People who are self-conscious about their social skills usually display these 7 behaviors (without realizing it)

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I used to suffer from terrible social anxiety.

Every time I met someone new, I was so nervous I wanted to scratch myself out of existence.

Every time I went to a new group event, I was so self-conscious that I ended up acting unnatural and stiff.

It was tough, I’m not going to lie.

If you’re in the same boat, it’s possible that you display certain behaviors that confirm you are, indeed, anxious in social situations.

Care to know which ones?

Let’s jump in!

People who are self-conscious about their social skills usually display these 7 behaviors (without realizing it).

1) They are wallflowers

A wallflower is someone who keeps to themselves; someone who’d rather stand on the outskirts of conversations than steal the spotlight.

If you tend to hover in the background of discussions at social gatherings because you’re so nervous about how you may be perceived if you come out of your shell…

It’s the first sign you’re part of the club.  

Look, I’ve been there. I know just how difficult it is to show up as your authentic self when you’re swallowed up by anxiety.

My advice?

Keep practicing.

It’s probably not what you wanted to hear, but it’s the truth – the more you come out of your comfort zone, strike up conversations with strangers, and speak up in group settings, the more familiar the socializing process will feel.

Ever since I challenged myself to get to know new people regularly, my anxiety has been growing quieter.

2) Their body language is very closed-off

You may not even realize it, but your body language actually says a great deal about you.

If you feel self-conscious, others will subconsciously pick up on it through the nonverbal cues you send out.

Pretty cool, right?

…except that it also means your anxiety may be more obvious than you’d like. This is why it’s important that you recognize the signs of closed-off body language and try to avoid them:

  • Crossed limbs
  • Hunching
  • Leaning away from people
  • Frowning or showing very little facial expression
  • Mumbling or speaking too quickly

If you try your best to do the complete opposite of the above-mentioned cues, you might even subconsciously boost your confidence.

Don’t believe me?

Let the science speak for itself. According to researcher Amy Cuddy, there are certain “power poses” (such as standing with your back straight and your hands on your hips) that boost our testosterone levels and decrease our cortisol.

If you make the effort to have a confident posture, your brain might eventually catch up with your body, and you’ll actually feel less self-conscious and more self-assured.

It’s like magic. Except it’s based on science.

3) They use uncertain phrases and filler words

It isn’t just your nonverbal communication that points toward your state of mind – it’s also the way you phrase your thoughts out loud.

If you find that you often use the following, it’s another sign you’re self-conscious about your social skills because these phrases and words signal uncertainty:

  • “I’m really not the best person to ask, uhm”
  • “Maybe? I don’t know?”
  • “I don’t know if I’m making sense…”
  • “I’m so sorry to bother you! So sorry!”
  • “Maybe it’s just me, but…”

Filler words serve the same function – they basically scream, “Hey! I don’t really know what the hell I’m saying!”

The one thing that’s helped me most when it comes to throwing uncertainty and filler words out of my vocabulary has been to think for a second before I speak.

I know, it sounds basic. However, it’s truly perplexing just how many of us don’t think at all before we open our mouths.

If you just take a moment to phrase your thoughts, you will come across as someone who is more confident (due to the slower pace) and who assigns value to their words (due to the content of what you say).

4) They apologize way too often

Speaking of which, stop saying “sorry” so damn much.

I have a friend whom I love to bits, but if there’s one thing she does that completely riles me up, it’s throwing about the word “sorry” at every opportunity.

It’s like she always thinks she’s a nuisance or at the core of the world’s greatest problems.

I constantly have to tell her to stop apologizing, not only because it gets on my nerves but also (and more importantly) because it undermines her confidence.

If you have a reason to apologize, it’s amazing to do so. However, many self-conscious people say “sorry” to try and protect themselves from being disliked.

It’s a bit like a shield during social interactions – as long as you apologize for every single thing you might do wrong, surely, people will forgive you and like you?

Flash News: too much apologizing can get very annoying very quickly. And it definitely won’t help with your social anxiety.

5) They try to avoid any kind of confrontation

Guilty as charged.

I used to hate conflict with the entirety of my being. If there was even a hint of conflict in the air, I would pluck it right out and squash it – usually by going along with whatever the other person wanted and compromising my own well-being in the process.

Yeah. It wasn’t ideal.

If you’re self-conscious about your social skills, though, it makes complete sense that you don’t want to get into a fight.

I mean, you’re already nervous as it is. The last thing you need is to argue with someone and stutter your way through arguments.

Ugh. I feel uncomfortable just thinking about it.

You know what, though?

Over the past few years, I’ve slowly come to embrace the value of conflict. In fact, I now view it as something that can be quite a positive force in your life – if you approach it in the right way.

See, an argument can be something that either breaks your relationships or strengthens them. What matters is how you both deal with it.

If you decide to work together as a team, the conflict will only help you grow closer and get to know each other better.

If the person you’re dealing with leashes out, treats you like crap, or explodes because things aren’t going their way… well, at least you now know what kind of person they are. The next step is to establish boundaries based on what feels comfortable to you.

Conflict can be incredibly helpful. I encourage you to dip your toes in it instead of squashing your needs just to avoid it.

6) They are validation-seekers

Okay, this sounds like I’m insulting you, but I’m not really. 

In fact, many self-conscious people don’t necessarily have to seek validation or approval of others. Perhaps you’re among them.

I used to be exactly like this, though. I was always so nervous and uncertain that I gravitated toward strong personalities, and every time they’d give me a compliment or show me they held me in high esteem, my ego thrived.

What’s more, their excellent social skills usually made up for the lack of mine, which helped me feel at ease because I didn’t have to put in as much effort.

No awkward silences! Hurray!

The issue with validation-seeking behavior is that it never truly stops. It doesn’t matter how many compliments you get or how many confident people like you – your ego will always strive to get more.

You know when it does stop, though?

(I’m sure you know what I’m about to say…)

When you give all the acknowledgement you need to yourself. Yep. You will never feel satisfied unless you learn to validate your own feelings.

7) They overthink their social interactions after they’ve come home

I recently asked my friend what my biggest weakness was.

I thought he’d say impatience, but he replied, “Overthinking. You overthink everything. Every time we go out, you ask me if you said something weird or embarrassing afterwards.”

Oops.

I guess I haven’t fully recovered from my social anxiety after all. Good old overthinking still haunts me when I go to bed.

Did I overshare? Did I say something wrong? Did people think I was cringe? Why do I feel so uncomfortable? Is it because I’ve overthought myself into a rabbit hole of uncertainty and awkwardness?

If you can relate, it’s the final sign you are self-conscious about your social skills as well. And while improving one’s confidence is a long process, it is absolutely doable.

Personally, I have come a long way since those days when I almost cried before I went on a date.

And that’s because I’ve consistently pushed myself to go outside my comfort zone.

Practice truly does make perfect after all.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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