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I'm wondering how many other INTPs suffer from social anxiety. And how you deal with it. Especially with being introverted anyway, and how easy this makes it for me to hide behind my introversion rather than deal with situations directly.

I've been this way for a long time, but I'm only recently starting to realize how much it has negatively affected my entire life and choices. There are so many opportunities I feel like I've missed out on simply because I'm terrified of social situations and having people's attention on me. I'm 20 and I'm starting to think about my future and the career I want, and how this kind of fear is only going to continue holding me back from reaching my goals. But I'm struggling with getting past it. But I also really don't want to see a therapist about it if I can help it.

So, I dunno. Any other INTPs who have struggled with this? What have you done to make it more manageable?
 

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Well, I had a lot of social anxiety. I am better now because of time and events that made me feel differently about things. Love changed me.

Love might not be forever, but it affects you forever.

P.S. you don't always need someone else to feel love. Sometimes a song can create that feeling.
 

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See a therapist. Seriously.

I got diagnosed with social phobia this fall, and thanks to CBT I can now go to the gym, go to the grocery store without having an (mild) anxiety attack at the check-out register, I can ask for help, even talk in front of a smaller crowd. Smaller things have gotten better, too. I still struggle with certain things, but I guess I always will in a way. You can always just check out a CBT program online to do, but I really suggest seeing someone. You might not have social anxiety/phobia, but something else. I went thinking I was depressed but it was actually my social phobia that made me tired, reclusive, and made me feel really down so much.

This might sound harsh but it really has to do with understanding (vs. knowing) that the world doesn't revolve around you. 80-90% of the people you're worried about either don't notice what you're doing, or don't actually care, and those who do care generally don't care as much as it feels that they do.

Therapy isn't as awful as it sounds, though I didn't enjoy it at all really it did help a lot.
 

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If you haven't done this already, you should analyse yourself and work inwards to understand why you feel afraid of people. From what I've witnessed it seems that social anxiety is sourced by something empirical, and the only way to rid yourself of your fear is confront this source. It's usually a flaw that's been ridiculed or made obvious to the individual, of which they become to obsess over whenever there are other people near them, expecting to be subjected to the same insulting behaviour that's scarred them the first time.
 

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yeah, I definitely get it. I've attributed it to not being around people enough, and finding people to be a root of a lot of problems in an abstract sense, so instinctively I feel the need to walk on egg shells. But then the feelings get in the way, and I just push through it. I don't even care how badly I do this anymore. But more consistent exposure makes things easier.
 

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Definitely. If you asked me what emotion I would say defines my life, I'd say anxiety, except it's at a level so far above other emotions that I balked when someone first told me that anxiety was an emotion. My experience with it is so visceral and full-bodied that it seems in a class above other dull-edged emotions.

I manage it, but it of course holds me back and sometimes makes it very difficult to just live an ordinary life. I break down at the sign of potential conflict and can have a panic attack just imagining having to confront someone. Throughout my school years I've had difficulty approaching teachers outside of class if I needed them to advise research projects. I have failed to acquire jobs because I didn't want to call employers. Every time I've gone to a career fair or networking event I circle around a few times before I talk to someone -- I was really proud of myself at the last career fair for only doing it once and not five times.

Therapy has helped, and not for the reason you might think. Therapy didn't do much to help me discover or understand my problems -- I do a lot of self-reflection by default and even my more complex emotional problems are fairly plain to me. What therapy helped me do was build confidence and realize that I was already doing a lot. My issue was that I had my problems too readily in view, which made me feel hopeless for how tangled up they were and with how little ground it seemed I could make. Therapy helped me see that I was resilient and was quite good at managing some pretty severe anxiety and interpersonal tendencies, and gave me the tools to make progress where I already knew I was capable. I'll never stop having anxiety, because it defines my thought patterns and feelings, but I don't have to let it stop me from being confident anyway.
 

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Yeah, nothing like (involuntarily) going your whole life without a single romantic or sexual relationship...
I'll take that statement seriously once you have proven you died, because you're in your mid 20s. That's not even close.

No but seriously, I hope you feel better. Join a book club (online if you have to via skype or something) and maybe something will transpire. But you can't force it. It's like an unwritten law about everything that has to do with relationships in general.
 

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Sort of; maybe not in a super traditional sense. I don't panic in crowds or have difficulty talking to friends, but small talk can be really rough, and I'm awful at eye-contact. A somewhat typical exercise for a lot of people is going to a public place and asking strangers for the time, which can actually be pretty useful if you do it repeatedly (so I've heard..). Standing up straight and looking presentable also help a surprising amount with confidence.
 

