I have moderate social anxiety and I am only now realizing it. I am hyper-aware in social interactions. I am worried i will come across as dumb, incompetent, dull, and especially worried about being awkward. I am not always these things but i worry a lot about keeping up in conversation. I am capeable of interacting/conversing on a deep level with people and having intensive chats about emotions and ideas, but surface interaction scares me.
small talk and joking around scares me (which is sad cause i used to feel funny when i was younger) because i feel like there is less room to move. there is less opportunity for me to be clear and honest because of how norms guide social interaction. this kind of interaction is where i feel the most pressure to be funny and keep up with conversation whereas deep-talks are more about listening and expression with more space to manage the impression i give off.
In interaction now, i am hyper-aware of "power" in the conversation. i see outgoing people, and people who can make others in the group feel at ease as powerful, people who dominate the conversation and who are well-recieved are powerful, humour is power, beauty is power, speaking is power, intelligence is power to me. I am constantly aware of this heirarchy when interacting in a group. When i compare myself to others in groups, sometimes i feel powerful based on some of the reasons i stated above and then i will feel prideful about this and then guilty about feeling pride. Other times i feel inferior if i am lacking in comparison to another person or others and if i think people can see this too. when i feel below others i feel embarassed, or stupid, or submissive.
I dont want to have to rely on this external and unauthentic source of validation that im good at interaction by feeling better than others by being more charismatic or intelligent or whatever. does anyone else see themselves being hyper-aware of group hierarchies in interactions? Don't hierarchies naturally form? Is this all in my head or is it a real heirarchy? does anyone else have difficulty joking in conversation?
i just want to be more present, less insecure, less self-conscious and less judgemental of myself and others.
thanks for reading,