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Social and Performance Anxiety?

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From the U.S.: Please forgive me if the self-pity in this post disgusts you. However, that is the emotion I feel right now.

I guess you can say that middle school traumatized me. I was quite a confident and enthusiastic kid in elementary school. However, when I came to middle school, the girls thought myself over-zealous and annoying. I had to work my butt off to get ONE friend. And that can be a deep cut for someone who really wanted to be popular back then.

Since then, I became really quiet and unconfident. And recently, I have been experiencing setbacks in many areas. When it comes to people, I became the worst at small talk because I always second guess what I can say. Eventually, it seemed like I have nothing to say.

When it comes to performance, I toss and turn the night before like a mad man. I try all these mental tricks, yoga, and much others but its effects are limited. I can almost anticipate insomnia now before every big event.

Social and Performance Anxiety?

Answered by on -

A.

Middle school seems to traumatize so many kids. It isn’t the school, of course. It’s the dynamics among all those teens trying to figure out who they are while their bodies are sending out a tide of new hormones to adjust to. Middle school ends up being a stew of emotional upheaval.

Like most people your age, you want to have a solid group of friends to hang with. Like many people your age, you are so concerned about how your performance (whether as a friend or doing an assignment) will measure up as compared to others’ that you end up immobilized. You do have my sympathy. I just want you to understand that you aren’t at all alone in your feelings of confusion and discouragement.

The best way out of this is to stop being concerned about what others think. Instead of worrying about making friends, focus on finding things you really love to do. Identify an organization, a club, a sport, or an activity that truly interests you. Then jump in. Do it to the best of your ability. Focus on the tasks, not on whether you are winning friends. People who love the same things tend to have things in common. Chances are that your and the people you meet who are doing the same activity will be interested in each other.

When you are working with someone else, keep the conversation light. Ask questions about the other person’s interests. People like people who show an interest in them. By focusing on the activity and being a good listener, you will give yourself and the others the chance to develop relationships naturally.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Social and Performance Anxiety?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Social and Performance Anxiety?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 16, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/08/13/social-and-performance-anxiety/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.