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I've created mask personas for certain social situations, patterned after people I admire in those areas, but still trying to be somewhat true to who I really am. Like for work, for instance. I can go into work situations and appear very professional and organized while still being very thoughtful and easy-going and focused and creative. But I don't have any expectations of a genuinely personal connection in those situations, so it doesn't stress me out that I keep so much of myself hidden. In social situations, though, like when going to church, I have more expectations of being able to connect personally, so I try to keep the masking to a minimum, but then I come across as much less organized inside, and that increases my social anxiety.
 

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It's like that moment when you balance on a chair and you start falling back. That split second when you get the striking full body experience while trying to grab the desk as to not fall, but stretched to infinity. I hate that feeling even though it defines my life. I am good at masking though so in most occasions it doesn't show.
 

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For most of my work and social obligations, I manage to put up a front to get me through the day. It's the times when I have my guard down that are the craziest things. Like for example, if I am at home doing my own thing not expecting any social interactions and someone knocks or rings the doorbell to my place I'll really freak out. If I'm not expecting company, my place is usually messy and I probably look like a bum so the last thing I want to do is answer the door. I usually just turn off any lights or noise and wait for whoever is at the door to go away. Most of the time it is just some solicitor leaving crap on my door. On the occasion it is someone I actually know, they usually end up calling me wondering where I am and I end up making up some excuse.

I go to so much effort to keep up appearances that I don't want anyone to get a glimpse of the raw, unfiltered me because I'll most likely be judged for it. Only a few people have experienced it first hand, like my parents and my sister, and they've given me enough crap about it as it is over the years. The worst part is when they talk about it behind my back to other people who have no idea. It makes me feel so violated that people I consider close to me would just expose me like that. I've had a lot of heart to hearts with my parents on the subject and they've slowly become more understanding but the damage has already been done.

Finding someone I could be my 100% true self without judgment is the dream! Until then the mask stays and I guess there's always the Perc INTP sub-forum haha.
 

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I'll take that statement seriously once you have proven you died, because you're in your mid 20s. That's not even close.
It's still a pretty long time. You can't just say "you're not missing out" when you're unable to form a single relationships (whether friendships or the romantic/sexual kind) for years at a time.

No but seriously, I hope you feel better. Join a book club (online if you have to via skype or something) and maybe something will transpire. But you can't force it. It's like an unwritten law about everything that has to do with relationships in general.
I've looked at meetup.com and all that, and there are very few groups in town that I could even have anything to do with if I wanted to. It's mostly senior citizens, female only groups, parents,

I'm also probably not invested in any particular thing enough that I'd fit in a "club" for it. I spend more time just thinking about things in my own world and trying to understand things than actually "doing" anything (which is common for INTP). And I don't even read books that often, so it would be weird for me to show up at a book club.

Should I take this at face value or instert an involuntary emotional response?
I'm not sure what you're trying to say.
 

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It's still a pretty long time. You can't just say "you're not missing out" when you're unable to form a single relationships (whether friendships or the romantic/sexual kind) for years at a time.


I've looked at meetup.com and all that, and there are very few groups in town that I could even have anything to do with if I wanted to. It's mostly senior citizens, female only groups, parents,

I'm also probably not invested in any particular thing enough that I'd fit in a "club" for it. I spend more time just thinking about things in my own world and trying to understand things than actually "doing" anything (which is common for INTP). And I don't even read books that often, so it would be weird for me to show up at a book club.
Why would it be weird, they'll just discuss ideas about the book, and hey it may be faster than having to read it yourself anyway. Or it could inspire you to read it. I think you're use to things being overly formalized into qualifications. Book clubs are informal, I don't think anyone is going to ultimately care if you're only there to listen. And like I said, it could be via web.

You can say you're missing out from a "grass is always greener" rationale, but in my own experience, that's hardly a justification that you're actually missing out. At the end of the day, it's just grass.
 
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Why would it be weird, they'll just discuss ideas about the book, and hey it may be faster than having to read it yourself anyway. Or it could inspire you to read it.
I don't know, showing up to a book club when you don't read books would be considered weird. What would I say when they ask me what I've read recently? You don't try to join a club for an activity you don't participate in...

I think you're use to things being overly formalized into qualifications
I'm not sure what that means.

I think almost anyone would agree that not being able to form any relationships and being involuntarily celibate isn't just a case of "the grass is always greener on the other side".
 
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