There’s a lot of anticipatory anxiety going on for you. Over-thinking, analyzing, worrying now about something happening 10 months from now. I know the tendency to worry like this, to have anticipatory anxiety. Everyone with social anxiety understands your anxiety about this. I was confused and anxious all the time in school. I wasn’t clear on what my problem was back then, but it was clear to me that I spent most of my free time not thinking about good rational things, but rather stuff like you describe here.
We could all give you small specific advice about things to do, or making small talk. I understand, as well, how Swedes are not talkative in the same way as other countries, similar with other Scandinavian communication styles. … But, what good is that advice? The advice is for the symptoms. You would take the advice and try to apply that to all the wounds. You’d still be worrying and over-thinking, probably over-thinking your own actions, and putting yourself down.
In the therapy series, you go step by step to stop irrational worries and anticipatory anxiety. You say here “I’m probably going to lose them fast” when refering to making new friends. I’d call that a big ANT. You might say this ANT is based on the truth. I’d say it isn’t the truth, or doesn’t have to be, but since you’re setting yourself up for believing this, then you’re likely setting yourself up for that to happen.
In the therapy series, we work on slowing down, turning around such irrational thinking and worries, retraining our thoughts to be more healthy and rational, building up your own self-acceptance, and reminding ourselves not to do these things with pressure or negative emotions. The paradox here is that anything you are pressuring yourself to be or to accomplish, it will likely be harder to be or get those things. To make friends, yes, we have to be open and friendly, and we all can do that. We all have access to that. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. But, to realize this simplicity, if we’re behaving as we do with social anxiety, we have to have that shift to get to where it’s simple. It’s not simple when we have all this wacky unhealthy mind stuff going on which does indeed affect how we act and are perceived by others. Getting to “simple” for us is not entirely easy. It doesn’t have to be “hard” either, but it may be something that just takes time, retraining our thinking, and gradual progress. The advice to “just be you” is good advice, but what can you do with this? If it were me, in high school, I couldn’t have been helped by that advice. I couldn’t have been helped in college with that advice either, the anxiety was only getting worse. But through the therapy and learning how to deal first with nerves, then with self-perception and acceptance, then yes… being me is something I can be. From there, the simple advice for being myself and being open to making friends and saying hello is great advice. It starts to work without the pressure, with the healthier belief in myself, and with being open and taking the first step / a more active role in taking the initiative in situations rather than just reacting to my world.
I could give the same example with making conversations. The advice is rather simple, but getting to that simplicity is difficult for social anxiety sufferers. People without social anxiety don’t understand that, because for them it’s rather simple already. You understand what I’m saying. We have all these irrational worries, fears, blockages, self-censoring, etc. about even making small talk with people. None of that lends itself to simply talking and not worrying about it.
I’ve been reviewing the series. Dr. Richards discusses these topics - mingling, making small talk, making friends… but all these things are also built on the foundation of the therapy that comes before it, so that you can start applying common sense advice stuff. Without that rational foundation, it’s hard to truly believe this. Without that, it’s kind of like running around trying to stop all the different leaks instead of dealing with the water at its source.
As usual I’ve written way to much for simple questions and answers here. I don’t know you. You might want a small, direct, tangible piece of advice and you’ll feel better. For me, from this perspective, I’d want a solution to the whole issue, not a short-term fix that doesn’t fix it. I’m considering my answer from the perspective that this is social anxiety disorder, not from the perspective that this is a minor thing and otherwise “I’m pretty much fine”. If it’s the latter, and you don’t feel you have social anxiety disorder and want some simpler advice, then you can ignore my advice.
I know that high school and college years are stressful, with or without social anxiety, but especially so with social anxiety. It’s hell, a hell of our own making. The good thing is that it doesn’t have to be, and that younger people, assuming they’re willing and open to the therapy, make good progress. They don’t have the extra years of baggage, often, to work through. Logically, the sooner one comes to solutions and starts working on them, the fewer years of irrational and unhealthy years of habits they’ve endured.