Yeah, so a lot has changed over this semester of school.
One thing has stayed the same… I can’t stand it when my sister brings her friends here. She broke up with her old boyfriend, but now she brings a bunch of different boys here. (She doesn’t have sex with different boys, but she just likes the attention so she watches movies with them and stuff.) I can’t stand it, and I still find it really inconsiderate that she knows my problems and doesn’t make any effort not to do that. I really want to move out so I don’t have to deal with my unsupportive family, but it’s not like I can afford my own place and I doubt I’d get a roommate that cared. So yeah, I would try to work on my attitude but I have no idea how to control it, so I’ve just been spending all my time in my room. But I’m trying to go out more, it’s just a matter of not trying to be friends with my family.
One other trouble I have now is the train. I took it to school for this entire semester. Now, it seems like I actually have more of a problem with noise and being touched than I do with the actual people. I have no problems being on a crowded train as long as I don’t have to sit next to someone and no one is being loud. But I have serious issues with those two things. I make all these elaborate plans and behaviors to make sure no one sits next to me and to try to find a car where groups of people talking won’t sit. And the whole time I’m on there, it’s all I think about, is someone going to sit next to me, is a chatty group or pair of friends coming to this car? And when they are about to, I try to give them dirty looks and everything to stop them. I think this is partly because I like to use the train for studying and reading, but it’s also in large part because I’m jealous of happy groups of friends. Now, I try to tell myself it’s not a big deal, and do things like listen to my iPod, and that has calmed me down and eliminated my desire for quiet, to an extent. I still get a little freaked out. But this one, I think it is possible for me to get over.
HOWEVER, I have had improvements too. First, I really pushed myself with school presentations and group projects this semester, so I am actually getting better at public speaking and working with others. In one class of about 20, we each have to present an article with a partner. I acted very outgoing with my partner and we planned everything out really well. But I get pretty nervous when I talk in front of people, so I usually can’t stop myself from just reading everything really quickly and not looking up. I felt better though because I could tell my partner was also nervous when she spoke, though she did a better job of interacting with the class. Then I volunteered to do a second one so that the last person didn’t have to present alone. I was really proud of that. I also spoke a little more slowly and acted a little more interactive that time. Then I also had to do two larger group projects (6 and 7 people) in front of larger classes (maybe like 50 people). Those group meetings weren’t that great or interactive, but I think I did an okay job of presenting. In the first one, my shirt got snagged on the podium and everyone laughed, so I think it made me more comfortable. But in both cases, everyone else seemed just as nervous presenting as me. In the second one, everyone read straight from the computer and even mispronounced things, except one girl who was pretty good at it. So I think I was actually second best out of 6 in that case… not bad!
Also, I have been going to events from the vegan group more often. Knowing that everyone there has the same values and interests, and wants to meet more people like me, makes it an easy place to practice mingling. I surprise myself by initiating conversations and feeling VERY comfortable about it. I really enjoy those meetings, and if I keep going, I think I can develop some real friendships. Of course, most of the people there are 10-20 years older than I am, at least 5 years, but it doesn’t seem to be that much of an issue. I guess I am actually more into social groups than most people my age? At least vegan ones…
Finally, I really want to start playing music with people or maybe join a band… for now as a singer, since my guitar skills need a lot of work. So I’ve been posting/looking on Craigslist for musicians, and I actually found a few interested people and even sent them files of my singing. I plan on meeting these people, being outgoing, and forcing myself to sing in public. I think it will be easier since I have already spoken to them online, and I know they like my voice (I don’t have to wonder).
Overall, this has been a pretty good year socially. I still need a LOT of work… I still have social anxiety. But I am pretty impressed with myself, and I am using socializing as a means toward a lot of my other goals, which is probably the best way to socialize. It’s both easier and more appealing this way. So yeah, here’s to a great social year in 2012!