Hi, I’m a quiet person who doesn’t talk much. When I do talk to someone I can’t think of things to say and it all feels a bit uncomfortable. When I drink alcohol and start to feel the effects I become more confident and open, my mood is elevated so I feel much happier and can pretty much talk to anyone. I’d like to be like that without the alcohol. I’m just not sure what to do? (age 37, from Australia)Need Alcohol to Communicate
Need Alcohol to Communicate
You are describing a common phenomenon in which people use alcohol to lower their anxiety and inhibitions, sometimes allowing them to be more comfortable socially. However, there are risks involved with this approach that you wouldn’t encounter with other avenues, such as utilizing therapy or anti-anxiety medication. The other inherent problem is that you are not addressing the underlying cause, only masking it.
You may be suffering from Social Anxiety Disorder and would benefit greatly from trying one of the treatments I mentioned above, but you could also just be a quiet and shy person. The best way to improve any skill is to practice and seek training from the experts. So the best way to feel more comfortable socially is to put yourself in more social situations. Start small and work your way to larger groups and make sure to first practice with people who you already feel comfortable with.
Finally, look for a social skills group or a Toastmaster’s group to hone your skill… and be willing to accept yourself as you are.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts