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I’m reviewing a self-help book about social anxiety that I read some years ago. I don’t know how much I care about actually achieving some rapport with a person as much as I care about the confidence of knowing that I could engage successfully were I to want to do so.

Even though I am a girl, the worst social anxiety I experience comes from interacting with other girls. (This probably stems from negative experiences in middle school and high school. I also have ADHD.) I am often unsure about how the process of establishing friendship with another girl occurs. I feel like I reach out to be closer and withdraw at the wrong times. I’m pretty sure I’m doing something wrong but it’s hard to know what. My uncertainty in this area keeps me trying— trying until I have the confidence that I know.

The main point I am trying to make, is— I don’t know how much I want to be friends with another person so much as that I want to know that they’d accept me if I tried. I want affirmation to know that I’m “okay” and “good enough.” In particular, I want affirmation that I’m correctly engaging in the expected social behaviors (with girls).

I think I get confused between wanting to be accepted and being affirmed for reading the social situation accurately vs true desire for friendship and appreciation of the company of others. My desire for the former prevents me from truly discerning what it is I want from or with others, if anything. It’s also a somewhat selfish preoccupation, even if reasonable enough.

This was just a thought I wanted to share. If anyone can relate or has any other thoughts I’d be interested to hear. :)
 

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I am often unsure about how the process of establishing friendship with another girl occurs
I am like that , but in other areas of my life. Sometimes we'd like to have a Manual on 'how relationship works' :) what you need to understand is that things like friendships have to develop in a natural way.

But you can't befriend everyone as an exercise. Stop caring about that. Live your life, and if you find an interesting person, just say Hi, and find common interests to talk about. You can also ask questions, people generally like to answer questions about themselves :)

just my 2c !
 

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Hey prsvrnc (such an easy name to pronounce aloud)

I'm very much in the same boat as you in regards to experience - always given a tough time by other guys growing up for not fitting in and conforming'n'such, and a number of remnant reservations still hinder me today (though I only keep a few friends anyway, so it's no big deal).

I'm curious to know on what level exactly do you find yourself having difficulty connecting with the same sex? For me it's all centred around trivial, gender-stereotypical things, so I feel as though I have a hard time identifying with other guys because entry-points with so many of them are sport, cars, women (as in talking about 'fit birds' and all that bollocks); if forced to contribute, I tend to freeze up or hesitate, and it shows, but it doesn't trouble me/bring on my anxiety because I really want to fit in, it's just that I have a pretty tense, pit-of-the-stomach-based physical response to the attention being placed on me for being the odd-one-out. If I can find a common interest deeper-down, however, I don't usually have much trouble with girls or guys (or anything in-between).

As for your motives, I don't think there's anything inherently wrong or questionable with wanting to size yourself up socially vs. making actual connections with people; if you're an introverted type, such things as a social-life probably don't have as much importance, but it's still perfectly normal to want to know how capable you are without actually wanting to commit, because ultimately I think we all know it's something we're going to need at some point - I get a similar way when I'm feeling socially 'rusty' (I am not very social at all).

I hope that insight is of some interest to you!
 

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You can also ask questions, people generally like to answer questions about themselves
I go for this one pretty much every time. It's an especially useful approach for people who are very self-conscious about revealing what they're like (in the most general sense); it gives you a sort of safe-period within the conversation in which you can size up how much you want to reveal based on their responses.
 

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I don’t know how much I care about actually achieving some rapport with a person as much as I care about the confidence of knowing that I could engage successfully were I to want to do so.
I think these two things are related. Lack of motivation surely impacts capability to some extent.
 
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