A while ago I wrote a blog about a book called Flirtology which you can see here Flirtology. One of the activities in it was to talk to strangers. It didn’t actually need to be about flirting, just asking people questions and being satisfied with the responses.
One of the many things that resulted from the 2 breakdowns of the past 8 years is that I was left with some severe social anxiety. It got to the point where even with closest friends I wouldn’t want to go out. So I started the task. Just the odd smile at people or saying hi as they walked past and slowly built it up.
At the height of my anxiety I couldn’t bare to be near strangers. If I was in a busy cafe where I may have to share a table; if a stranger came and sat at my table I would start with the palpitations and my chest would go tight and I’d let them sit and leave myself usually within 60 seconds. If I had to finish my food or drink it was just torture.
Using these activities this year has really brought those stress levels down. I’ve found that I chat more to people. I’ll have more than one or two words and have mini conversations. Today I was sat in McDonalds having my lunch time cup of tea after a walk. AS it’s the school holidays it was packed and a woman and her mum asked if they could share my table. And I was fine!
I had my kindle and they made a joke about not talking to em but actually I didn’t mind. Not only did we have a little chat about walking, staff canteens and swimming of all things I ended up leaving a good 5 minutes after I’d planned to (and ended up in a charity shop buying 4 books which I shouldn’t have done…..oops)
I felt great about it (the conversation not the books). I left with a really nice feeling and no stress at all. I think this is still a work in progress and there’s much more to do but I am so much further forward with this than I expected to. I’ll remember how to be a social butterfly in no time 🙂