Isn’t it frustrating?
You can talk fine with some people, but not others.
- Most family members…fine.
- Current friends…fine
- People “worse off” than you…fine
But, when you get in front of:
- An attractive girl (or guy) you want to like you
- A popular social group you want to fit in with
- A person you want to be your friend
- Or an authority figure you want respect from
You become anxious and awkward. You have no idea what to say.
What the hell, right?
What’s going on here and how can you act as naturally with those “intimidating” people as you do around everyone else?
Really, understanding this and working at it is THE key to true social confidence and freedom.
Why You Blank Around People Who Interest You Most
Usually, the people you have trouble talking to are the ones you “want” something from.
- You want the attractive girl to like you
- You want your boss to respect you
- You want the popular or successful people to invite you in
It all comes down to wanting some form of acceptance from these people, right?
Now wanting to be accepted and belong is a fundamental human need. We all want that. So why is it causing you so much trouble here?
Well, it’s because we desire the acceptance of these particular people MORE than from others.
Let’s think about it…
- Could it be because the girl is attractive?
- Could it be because your boss has a form of power?
- Could it be because the popular group is exclusive?
These are all generally accepted forms of “high social value.” And since human beings are a social species, we’re programmed (through evolution) to respect people with those qualities.
What this means is, interacting with people we view as high value feels riskier. Now this is the key, so we’ll discuss it more below.
But the end result is this…
Sometimes you say nothing to avoid being rejected by such “important people.” Or if you do talk, you’re so nervous you act weird and awkward.
People you’re comfortable around on the other hand, you either don’t care if they accept you or you already know they’ll like you as you are.
Because their rejection is unlikely or unimportant in your mind, you’re not watching your every word or trying to be perfect. You’re more natural and casual.
Why Talking to THOSE People Feels “Riskier”
I believe the root of the problem is you feel your self-worth is on the line with these “high-value” people. It seems acceptance from them would mean you are more worthy as a person. Or that rejection and embarrassment from them means you’re a total failure.
In other words, acceptance or failure with these particular people would change the way you see yourself to a large degree. THAT’s why you feel anxiety around them; you’re putting your sense of worth in their hands.
In turn, it’s this anxiety that’s causing you to be awkward and feel you have nothing to say.
Obviously, most of the issue here is just in your head. What others say or think about you is a very poor measure of your true worth.
Also, as I’m sure you’ve heard before, rejection and embarrassment isn’t the end of the world. There are plenty of other people out there and many opportunities to meet them.
Let’s pause to review what we’ve discussed so far:
- Approval or rejection from certain people feels more important because you’ve put them in a “high value” category in your mind
- You unwittingly allow the acceptance (or rejection) of these “high value” people to affect your feelings of self-worth to a large degree
- Since interactions with these people are “high-stakes” for your self-worth, you feel anxious around them, get awkward or keep quiet
How to Talk Confidently With “High-Value” People
Well, there are two parts to the issue here right?
- You see some people as high value
- You tend to let their appraisal of you dictate your sense of worth
So you need to attack both parts of the issue. Here’s how
The High Value Issue
For the most part, this isn’t going to change. Like I said, humans are “programmed” to react a certain way to “high value” signals like attractiveness, success or power.
But people with a low sense of self-worth tend to inflate the good qualities of others while blowing their own weaknesses out of proportion. This creates an unrealistic and unjustified exaggeration of the other person’s value.
Also, our “fear of the unknown” can get the best of us. We imagine all sorts of social pitfalls when interacting with intimidating people. Pitfalls that usually don’t exist or aren’t as bad as we think.
Here are two ways to balance the scales a bit:
- Constantly remind yourself others have issues, problems and weaknesses too. Remember, attractive, popular, successful folks are people too. They have their own flaws and weaknesses. And being human, they likely feel intimidated and uncertain in social situations also. What’s more, you probably have strengths and experiences they don’t have.
By reminding yourself of these things in the moment, you make your thinking more realistic. This helps bring your anxiety down a notch so you can interact more naturally.
- Gradually spend more time around people who intimidate you. The point here is to get more and more comfortable being around, then interacting with, the people you’re most interested in. You push further and further each time.
What you’re doing is proving to your subconscious there’s little reason to feel intimidated by these people. That even if the interaction doesn’t go well, you survive just fine. Eventually, your subconscious will realize the imagined risk of talking to them isn’t so bad after all. Then you’ll feel much more comfortable around them.
The Self-Worth Issue
If someone you barely know ignores you and you feel down in the dumps (thinking they don’t like you), you’re getting too much self-worth from others.
- Work at getting self worth from inside, not outside. You need to get more validation from yourself by being aware of your qualities and strengths. Then you won’t be so needy around others. Simply because you won’t NEED approval from them as much. You’ll be getting approval from yourself.
And when you aren’t seeking their approval, they’ll often respond to you better. Even if you don’t have much in common or make “social mistakes,” it won’t matter so much. When people sense you have confidence and don’t need their approval, they overlook a lot.
So What Are Your Next Steps?
Start taking ACTION!
Take the suggestions above and do your best to implement them. That will get you started in the right direction.
But as I’ve hinted in the past, I HAVE put together a step by step solution to doing all this.
If that’s something you think you’d be interested in, then you can find out more about it here.
Until next time.
P.S. – Some people just seem higher value in our minds, so what they think of us seems to matter a lot more. But if we have a low sense of self-worth, we tend to care too much what others think.
This makes us stay quiet trying not to upset them. OR we’re awkward because we’re trying to impress them.
The answer is to increase our feelings of self-worth and our social confidence. And you get there by taking action and gradually getting better.
It’s not an “overnight success” type of thing. But it CAN happen fast. THIS contains all my best strategies to get to true charm and confidence as quick as possible.
(“Attractive and Delicate” by Jacob Montrasio is licensed under CC by 2.0)