My main problem is social anxiety. I freeze in any situation and get horrendously nervous. I suck at small talk, and I spend so much time worrying that I'm not making good conversation or responding correctly that I end up missing my cues to talk and just end up muttering "aha, yeah." I even get socially awkward trying to order pizza on the phone, which is pretty lame.
This is just slightly
worse than me.
actually, I could identify with the majority of your last post. I have managed to make a few friends, so it's not impossible, even with this condition. Let me elaborate my thoughts.Main part of advice:
1. At first, try to avoid situations that are hard for you. For example, in my country there is an online food delivery service, and I haven't made a single food ordering call since I found out about that. Find ways to ease your life by avoiding situations in which you get anxious.
2. Suggestion 1 won't solve your problem though. No matter how hard you try to avoid anxiety-inducing situations, some will
surely come up. You should seek professional help. I don't know about your views on therapy, so I'll say this just in case: seeing a therapist doesn't mean you're a psycho or crazy or such, it is not shameful at all - au contraire, it demonstrates that you've realised you have a problem and that you're willing to work on it. If you do, however, feel uneasy about others finding out, just don't tell them, that's it. If you're willing to work on self-improvement, therapy is very likely to help with things such as this (or at least my therapist claims so). No, really, seek help. You'll feel better on the long run.
3. This one pretty much sums up my previous post(s): don't treat other people with disrespect, or make it seem that you're waiting for them to fuck something up, so you could criticize or start a conflict. Try making friendly relationships with people. I'm thinking about random conversation starters, such as "hey dude, that's a really neat calculator. is it programmable?" - people like it when other people show interest for them and/or their things. I know it's hard for you, but once you actually do it, you'll see there's nothing to worry about
. Exchange two or three sentences, no pressure. If you feel as if you couldn't say more than "aha, yes", say it and don't feel bad about it. People don't judge you even half of how much you yourself do. Random Joe doesn't think that you're embarrassing yourself whilst you think you are. He most probably doesn't give a rats ass! He'd probably think you're just introverted, thinking about something else, etc, and won't give you more than 30s of his thoughts. You need to embrace the fact that other's people's thoughts aren't mainly about you - in fact, they very rarely are. They just don't care whether you're talkative or not. You should talk sometimes, so that you could show that you're worthy of having a conversation with. But no need to pressure yourself. Pressuring just makes the whole thing much worse. The next time you naturally feel the urge to say or ask something (NOT critical, though) - say it, before you even start analysing whether it'd be smart or not to talk. SAY IT!
People WILL accept you as the guy who doesn't like to small-talk too much, but has stuff to say, you just might need to work on it a bit.Just like ordering pizza: you get anxious, have irregular bowel movement, heart starts pounding, rehearse the phone call over and over, triple-check whether that's what you want so you wouldn't change your mind during the call thus causing another uncomfortable situation [at least this stuff happens to me, as funny as it is ] --- but after the call, everything becomes fine within minutes.Secondary advice (some stuff that will make relationships with people easier on the long run):
1. You CAN have ocd AND make friends.I believe I also have some form of OCD (or, at least, some traits of OCDish behaviour). For example, I tend to freak out even when somebody merely touches my personal stuff. Interestingly though, my high school and Uni colleagues respect that, and even make semi-jokes on that behalf ("I wanted to return you your pencil and put it in your pencil case, but I figured it'd be safer for me to wait until you came back" and such).
I can't give you the recipe for this, but basically: show people that you will not be made fun of (if they're the type of people that simply cannot be "shown" that, then the mentioned ignoring is probably best). Show people that you have boundaries which you REALLY don't want to be crossed.
Besides that, show them respect that they deserve, too.
2. If you snap at someone and later realize that you'd made a mistake, apologize. It isn't the pleasantest of interactions, but apologizing when you did something wrong is important. It helps a lot. If you find it very hard to do that personally, send them a text message or talk to them via some chat service (gtalk, MSN, whatever you use). It doesn't have (and shouldn't have) to be degrading to you. Just say something like "Hey dude, sorry about today. I didn't mean to make you feel bad, I just lost it somehow. I apologize." DON'T add stuff which should validate your behaviour, don't talk about how you'd had a bad day, etc. Apologizing will make the person feel better and likely forget that little "excess" of yours, and you'll feel better, too (ya'll see
3. This might be a bit controversial. If you aren't prone to aggressive behaviour
(I cannot stress this enough - because, if you are, just forget this whole suggestion), try having a drink or two during some friendly social interactions. It may help you loosen up a bit, soften your anxiety, and you might find it much easier to communicate with people. Now, it might be a bit weird if you drank before meeting someone and that someone figures it out, but you could go with that someone to a bar and order a beer or something. It used to help me in some situations before. A lot.
Of course, this would mostly apply when you actually meet someone. Therapy should, however, be started asap.
As to not having a single friend yet...
If there's some kind of Melbourne online community, I think that'd be a great place to start. You could choose people according to their interests, plus there's a lot less pressure than in real life meeting new people.