How Do I Change People's First Impressions Of Me and TALK LESS?
January 21, 2013 3:38 PM Subscribe
I've asked similar questions on here, but I'm now focusing on one of my behaviours--Talking way too much, way too soon. I'm in France on exchange, and while I've made friends and calmed down a lot since my last question, I'm still in the habit of monopolizing conversations (ughhhh) and generally being an intense weirdo due to my social anxiety. I'm generally confident and extroverted and was improving on my intense-crazy communication style quite a bit, but this trip is bringing out the worst of my social anxiety bad habits. Please help!
posted by rhythm_queen to human relations (15 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I have asked questions similar to this quite frequently here, but I want to get to the root of this basic issue now. I'm 20 years old, female, currently in France on exchange (been here for 3 weeks now) and I'm having some social difficulty. We are about 200 students from all around the world, so it's actually a rather small group. We drink and party way too much in the student city I'm in. I'm not exactly sure what I think yet of the culture here, but I am aware that I'm still experiencing culture shock. Of course, this is adding to my difficulty here.
I'm SO FAR from perfect, but I'm a pretty great girl in many aspects (if I do say so myself...)--I'm smart, I've overcome some difficulties, I am hard-working, I'm kind, whatever. I like myself, my real deep-down self, just fine. But I feel like it's hard for others on this exchange to like me because I've been talking too much.
It's mainly out of anxiety and stress. I've been making some really good friends here, and I've had some good times. I know there are people here who already quite like me and I know there's a lot who won't. I'm fine with that. But I feel like I'm scaring off a huge subset of potential friends just by being too talkative at the beginning of having met them. It's been rough because it's who I am, a very talkative, expressive, and outgoing person, but I DO believe I can control it if I consciously TRY.
One thing that I've tried to keep in mind is that I should give everyone a chance to say something in the group before I do. But frustratingly, I can't stand awkward silences. I feel it's almost painfully awkward when there's silence, and my kneejerk reaction is to talk. I know (TRUST ME, I know) that sometimes, silence is truly truly golden. But what can I do to tell myself to shut up? I want people to get to know me slowly and surely. Please help me try and slow my thoughts and actions down.
I know I've been improving a lot. But there are a LOT of situations here that just make me feel really anxious. And I'm very worried that I've already made permanently bad impressions on people--just by talking too much, too loudly, too expressively, too intensely...too soon.
So I ask you people--How can I stop gushing with stuff to say? How can I show people that I'm genuinely a nice person with brains, and change their initial impression of me? How do I calm down, and honestly, how do I SHUT UP? =P
Is it possible to change first impressions? (I know the answer is yes, but it feels so difficult) And if you've been through the same things, I'd love to hear some anecdotes!
Thank you so much.