Life of the seminar, but not life of the party

Hello, I'm a university student, 19 years of age and over the past year or so I have discovered I suffer from social anxiety. I very seldom talk, probably due to irrational fear, but I also feel as though I have nothing to say, or at least nothing that anyone would find interesting.

Unstructured conversation is something that I have great difficulty with. This is perplexing, because when in a seminar, I'm nearly always the one who gets the discussion to a start! It's quite strange that in this environment, I feel much more comfortable to talk and even joke about the subject in hand. Public speaking and presentations are also something I find little trouble doing, although I know some -exuberant and outgoing people- who would be terrified at the prospect.

If I could just get comfortable around people in "everyday" social situations, maybe I could be life of the party aswell, but this seems a long way off.

Thankyou for reading, please feel free to make any comments on this subject.


New member
Is it that you don't know much about topics that people come up with in everyday situations, or is it that you just really feel that you have nothing interesting to contribute? If it's the latter, I think you should just go ahead and throw out what you think. Most everyday conversations aren't about anything of importance anyway. Besides, most people that talk about random things are just talking for the sake of talking. If you don't know anything about the topic at that present moment, maybe you could just try asking a question every now and then, just to remind people that you're still there. Aside from all that, I don't think that it much matters whether you contribute to the conversation or not. Given, it's not very social, but I've found that a lot of people are okay with it. People used to call me serial killer when I wouldn't say much, but it was all in good fun and they knew how I was. It all comes down to how you feel. Are you content when you're not putting in your two cents? These are just my personal opinions, though. Don't take me seriously unless you want to.
By the way, I've found that reading novels with witty conversation can help tremendously. Of course, the adverse effect is narrating everything you do daily, and describing things in paragraph form with your thoughts. :lol:
Thanks for your comment Quinn, I will try really hard to throw something out. I've been reading about the theory of relativity recently (just out of interest), so maybe I can bombard my flatmates with tales of time dilation and the impossibility of faster than light travel!

I just feel really self conscious whenever others are around. In one of the first few weeks of arriving at uni, I was at a bar with all nine of my flatmates. My flatmate Nina asked my why I was so quiet and always seemed "scared". I just laughed nervously and said, "It's just the way I am." She said I needed to be more open, and at that point I was really considering telling her about my problem with SA when she was -quite literally- dragged away.

I know I can be witty, I know I talk about about things of little importance as I do this with some of my friends from back home. Just about all of my friends have been with me through my entire school life, so I have never needed to make new friends until now, and I find it extremely hard just to get talking with someone. I find that my lack of self confidence is very debilitating.

But it's strange, sometimes I feel worthless and that no-one wants to talk to me because I'm some kind of emotionless psycho or due to some other reason that I manage to concoct. The thing is I am a very emotional and sensitive person, the emotion is there, but it just isn't expressed. I do snap out of these moments of hopelessness though when I look at what I've achieved and am indeed achieving. My skills as an artist/designer are to say the least exceptional (please don't get the impression I'm showing off here, we're all brilliant at something!) And when I look at my work I realise that I'm pretty good after all.

In the meantime I'll try not to describe things in paragrph form, but I guess it's too late for that in this case! :)


Well-known member

I'm just like you with the seminar thing, I'm loudest there, but at the end of class I run away so I don't have to make small talk.

I reckon you're gonna work out ok, everything is going to turn out well for you. You've got a name for your problem, you know that it is separate from you as a person. So when you start to feel like an "emotionless freak", or that people are judging you in any way, try and remember who you are as a person. You are not necessarily a shy or introverted person, just because you are stammering and feeling awkard. Separate the SA from your belief about your personality.

Cheers. pleas excuse typos, I am far too reliant on spell checkers