The Fear of Socializing

Sometimes I get irrationally afraid of small things. I will be getting ready to go out for drinks with a group of people and I start to feel nervous and freak out, other times I am going to join something new and start to freak out and debate pulling out of it. I don’t think I am alone in having these feelings, but I do think they stop me from living and have possibly prevented me from discovering a new activity that I would really enjoy.

My goal this year has really been to get over this and join something new. It is partly a result of being in a state of depression last year where there was little to do in the city I lived in, other then drink in tiny bars. I never went out or did anything and it put a lot of pressure on my relationship and also started to make me feel very unhappy. I got out of that living situation and was able to move to a lovely big city this year. Daegu is full of foreigners who are motivated and there are a ton of groups, activities and clubs to join. I came here determined to get out there to start something new and meet new people (even more important when you are living in a different country and have literally zero friends). After searching facebook like a maniac for something do-able, I remember coming across a zumbathon when we had been here a couple of months and thinking ‘I need to do this.’ It was now or never and I signed up thinking it would be so much fun to just go and dance for a couple of hours. As what usually happens with me, I say I will attend something because it is ages away, then a couple of days before the actual event I start to get nervous.

How I felt towards my past self who had signed me up for this.

How I felt towards my past self who had signed me up for this.

I remember really pushing myself to go to this zumba event. I sat on the couch saying ‘if you don’t do this, how will you meet people, think of how you would have killed for something like this last year in China.’ I finally managed to get off the couch after assuring my nerves that I could just go for a little bit and sneak out.

Long story short, zumbathon led to me taking zumba classes and meeting a few new people who have turned into friends. I then got talking to a girl there and we started a book club in Daegu. Despite this big payoff though I still get worried before doing something new.

I have joined a volunteer group and really pushed myself to go to that, telling myself again that I could just go for a little bit. And yeah, I ended up having a good time and also doing some good. Then yesterday I signed up for a boot camp downtown which a friend was taking, cue the panic.

sometimes I just want to hide from people and all forms of socializing

sometimes I just want to hide from people and all forms of socializing

I debated dropping out, but that would be hard to explain to the friend and also to my fiancée. What got me in the end though was when I asked myself the question ‘what is the worst that can happen?’ I mean seriously, it is one hour of my life. One single hour where there most terrible outcome is I struggle to do the exercises and the other people going are rude, then I go home and just decided not to go back. I started to go through this in my head, if this is the worst then what is the best situation? I go, kick ass and get a great workout and maybe make a new friend. I knew that if I just went I would feel proud of myself afterwards. Even if the worst situation happened, the knowledge that I had tried would be a huge boost.

Of course I went and it was a really good experience, I will go back. But this is what got me thinking, why is it so damn hard for us to do something simple like go to a one hour class! Why do we feel so afraid to step out of our comfort zone, and then complain about how bored or unfulfilled we are? Socializing seems to be something really nerve-wracking for most of us and we need to get over it.

Next time you have these feeling, whether it be for going to a new class or even just going out in a big group of people for a dinner, stop and think about it. What is the worst thing that can happen, if it is terrible you don’t have to go back or put yourself in this situation again, but you will know that you tried.

Weigh this up with the best thing that could happen, think about how amazing this would be and how good you will feel. You could have a fantastic night out, or discover a new hobby that you are really passionate about. Putting ourselves out there is hard but it does make us happier and can lead to so many new things. Remember, it is okay to feel afraid, but if we don’t try then that fear is never going to go away and we could be missing out on so much.


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