What Kind of Clam Are You?
I used to clam up around people all the time. So obviously I wasn’t being myself, and that made me unhappy. Nowadays, I don’t clam up very much, though I still keep to myself a lot, but at least I don’t clam up, and that makes me a lot happier. The reason I don’t clam up much is because I’m just not as self-conscious as I used to be.
To be happy as a clam, however, one needs to be able to fully express oneself around others.
How To Be More Chatty
Sometimes being “too quiet” can itself make us feel more uncomfortable in social situations. Although “being yourself” doesn’t necessarily mean being talkative, it’s likely that if you’re being yourself, then you’ll be more talkative.
When one is in a social situation where it would be appropriate or beneficial to engage with other people yet one isn’t socially engaged, this is probably because one is too engaged in one’s own head and having a busy internal monologue.
Sean Cooper, the Shyness and Social Anxiety Guy, says, “Outgoing people talk to other people. Shy people talk to themselves.”
Having a long silent soliloquy with oneself automatically makes one less talkative. (After all, it’s difficult to carry on two conversations at the same time!) Thus, in order to be less quiet (and more talkative) on the outside, one needs to be more quiet on the inside.
So how do you stop all this yakety-yak inside the mind? “Realize when you are talking to yourself,” Sean Cooper explains. “It may take some time before you are able to consistently ‘catch yourself’ doing it….Often just realizing that you are talking to yourself will quiet that internal voice in your head. It’ll go away as soon as you realize it’s there.”
Once the “trash” is emptied from the head, then one can pay attention to what’s really going on. By focusing outwardly, one feels more connected to the environment as well as other people and it’s then easier to “be yourself.”
Time Limit For Speaking Up
Similar to how having general conversations with oneself inside the head can get in the way of having conversations with others, overthinking what one is considering saying also gets in the way of “being yourself.” Overthinking is what causes hesitation.
“Maybe you think of something to say, wait too long, and then talk yourself out of saying it. Or maybe someone else says it before you,” says Sean Cooper. This has happened to me before many times. Although this probably occurs with many people occasionally, for people with social anxiety, it may be a habitual occurrence.
Rather than consider saying something and turning it over and over in the head, pondering how to say it so it comes out “right” and worrying how the other person might respond, it’s important to speak up on the spot. Otherwise, stop thinking about it, period.
How to just say it (or else stop thinking about saying it)? Have a deadline. Sean Cooper suggests using the “2 Second Rule.” He explains: “You will say something within 2 seconds of it popping into your head. This will increase your spontaneity dramatically. If you don’t say it within 2 seconds, then forget about it and keep your focus on the conversation and quit talking to yourself about it.”
To put it another way, if you get an idea to say something to someone that is seeking expression, JUST DO IT OR DITCH IT.