The following is an further extract of the views expressed by one of our group members. It is been reproduced here with their explicit permission. Would love to hear your comments and reflections. Odhran

I remember at the start of the group, social anxiety being described as condition dominated by perfectionism, and that really hit home for me; this idea that you have to say and do the right thing 100% of the time in every social encounter. Now I’m starting to see that you can only really do the best you can and you can only be responsible for your intention. So if you are respectful and courteous towards people, that is all you can do, and after that they are going to think what they are going to think. I find in social situations that my mind goes blank a lot and sometimes I just say the first thing that comes into my head to cover up for that. I am not the world’s greatest conversationalist and never will be. But I’m starting to be able to say “so what”? There are people who deliberately go out being unkind to others, and are not loosing sleep about it. So accepting that not everybody is going to like you, you can not be all things to all people, and you are going to say and do the ‘wrong’ thing from time to time, but as long as your intention is not to be hurtful towards anyone, then that is the only responsibility you have.

And then even aside from feeling like a social situation has not gone well, there is the outright hostility you sometime do encounter. Obviously people are not always nice when they see someone is feeling out of place and uncomfortable. So I think what I am learning right now is just the value of letting other people’s reaction be their problem. If I blush and someone feels the need to point that out or passes a smart remark about it, I try to think – “well, that is a reflection on them, not on me”. So bringing it back to them and asking myself what does it say about them, rather than me being the worse thing ever and everything being my fault all the time, like I somehow deserve to get the reaction like that from people for something I have no control over.

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