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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My oldest daughter is bright and attending college. However, in certain situations she is very shy. Today she told me that when she got to her new English class, everyone was told to sit on the floor, in a circle and introduce themselves. This is the sort of thing that she is afraid of...I mean to the point of near panic and is considering dropping the class.<br><br><br><br>
I have always thought the forced introductions useless and painful for a majority of the class...<br><br><br><br>
I am not sure what to tell her...<br><br><br><br>
Any ideas?
 

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Mush, I was a late bloomer, myself. It wasn't until about 2 or 3 years after high school that I became the outspoken, get-in-your-face jerk that I am now. However, I don't think that, even at my most shy, I was ever near panic with any such scenarios.<br><br><br><br>
What year is your daughter? If she's a freshman, I would perhaps wait it out a bit, thinking that there may be something to the new college lifestyle that will adjust her, as I feel it did for me. However, if she is in her second year or later, I would worry that it's not just simple shyness. I think that a paid professional in the mental health field might help diagnose the problem(s).<br><br><br><br>
Just my $.02...
 

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Shyness is a problem for a lot of people I've known. I was shy for many years of my life (& in some ways still am). One thing that really helped me was getting involved w/different campus activities in both high school & college. I found that getting involved w/groups who shared my interests made it easier for me to overcome my shyness w/in these groups, & evenutally the comfort I felt w/these groups carried over to other life situations.
 

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I'm totally shy. To this day I vastly prefer women approach me, I can only think of one time in my life I've made the first move (which is probably the reason I've had so few girlfriends my life. :p)<br><br><br><br>
I don't like talking to strangers, and I'm no good at smalltalk. I don't necessarily see it as a character flaw, just who I am.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
She is 21 and should be a senior, but changed majors...so she has a couple more years to go...<br><br><br><br>
I read once that most people's #1 fear is public speaking...<br><br><br><br>
Now, she can give a speech, and speak in Spanish class, but it is the informal group stuff that she fears so much. (And this class may have a lot of it)<br><br><br><br>
I am a lot the same way, so I fear it is genetic.
 

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I used to be really shy up until about 3 years ago. I overcame my shyness because I stopped caring about the world around me. I was afraid of talking to people that I didnt know very well. You can overcome it but it is hard. Becasue you have to face it. And i guess she could 1 either drop the class or 2 try and overcome the fear. I always said to myself "oh well if they dont like me I dont know them and I dont have to be friends with them" and things like that. I would tell her that if the English class is important and has to do with what she wants to study or is a required class to not drop it. And that maybe they wont have to do anymore group things like that. Or if the class isnt that important and they have alot more introductions like that to drop the class.
 

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Perhaps she could talk with the professor before class (or send an email if talking is too stressful) and explain her nervousness. If a professor cares enough about students to want them to get to know each other, then the professor should also be able to understand that not everyone is comfortable speaking in small groups. Mushroom, perhaps your daughter and the professor could discuss some alternative mixers that might be less fear-filled for her. Some classes have online threaded discussions in addition to class periods, and this might be a better option. However, since she is several weeks into the semester (I presume), the professor might not have the time or resources to put together a class message board.
 

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I was an Orientation Leader for three years in college, meaning that I gave tours and introduced incoming or considering freshmen to the college. I also taught a Freshman seminar class with a faculty member for new freshmen for three years. And then I was an RA for two years. My point in sharing all of this is that I've been through TONS of those sorts of icebreakers, and have actually lead those icebreaker activities. Some kids like them, most don't. It is incredibly stressful for some people.<br><br><br><br>
Mush, if she's at all willing and has the time, I'd encourage her to get a little more involved in extracurricular activities. I speak from personal experience when I say that getting involved like that--going from being a relatively shy person to actually speaking in front of very large groups with no problems--is what helped me overcome my self-consciousness and nervousness.
 

