Recently, one of our readers wrote in to ask a question that many people struggle with.
“Hey BA, I’m having an issue. I am in my early 30s, good career, good relationship with my family, but I sometimes feel like an outsider. I have a few friends, all really loyal and great, but whenever I’m around them, I feel out of place. They are so comfortable being themselves and saying whatever, but I go over what I say again and again and I have a hard time letting loose. I’m known as the shy, reserved friend, but I;m tired of it. I want to be outgoing, but I have such a hard time with it and I’m afraid its too late in life for me to make any real change. Should I just come to terms with this?”
To our reader - we get it! And the first thing we want to say to you is you are perfect the way you are. Now, don’t take that as you have zero room for self-improvement, but don’t beat yourself up too hard. We all struggle with something. Let’s say you were an extreme extrovert, you might struggle with talking too much and oversharing. We say all of this to say that everyone had their fair share of problems and insecurities.
As to what you can do about this, it’s entirely up you. If this is something you truly want to work on, then you are going to have to do the work and it won’t be easy. You could be shy and reserved for a number of reasons, maybe you were used to being talked over as a child, or maybe you have a bit of social anxiety. We do not have the answers, but we encourage you to speak to a licensed counselor who can help. Counseling is not taboo and it will help you step out of your comfort zone because you’ll speak to someone with an unbiased perspective that will give you an outsider's perspective.
We also encourage you to try things that make you uncomfortable! Set a goal of speaking to one random person a day, whether that;s while you wait in line at Starbucks or the grocery store. Start random small talk to encourage yourself to be uncomfortable and the more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll get.
And lastly, embrace the change and actively seek it. If you are with your friends and you feel like you haven’t said anything in a while, speak up and offer your opinion. If you feel like everyone is speaking over you and you want to be heard, advocate for yourself and let them know you would like to contribute. Life is full of uncomfortable moments, but some of them are necessary for personal growth.
So we hope this helps! Have a problem you want our opinion on? Submit your questions at thebusinessathlete.co