should be looking for the huge signs. Remember how polite we all are right? And this is something that I just wanted to address very quickly is, everyone deals with a lack of social confidence at some point. When does it turn serious and clinical? Just when it disturbs your daily functioning. It's when you feel so sweaty, so many chills, paralyzed, that you can't function in a normal way. And there's a very fine line between lack of social confidence and social anxiety. But really when it disturbs your daily functioning. You can't function as you want to. You can't get the social purpose. You can't find anything that will veto this fear. So I'm not a, obviously, I'm not a licensed anything. So, I just, but I did want to bring that up. Even though I'm not a licensed anything, I would like to bring up exposure therapy. Which is really the standard method, methodology, for dealing with phobias, fears and anxiety. Which is what we're talking about, right? It's how to get from point a to point b. Point b being social confident, socially confident. What exposure therapy is is it's an incremental process that normalizes and eliminates people's phobic responses. It's a mouthful but here it is. It's, I'm afraid of snakes. I'm gonna be able to see a snake, a picture of a snake. Great. Next week, I'm gonna see a snake in real life behind a cage. Great. Next week, I might get closer to the snake. Great. Next week, I might touch the snake with one finger. Great. That's exposure therapy. And that's how it gets you over phobic responses. Exposure therapy for social confidence. Couple ways. Perform an easier version of the action. So this is something I wanna emphasis that really takes practice. And that I really want the students and people watching to just think about what they're doing. Performing an easier version of the action. Eye contact. That's just making eye contact for a second. Saying hi. Nodding to someone. And then you progress in terms of frequency and difficulty. You ask a question. Good job. You ask two questions. Good job. So you're performing an easier version of this action so you can build on these successes and feel good about them. The second way I wanna talk about for social confidence, perform the actual action, which in this case would be something about socializing, talking to strangers, but in a safe, controlled, no-pressure environment. I'm a big fan of chatting up baristas, Uber drivers, taxis. Because of this, it gets you so much practice. These people, you know, you take an Uber driver, these people are trapped in a metal case with you for 20 minutes. They're bored. They wanna talk to someone. Practice on them because it's safe. They're always gonna be nice. You're gonna get positive reactions. And you're gonna build your confidence based on these success. And that's, 'cause that's what confidence is. It's built on successes. I wanna be clear that the victory is actually just doing it. And it's not about how it goes. And it should feel difficult. The whole point is that you're leaving your comfort zone. If it doesn't feel difficult, you're not leaving your comfort zone. And that's been the problem so far in regards to this, right? Is that you feel too safe in your comfort zone, and you don't wanna leave. You can't expand it to include these social and conversation situations. And you just stay there. You're stuck. So it should feel difficult. It should feel uncomfortable. But what happens is these incremental successes, you build on them. It's not a house of cards that can crumble at any time. Like external validation. You build on these successes because they're from yourself. You know you did them. No one can take that away from you. That's how you're able to expand your comfort zones. So, something I wanna present, and we're gonna work on this, this is gonna be our activity for this session or lesson, is the confidence resume. The whole purpose of this is to combat your internal narratives, reset your beliefs, and just think, I am that type of person. Whatever adjectives you wanna be. I am that type of person, because I have been that type of person at least at some point or another. That was me. I can do that. I just have to get back there. What steps do you take to prepare for a job interview? You get your resume. You whip it out. You, what do you do? You think of best stories to paint yourself in a good light. You list out your qualifications. You list out everything that you did. You list out your body of work. You list out your noteworthy achievements. Unique activities. What distinguishes you as a person. It sounds like something we should do for conversation, right? You can do the same thing with the confidence resume. So, let's just do this. Here's what it will essentially contain. Your best social moments. Times when you felt in the zone socially. Confident-wise. Your five most unique experiences to remind you that, yeah, you are the type of person that is special. You are a unique individual. Talents that you are above-average in. Remember that this is an important distinction because if you wanna say that, if you wanna define your talents and strengths as something that you're amazing at, we're too modest in our internal self, and our internal negative self talk is just not gonna let us do that. So above-average in. Your top five life accomplishments. Social victories you thought you couldn't accomplish. Three things you are the best at among people you know. The list keeps going, but these are some of the things that are helpful to think about. What's the point? Again, completely disrupt your narrative. And remind yourself of the kind of person you are. The positive, excellent, achieving, confident person that you are because you have these successes under your belt. You've thought about these things. You've done these things. So, how are you feeling about today so far?
Alive. And well. Yeah. Good. Excited to be here.
Cool. Cool. You volunteered pretty quickly for this. Why is that?
I think this activity here is just as much as you make of it. You know, you gotta be engaged and involved for, you know, there to be a value drive from it. So.
Yeah. Good yeah. I'm glad you're taking initiative and being proactive, so. Resume'ish. It's kind of what it looks like, right? Okay. So, I'll ask you first. I'll chime in if you need help to provide examples for myself. Times when you felt in the social zone?
Like a social butterfly, you mean? And engaged?
Yes. Just that feeling you feel when you're like, I can talk to anyone right now. I'm gonna kill it right now. And it can be as trivial as you want.
Usually that zone occurs after, between this narrow therapeutic window of three and five drinks.
Okay. (audience laughing)
Any more is bad.
Specific occasions though.
Usually at like a, I was in a fraternity. So at a frat party everyone know me. I know everyone. I'm comfortable. I'm confident. I don't feel like I'm too much at risk of being judged.
Good. Any specific one moment at one frat party?
Mostly at the house parties that we host where I'm just amongst mostly friends and close people.
Okay. Good. I mean we have one. Okay, what, anything else pop to mind? Or we can move to another one. Another prompt.
Times where I felt like comfortable and social?
Comfortable. In the zone. Very confident. On top of the world.
