Anonymous asks:

Hi guys, Just wondering if anyone could give some advice on an issue that I have been dealing with for some time. 

Basically, I am quite an anxious person and find meeting and speaking to new people face to face pretty awkward. 

I have been dating my boyfriend for two years and he is the exact opposite of me. He can speak to a brick wall and chat to everyone and anyone. 

Now, because of this, I find that he can be quite dominant in conversations and he talks over me sometimes. 

We have sat down and discussed this issue and he agreed that he can be quite over bearing in conversations. We are working on it together. However, he has mentioned a few times that he would like me to be more sociable and I would love to be as I used to be super chatty, confident and happy to meet everyone and anyone. 

Due to some past mental health issues, I became more reserved and have never managed to get back to my normal self. I am trying to get back into the swing of things again and now that we have discussed us both needing to work on some stuff together regarding conversations, I think this would be the perfect time to get out of my shell. 

I do go in and make as much of an effort as possible when I am meeting his friends, but I feel that if they are not super chatty with me in the first place, I panic almost and become quite quiet and hesitate to speak. 

Sometimes that means I get worried that my partner is watching to see how I interact with people because he did say that it can be awkward for him if I don't get really chatty with his mates. 

I was wondering if you guys have any tips and tricks to get me back into the conversation with new people as I don't want this to be the reason our relationship ends. 

I do try and find out about the people I am meeting so I can converse with them and find out more. Basically showing an interest in what they do and let them speak about themselves. 

Any help would be greatly appreciated and I would truly be grateful for any advice. Thank you.

 

Relationship expert Jessica Leoni says: “I do really feel for you and admire the way you are addressing your problems and bravely trying to come out of your shell and become more sociable so what sounds like a really promising relationship can thrive. I am rooting for you and really hope you can turn this situation around.

Igor Stevanovic / Alamy Stock Photo

Igor Stevanovic / Alamy Stock Photo

“I think it is worth delving a little into the background to your problems. You say that you used to be ‘super chatty, confident’ and happy to meet anyone, but that you became a lot more introverted due to some ‘mental health issues’. I think you need to look more deeply into these issues and whether you have properly got to the bottom of what caused this crisis of confidence. Is there anything more you can do to address these issues - possibly talk to your GP or seek some therapy to help build your confidence? 

“Let’s move on to your boyfriend. It is clear that you love him very much and are keen to explore ways to become more sociable. I do worry that he is putting a little too much pressure on you to become more like him. You say that he is ‘over bearing’ and you have discussed this and it is to his credit that he has acknowledged this character flaw. But I would like to see more evidence from him that he is trying to change and not bully you into overcoming your anxieties when you are not yet ready to fully open up to his friends in the way that he wants.

“In terms of getting to know his friends, I would talk to your boyfriend and set objectives together. If you are happy, he could explain to his friends that you have gone through some trauma and it takes you longer to get to know someone before you feel comfortable opening up.

“Explain to him that you need to take things slowly and identify friends in his peer group who you see as a good fit for you. Prioritise these people and see if you can form a close bond with one or two of them. That is a perfectly reasonable target: no one gets on with all their partner’s friends and nor should they be expected to.

“You need to tell your boyfriend to chill a little. Tell him that you love him very much but you need his help in navigating through these issues and overcoming these past traumas so that you can return to being the ‘super chatty’ person that you once were. Just think what fun you can have together as your confidence returns with him supporting you all the way. If you are both prepared to make that journey as a team, you could have a fantastic future together.”

Jessica is a relationship expert for the dating site IllicitEncounters.com 


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