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It sounds like your daughter could have Social Anxiety Disorder. I myself have had Social Anxiety for almost my entire life, but didn't realize that it's a real, recognized anxiety disorder until my sophmore or junior year of college. In fact, Social anxiety is the 3rd most common mental disorder in the U.S. after depression and alcoholism.<br><br>
There's plenty of sites out there about it, I don't know any off-hand, just run a search in google for Social Anxiety or Social Phobia (different names for the same condition).<br><br>
I also highly recommend the book "Painfully Shy" by Markway. I've found the information in that book to be a lot more pertinent to my condition & situation than what's availble on online sources.<br><br>
Social Phobia isn't something that you can expect some one to overcome on their own, so you also might want to see about talking to a Therapist or Psychiatrist about her shyness if it does seem to be Social Anxiety Disorder. Also, it's possible that here college could have a Social Anxiety support group.<br><br>
Other than that, there are various supplements that can help people deal with situations that cause anxiety & panic attacks, such as SAMe, Kava Kava, St. John's Wort, 5 HTP, DHA, amongst others. You might want to look into those if professional help/medications are disagreeable to you or your daughter.<br><br><br><br>
Hope I could help a bit ..
 

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I'm not as shy as I used to be but I still need to warm up to people before I really start talking. Icebreakers sometimes help me because they give me a chance to participate in the group when I might otherwise not. Some of my shyness is due to not trusting people and some of it is my introverted personality.<br><br><br><br>
ETA that learned helplessness is another cause of shyness; i.e., people who are continually rejected socially simply don't bother trying anymore.
 

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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block"><i>Originally posted by mushroom</i><br><br><b>My oldest daughter is bright and attending college. However, in certain situations she is very shy. Today she told me that when she got to her new English class, everyone was told to sit on the floor, in a circle and introduce themselves. This is the sort of thing that she is afraid of...I mean to the point of near panic and is considering dropping the class.<br><br><br><br>
I have always thought the forced introductions useless and painful for a majority of the class...<br><br><br><br>
I am not sure what to tell her...<br><br><br><br>
Any ideas?</b></div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Psychologist Philip Zimbardo, a psychology professor at Stanford University (I believe), has written and researched extensively on the subject of shyness. He has a book called <b>Shyness</b> that unfortunately is out-of-print by now but is an excellent book. Maybe get a copy from the library or buy a used one cheap. Of course, there are also plenty of other books on the subject, but Zimbardo's book is excellent. (He himself started out as a shy person, etc.; his textbook on psychology is or has been the standard textbook in intro psychology courses at many colleges nationwide.)<br><br><br><br>
As I recall, the result of Zimbardo's studies was basically this: shy people have two problems (1) a lack of knowledge about what to do in social situations, and (2) feelings of anxiety or panic that flood their counsciousness in social situations. The solution to most people's shyness is to provide # 1 so that when they get into social situations they can consciously think about what they need to do in those situations rather than just let their minds flood with panic. In other words, knowledge banishes panic.<br><br><br><br>
I would not advise your daughter to drop the class, or try to avoid social situations. Being able to introduce oneself is a basic social skill necessary for everyday life.<br><br><br><br>
I would just have her write out a script for introductions, memorize the script, have her practice the script (with you if necessary), tape record and time her practices--have her do a 30 second version, a 60 second version, a 90 second version, etc. And just have her do this over and over until she could do it in her sleep.<br><br><br><br>
I would do more. I would have her practice the "reciprocal" role, that is, where she is introduced to another person, but is just given that person's name. "Hi, my name is Timmy Tightlipped." (Then Timmy falls silent.) What questions would your daughter ask to draw him out? To get to know him? To be able to make conversation with him? All these questions/issues/facts are the things she could or should put into her <b>own</b> introductions, so people can get to know her.<br><br><br><br>
Introductions and how to handle them properly are covered in books of etiquette. If your daughter does not have one of these on her bookshelf--next to her dictionary, thesaurus, and other reference books--you need to get her one (or more), IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all of the ideas everyone. I sent my daughter a link so she can read all of them. Thank you all very much.
 

