How can a former shy person go from merely functional to friendly?
June 7, 2012 7:54 AM Subscribe
I used to be very shy. Through years of pushing myself (I'm 33 now), I've become pretty amazingly functional. But I find myself in an unexpected spot. While I very much want to be around people and I can now handle it without freezing up, my experience of actually being around people is one of gritted teeth and willpower. There's very little joy in it. In theory, I'd like nothing more than a bushel of friends hanging out in my kitchen on a Sunday night. In practice, I push myself into social situations like dunking my arm in freezing water, pulling it out with a huge sigh of relief as soon as I let myself. That's not a recipe for forging new friendships, which I know take time and certain amount of vulnerability. What can I do to take myself to the next level -- from functional to genuinely friendly? Do people ever make it to the next level? On the phobia scale, it's not enough for me to be able to let a spider crawl on my arm without having a panic attack, I need to be able to lay down in a cave full of spiders and love it. (I've been in therapy for a year, but aside from that, I'd like to hear from you all.)