Anyone who’s met me knows I can be really awkward in social situations. I’m not exactly what you’d call a people person, and crowds make me anxious at the best of times. As a result, when I started getting interested in a particular game, I looked for help with learning on YouTube, through people I already knew, and via online forums rather than just attending a local group. The idea was that I’d learn to play before attending a group because I was nervous of meeting that many new people at once, and knew that whether I clicked with them or not could potentially ruin the game that I’d been enjoying so far.
However, I was struggling to learn on my own. The Internet wasn’t giving me the answers I needed, so I was left with a choice: bite the bullet and go see a group (I’d been in touch with the local group and knew people were happy to help me out), or struggle along on my own. After a bit of deliberation and a chat with my wonderfully supportive other half I decided to give the group a go. He was going to come with me the first time in case I didn’t get on with them, but due to his schedule couldn’t make it for a while so I kept putting it off.
Finally I got fed up of my own inability to go on my own. It was time to face my fear and go for it. So I got togged up and took a nice walk to the pub where they play. Admittedly I was so nervous I went through a full pint before most of the group got there, but eventually everyone arrived and we got settled down and introduced. Funnily enough, I had a great time. Got on with everyone, had a laugh, learned a lot more than I’d managed to do on my own, and all round had a really fun evening, with one of the guys being kind enough to drop me at home when we were done because it was dark and wet and late.
It will sound silly to some people, being scared to embrace a new social situation, but for people who struggle with them it can be really difficult. One thing that’s helped me is that I recently read an excerpt from the book “F**k It”, which is about recognising when things scare you, or upset you, or are things you want to do but your attitude and thought patterns are holding you back, and saying “F**k it, I’ll do it anyway, how bad can this actually go? Yes I might end up being awkward, or not enjoying myself, or being laughed at, but I won’t know if I don’t try and I’m just making things worse by giving in to my own brain”.
In an earlier post I mentioned about how you shouldn’t be scared of relying on the people around you, but forgot to mention that those people includes yourself. Yes sometimes you need to talk to someone else, but don’t fall into the pattern of running to someone else every time anything goes wrong. First look at it and say “Can I tackle this myself?”; even sit and make a list of pros and cons if it helps you, before giving up. If you can’t tackle it yourself then by all means go to someone for help, but sometimes you’ll do yourself a lot more good by tackling your fear on your own.