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I've never liked those forced introductions in classes...... so now I don't go to class for the first week or two.<br><br><br><br>
Of course, I may be made to introduce myself separately once I DO show up. I hate when it backfires.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Funkified, that is how my daughter is...in fact, she can give speeches (though she hates to)<br><br><br><br>
Her problem right now is that she view writing as her weak spot and she is self-conscious about it. The teachers plan is to have the students write papers, turn them in and then the class will orally critique each paper. And the writer is supposed to discuss their private work with the class...<br><br><br><br>
She said that she is very uncomfortable criticizing other people's work, when it is probably better than hers is and she hates the idea of other people criticizing her work.<br><br><br><br>
The teacher actually said to the class "You know a lot of you are going to have to drop some of that shyness business."<br><br><br><br>
My daughter said that she looked at the women's huge ass and thought "okay, as soon as you drop some of that ass"<br><br><br><br>
She needs this class to get her degree, but she is really going to suffer through it. I feel so sorry for her!
 

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But everyone should learn to handle criticism, mushroom, you know? (Hopefully it will all be CONSTRUCTIVE criticism!) This could be a really good experience for her.
 

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huh, that's kinda crappy of the teacher...i would be fine in that situation socially wise, but i do find the idea of a group critique pretty out there. i've had a fair amount of writing classes and never had to do anything like that. we've paired up and edited and critiqued another person's but not in front of the whole class. yeah, i dont like that concept. what's class is is specifcally out of curiousity?<br><br>
does she know anyone in the class? maybe once she does she'll feel a little more comfortable...i'm completley different in my classes - in about half of them, i'm pretty outgoging and talks more than most people, and the other half i'm just kinda there. i'll talk to people but i dont interact as much.<br><br>
maybe once she finds someone in there she can get along with or talk to easily, things will look up...i can usually spot the sarcastic jackasses and i click with them quickly <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/smiley.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":)"><br><br><br><br>
but..the class situation...i just dont like the idea of a group critique, like i said. that doenst mean i wouldnt like to do it. i actually don't mind editing papers and such since writing is not my strong spot..but if this were a math class of some sort, i would hate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
FD, you don't understand...it is really too much for her. She may get through it, but I do not believe that it will be anything but torture for her.<br><br>
I once had a teacher bring me in front of the class and say "You are a very attractive young lady. There is NO REASON for you to be shy."<br><br>
I wanted to smack her!<br><br>
I certainly wouldn't choose to be shy...<br><br>
Funkified, I just know that it is an English class, but not sure what kind...
 

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Im shy / very introvert.<br><br><br><br>
I also used to freak when I had to stand in front of the class or do a introduction thing.<br><br><br><br>
15 years later I still feel tense when I have to do this.<br><br><br><br>
What helps for me:<br><br><br><br>
Feel: So I get in front of the class, they might laugh at me or think Im stupid.<br><br>
Think: Let them have their fun, lets act as a retarded person.<br><br>
Real life: tension slides of me, and I relax much more.<br><br><br><br>
Feel: Oh, my what am I gonna tell?<br><br>
Think: Ill givem the big lines of my life, details are not important.<br><br>
Real life: I tell a short story, Hi Im 1Vegan, x-years of age and live in.then look to next person with a look of thats it, your turn.
 

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ObsidianZebra, I was going to mention Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) but you beat me to it.<br><br>
I also suffer from SAD. I pretty much hate all soical confrontations in a classroom. I hate that feeling when everyone is staring at me. I just want to crawl into a hole. My SAD is hardly as bad with family and friends but it does creep up occassionally and I hate it. It seems to worsen when the weather turns colder.<br><br>
It's hard to live with SAD. You can never live up to your true potentional unless treated. It hinders you from being your complete self and do the things you so badly want to do but are too filled with anxiety to persue. No one should live like this.<br><br>
ObsidianZebra, if you don't mind me asking, are you treating your SAD and are you successfull? What is 5 HTP? Thanks for your answers in advance.<br><br><br><br>
Mushroom, It sounds to me like your daughter could possibly have a mild case of SAD. I would look into.
 
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