I work in a hospital. So sometimes I get thank you cards and patients will go out of their way to get a little gift. And it just really shows that I made a difference. And I feel like I helped someone in their lives.
Okay. I'm gonna.
And I feel happy about that.
I'm gonna call that patients giving gratitude. Okay, that's great. Let's move onto another one. Strengths that you are above-average in? Low bar right?
I would say just showing up, you know. Being available for friends when they need me.
Yeah. Okay. Dependable, maybe. Showing up. Okay. That's great. Let's see. What else? You're, one of your top, any of your top unique experiences that you've had?
Unique experiences? Motorcycle accident. Yeah. A couple years ago.
That was a game changer.
Okay motorcycle accident that you walked away from.
I did. I did.lucky count my lucky starts.
Yeah. Oh my gosh. Big achievements?
Becoming a pharmacist.
Yeah. Okay. Anything else? Feel free to get as specific as you want.
As far as achievements or?
Times where you felt good about yourself really.
Okay. Positiveness things. One of the overarching themes of my life as of late is just my continued thirst for knowledge. And learning. Refining my social circle. In other words people that are exhibiting qualities that I like and I want to internalize myself. So I'm really happy with this trajectory where I'm going.
Okay. What do you want to call that?
Optimism for the future maybe.
Yeah. I think that's generally a strong quality. I tend to see the glass, life as a glass half-full.
Okay. Good. To be more specific, you wanna know what I would say for some of these for myself. So times when I felt in the zone. I just am getting specific because I'm trying to capture that feeling that I had. That one party when I was like 22. That I hosted for my friend's birthday. It's just things like this. My five unique experiences. Skiing accidents that were, that you can look back on with humor at this point. Talents that I'm above-average in. Small things. Do you have a small talent that you're good at? Oh yeah. (audience laughing) Good. That's what I'm talking about though, right?
Seriously though, it's absolutely useless.
I mean, most, yeah, things are. For me that would be, I don't know, I'm a cat whisperer. Cats seem to like me. That's a, it's a positive. So, but what we're doing is we're getting all these things on a piece of paper to show that you are a type of person that has been in the zone. You have all these great traits. You have exciting and interesting experiences. You've accomplished a lot. And for a lot of us we need daily reminders of these types of things. So, what do you with a job resume? You review it. You update it. Weekly. Daily. Monthly. But that's what we should also do with the confidence resume. Okay. Thanks. Yeah. Thank you for this.
Cool. We've got time to do another one if you want another exercise.
Yeah. Does anyone else? Okay. Please. Come on up. Hey. Okay. No. Oh. Okay. Okay. I'll just erase it. How do you spell your name?
L I l a.
L I l. L y?
Okay. Okay. Okay. So I do want you to be as specific as possible.
Did you have something in mind that you wanted to add?
Okay. Well, let's just start with specific, very specific times where you felt you could talk to anyone. You felt like you were very charming. You felt that people wanted to talk to you. You felt that you could be the life of the party.
Um. I normally like to go to all kind of parties. So I feel comfortable. I like dancing. I just wanna dance around and talk to people. (laughing)
I think it's maybe when you're dancing then, right?
Is when you're dancing 'cause you feel confident in your dancing skills so you feel great?
Okay. What kind of dancing?
I do salsa. I'm also from Iran so just lesser dancing.
Okay. Great. Yeah. Okay. Any other specific times?
I think I like also presentation at work so, I just, I like to, I'm in technical work. So I like to break down many technical issues to simple things for people who are not technical. And I really enjoy doing that. Just having a chart and just presenting and people say, wow, this is what you meant.
Is that for work?
Yes, that's for, it's for work.
Okay. So work tech presentations.
And I always constantly thinking, how can I just bring that to real life and explain it so that people understand and not lots of math involved in it.
Okay. So but, but you clearly feel that's a strength right?
Okay. Interesting, unique experiences that you've had?
I travel a lot. So two years ago, we went to Zimbabwe. And we did safari. So stayed in the camp. It was like a walking one. So we could just walk with the guide and see animals very closely.
That's pretty good.
Going to sleep hearing elephants and hippos and all of those things.
Okay. Accomplishments? Things you're proud of?
Yeah. I have a PhD. And I ran big teams.
Leader. Good at leading. Good at speaking. Not shy.
Okay. One more. Let's try to think of another small, more specific strength?
I think I'm able to put the positive spin on things. So that's one thing that I can say as strength.
Yeah. That's great. Here's one that we didn't talk about, are there certain people that make you feel more confident? Or that you can talk to? People that back you up? That react well to you?
Yeah. I think, my family in general, my husband is very supportive.
Family support. Okay. Is there anything you wanna add?
No. I think I'm good.
So this is a pretty good summary, I think, of a lot of positivity here. And you have a lot to be confident about.
Okay. What I do wanna do is I wanna dig into one thing. I wanna dig into these specific moments. For example, what I gave was, that one party when I was like 22 or 23, that I hosted that I felt really amazing and confident in. I remember distinctly, I distinctly remember that feeling because I felt so good talking to everyone. Is there something like that from you? Aside from when you're dancing, that you just feel, in your past, you feel really great about?
Yeah. I moved to Orlando, Florida, and I didn't know anybody so I organized a Meet-Up. So when I left I had 600 people on that Meet-Up. Not everybody was showing up. But, it was just, the same 30 to 50 people that showed up in different places. But I felt pretty good and it's still up. And somebody else is running it.
How many years has it been?
Ah, it's, more than four years that I'm here.
Yeah. Okay. Great. Yeah. A lot to be confident about. So that's a good feeling to remember. And catch that emotion that, I am that type of person that can do these things. I don't have a problem with this. I shouldn't have a problem with this because I've done all of this. That's great. (audience clapping)