Modern life seems to celebrate ‘loudness’ but for those who are quieter, struggle with confidence and experience social anxiety it can be more tricky. If you are a loud person you seem get more attention, more say, more chances, and also I feel that some louder people seem to feel they have the right to tell the story of those who are quieter, even if they don’t have a clue what the quiet individual is actually going though or what opinions or ideas they may have too.
That is not saying louder or maybe more confident people, may not have their own problems, anxieties and difficulties – far from it, you never know what goes on behind closed doors for anyone no matter what.
Quieter people can experience social anxiety disorder (huge anxiety over being judged) this can be mistaken for being rude, antisocial and not wanting to socialise with others. But when these people do want to socialise with others, it can cause a lot of anxiety for them to be themselves and feel comfortable in the situation – this can take time. It’s important to remember that anxiety is very real and more than being shy.
It’s important to stress that everyone experiences anxiety differently, some may have general worries alongside this and everyone may find different situations more challenging than others. Matt for example loves visiting the Emirates as an Arsenal season ticket holder and loves seeing various pop concerts. In the summer he saw Britney Spears and Arsenal both in one day. But he also finds group situations/meeting new people or situations, for example: paying in a restaurant or speaking on the telephone difficult. Rosie would find all of the above really challenging anxiety wise but has no personal interest in football.
When you experience anxiety the brain can catastrophize and think the worst, in social situations this can result in thinking people won’t enjoy your company, find you boring and not interesting or that you personally worry that you won’t be able to say anything in a situation due to anxiety or worry you may experience panic attacks in more crowded places.
Just because someone experiences anxiety doesn’t mean that they don’t want to feel included and involved. With support and understanding that things take time it can help people find a sense of purpose, which is important especially if you’ve experienced low mood or depression relating to these issues. Between us, we have experienced depression and feeling socially isolated and lonely, the feeling of being included and valued can mean a lot. Just because we maybe have each other it’s also important to us to connect to others, especially as sometimes it can be tricky having similar difficulties.
2018, wasn’t an easy year for many myself and Rosie, but it also had some positive points for me – Matt was elected Vice Chair of a national charity, and that the young people I meet from this continue to fill me with a branch of confidence that there is some sort of hope out there. It’s great to bounce ideas off these young minds, and its equally great to bounce of worries, and the bad times off these people, without judgement, especially after misunderstandings we have experienced in recent years.
Matt has never been a loud person, he finds it easier to keep quiet – to sit and observe, see the world going on around me, I like to listen to people, be it their troubles, or their positives and fun. Rosie also likes to take the time to listen people and have never been a loud person, alongside social anxiety who can feel confident enough to talk and talk, but being quieter makes me a thoughtful person as I think a lot buying people gifts etc.
I think its important to say that us quieter people are always active, just because we’re not speaking, we’re there it just may take time for us to feel comfortable and confident and push through a lot of anxiety to say what we want without fear of judgement. Just because we don’t speak up, or post confidently online, or getting into deep debates about things, doesn’t mean we’re not involved. Often lack of confidence and social anxiety can make sharing and opening up about yourself difficult.
It’s also important that quieter/socially anxious people get any support and help they may mean. Often in society there are misunderstandings that the louder you shout the more support you may need weather it be emotional or practical it’s easy for quieter people to slip through the net or be let down for support. But it is important that everyone gets the right help and support especially if anxiety is a huge issue.
Misunderstandings and assumptions can be hurtful and upsetting and it’s important as with anyone listening is such a valuable tool. There may be a lot about a socially anxious person you may not know about of them or their story. One of the most upsetting misunderstandings is when people assume you don’t understand them or can’t empathise, when in reality that may be far from the case. Many quieter socially anxious people may have been “shot down” in previous conversations or left out so their self esteem about themselves may be low, so do bear that in mind when you get to know someone.
Most importantly quieter people need to feel valued and appreciated something which we can often lack.
You never know what you might learn when you take the time to find out more about someone. When you also take the time to get to know them you just might also help them feel comfortable to be themselves and come out of their shell and be more confident.
– Until next time …