Brainstorming for February
So it’s February now. I’m going to continue going out of my way to talk to strangers because I’ve learned that most people are happy to talk with me. It feels awkward making the initial conversation starter, but that’s really the hardest part and once that’s over with it’s a pretty enjoyable experience.
As I’ve said before, my focus is on friendships and relationships for this month. (My project doesn’t really have to be divided up into months, but for now it’s helpful for keeping me on track so I can address everything I want to work on within the year. )
So first off, I brainstormed some ways shyness can affect friendships.
-sometimes you feel on the outside of a group of friends, and don’t feel as close to the others as some of your other friends are because you spend less time with them or talk to them less
-may end up turning down invitations to parties or social gatherings because you don’t think you’ll fit in with the group and have a good time, may feel pressured to participate in party games or dancing and singing
-difficulty with confrontations: suppress feelings and pretend like everything’s ok and wasn’t something worth bringing up even though it had been bothering you
-sometimes feel like you can’t think of anything to say, listen too much and don’t add something to the conversation
-avoid talking about topics that are too sensitive for you and avoid revealing much about yourself, don’t always let others really get to know you
-fear of embarrassment, criticism, looking foolish, or making a mistake can keep you from taking any risks
-can keep you from calling up a friend and arranging to hang out
-can cause you to lose touch with friends, either ones you don’t see much anymore or ones that have moved
-sometimes difficult to stand up for yourself and your values, and even to stand up for others because you don’t like conflict
Those are the things that I think of when it comes to how my shyness could be affecting my friendships. So looking at that list, I could spend more time with friends, accept invitations to parties/social invitations, confront friends if something is bothering me, add more to group conversations, reveal more about myself to friends, take some risks and worry less about embarrassment or criticism, call up friends to arrange getting together, reconnect with friends who I’ve lost touch with or haven’t talked to as much as I used to, and stand up for myself and others and be open to facing any conflict that may come out of that.
I think all those actions will be beneficial and important to take. In the months before I decided to pursue this project, I started getting really obsessed with reading, especially with books on careers. As a high school senior, I’ve felt a lot of pressure on me to answer the question “What do you want to do?” and I’ve been trying to figure that out. I was getting so into it (and so stressed out about it) that a lot of my weekends were spent in my room, reading and writing all day, going through exercises from the career books. I felt like it was important, but at the same time I felt like I should be spending some time out with friends too. But I didn’t feel like just calling people up and seeing if they wanted to hang out. It was hard for me to break away from my reading and call up a friend, so often I didn’t. I felt shy about calling even. It was relaxing having no plans, nothing set for the next day. But then when people asked me what I did that weekend, I didn’t have much to say. I felt like I should have done more with my time. It’s easy for me to spend a weekend at home reading or studying. When I don’t have any plans, there are no pressures and no worries. I need some time to myself to do homework and read/write, but I need to spend some time with friends too.