For those afraid to speak/feel not heard

Hi everyone...I posted this on the intro thread, but I know it will get lost on there. I have a great acronym I use (see below) that has helped me a lot, in dealing with speaking/talking to people/not feeling heard, etc.

Before you open your mouth to say something ask yourself:
T - Is it thoughtful?
H - Is it honest?
I - Is it intelligent?
K - Is it kind?

The reason I started doing this is because I realized when I tried to speak naturally, (with no one asking me a specific question), I always feel like I say something stupid or not right. This helps me to think more than speak. I also try to not speak unless someone speaks to me first. I also try to ask people questions. (Most people like talking about themselves, so it gets me off the hook of coming up with conversation).

I have always been a quiet person, but even when talking to my family or close friends, I immediately start seeing that they are distracted when I start talking. I get interrupted constantly. In a group of three or more, it is impossible for me to say anything. If I do, I seem to get ignored or interrupted. I can just see people's eyes glaze over rudely, as if they are not listening to me, and only trying to think about what they want to say next. I find it offensive because I always try to intently listen to someone when they are speaking to me. (an example of how obvious people's intentions are to me and how they act in public and how it is offensive to me)

When speaking or answering someone, I try to keep it short and sweet and polite. At work, it is a little different and I am able to have work-related conversations professionally. But as soon as the topic changes off work, I stop.

Some may say this is unnecessary and an extreme behavior modification. Some may say as a human, I have every right to speak my mind. However, doing this has actually made me less anxious. I'm not so worried anymore that I am annoying someone or talking too much or saying the wrong things. So I do the above acronym when answering someone speaking to me, but also use it if I cannot resist the urge to say something if not spoken to first. But shutting up and waiting until I've been spoken to has been a tremendous help. A doctor might say it is bad to do that, I'm sure, but it really has helped me. It gave me a newfound freedom, to be honest. The anxiety of screwing up a conversation or offending someone is gone, because I really can't when using this system. I honestly feel calmer and freer.

I thought my problem with people not listening to me was the volume of my voice, because I know I can be quiet. So I paid attention to how quiet I was being, and I don't think that is it at all. I know people can hear me.

My social anxiety has been around since I was younger, but I didn't realize that was what the problem was at the time. (When I was young, I don't even think this was a valid diagnosis. We were just called super-shy). One of my biggest issues is that I feel too self-aware, thus self-conscious. When around friends and others, I constantly get embarrassed by how they act, even though no one else seems to think it is inappropriate. I know this is because in my head, I am so conscious about NOT acting that way and this is what causes anxiety.

Then I feel bad because I feel like I am judging other people and thinking I am better than them. But it is not that, I literally am just shocked at some of the things people do and say in front of other people. It boggles my mind that people seem to have no self-awareness. But, I know I am very different from the people around me. I am not glued to a phone constantly. I don't have Facebook or any social media because I think they have turned people into antisocial zombies. I also feel like I can see through people immediately. I know everyone puts on a facade and we all wear masks. But I can immediately see through people's intentions, thus isolating me further. Conversation is a big problem for me.

I'd like to know how people feel about the self-awareness/other people's self-awareness (or lack thereof) and how it affects them. This is one of my biggest issues. I cringe how people act, talk, etc., sometimes. And in return, am afraid to say something, thinking it is stupid. And I hope my THINK acronym might help someone else here. Thanks!


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I really like your acronym and agree that all of those things are vital. I'd like to incorporate it into my social skill set.

My opinion is that, outside of substantial conversation, attitude is also important to social fluency. If you act self-confident (speak assertively, make eye contact, smile often, actually listen) people interrupt you less and listen back to what you have to say, as long as you're not completely full of it.

And on the point of listening, I agree that many people search for the next thing they want to say without listening to what the other person has to say; I am often guilty of this myself.

A lot of my SA comes from being afraid of what to say next in order to impress, so I tend to subconsciously focus on that rather than listening. But, if you're actively listening and interested in what the other person has to say, you can come up with all sorts of questions that take this pressure of saying something witty or interesting off of you, with interjections every now and then. As long as the people you are speaking with aren't completely self-absorbed and see your sincere interest in them, they will eventually ask you questions too, and this will lead to, I think, a very natural flow of conversation where you're making connections to what they are saying, their lives, and they are returning in favor. Sincere questioning is a great ice-breaking method that leads to qualitatively better conversation.

Overall though, conversation is an amalgam of questioning, answering, and relating. I don't think we can neglect any of them.

Great post. Thank you. It really made me think about recent conversations I've had and reminded me that once again, listening is key to social fluency.
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Sir I think that what you're dealing with is just a means of survival. That's my opinion. I have issues with speaking too. Sometimes I think I mean to say something but my body language and the flow of conversation and what others say seems to show otherwise.