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Social Anxiety: Has it affected your travels?

Travel Forums General Talk Social Anxiety: Has it affected your travels?

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11. Posted by PistolPD (Full Member 19 posts) 11y

I too find it somewhat uncomfortable walking into a room of strangers. But for the most part, I think flashing a friendly smile and a simple hello should, in most occassions, break the ice! :)

12. Posted by john7buck (Respected Member 458 posts) 11y

When you walk into a hostel where everybody seems to already know each other, I find it may be easier to introduce yourself to one person or a few people intitially. Generally the people staying in your same dorm (and I do recommend always staying in a dorm if you are travelling on your own) will be the easiest to approach. Once you know a few faces around the hostel, it won't be long before you're getting along with the whole lot.

That said, there have been some hostels where right away I clicked and found a great group of friends, where others I either just didn't click or maybe didn't want to click and walked out the door several days later without really knowing anybody. I think it just ebbs and flows if that makes any sense.

Don't let it worry you too much, most people have felt the same way and I would think almost all have conquered their fears as things naturally seem to work themselves out while travelling. You'll come back a stronger and more confident person; guaranteed.

13. Posted by SkacoreUK (Full Member 56 posts) 11y

Gotta say its great hearing all of this....I am an increadably shy person, it takes me a LONG time to feel comfortable talking to someone. I've gotta say, I HATE this term "social anxiety syndrome" (you know you can get medication for it!!!!!!)...I'm just a very shy person.

This is my number one reason for travelling....to get over this issue.

I need to put myself in a situation where I have to talk to others, and have to put myself out there, Without the fallback of family and lifelong friends. It is a pretty terrifying prospect for me, but I know that it will make me a much happier person in myself.

I just hope I don't come accross moscowmetr , but I look forward to meeting the rest of you somewhere out there

14. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

If you ever make it to Tucson, the first beer is on me :)

15. Posted by SeeTheSky (Respected Member 558 posts) 11y

hey there one who shares the same name as i!

if i could tell you anything, id probably say thatmost people understand that awkwardity, and the way i personally overcame it completley was to just be extremley outgoing. this is your chance to meet people,so just be yourself and just walk up to someone and be like "hi,my name is evan, i dont know anyone here, whats up?" people are often in the same boat as you are and will be happy that someone introduced themselves to them. strangers are just friends you havent met, so just make the best of it and just think about how you would be if u were a child and hadn't yet thought about social norms are had the "awkward" thought process. so good luck! its probably easier than you think. the more outgoing you are the more people are open to you. so go for it connect four!
-evan

16. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 11y

Just keep in mind that, when you enter the hostel, everyone that is inside has at one time been the odd man out.

17. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 11y

Quoting moscowmetr

three of the utmost terrible questions to ask, or worse to be asked while travelling.

Where you going?
Where you been?
Where you from?

The benifit of travel is to meet people from different parts of the world and understand their perspective on interesting issues that present themselves to us all. -snip- Stop worrying what other people think about you.

Actually, these are great icebreaker questions. Anybody who knows something about social psychology or communications may feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but cliche questions are great conversation starters. They are considered safe due to the fact that the person answering the question will have well rehearsed answers to these questions and won't feel like you are challenging their intelligence. Going up to a stranger and, say, stating your opinion on abortion rights or the politics of the Iraqi war, while probably a more interesting conversation, will definitely put someone off. Additionally, the person asking the question will have memorized these cliche questions and won't feel any anxiety about whether the question is "creative" enough.

Once the first few words have been exchanged, the conversation can then move on to more interesting topics of course.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I always have the most trouble with the first few sentences when meeting somebody new.

18. Posted by evakan (Full Member 188 posts) 11y

Hello Everybody,

I didn't think this post would get a lot of responses. All of the advice is soooo appreciated! I can't wait to get on the road and make friends with new people all over the world.

19. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 11y

So it's now proven that people that were born on the same day and month really do share the same trait!

20. Posted by snatterand (Travel Guru 454 posts) 11y

Maybe this replay comes a bit too late - but I really know exactly what you mean! Being Swedish, I had a lot of problems with this when I started travelling. In Sweden, people usually don't interact. "I'll just mind my own business" is what everyone seems to think. Looking into another persons eyes (if you don't know that person of course) is absolutely forbidden, and for example in the subway, people don't smile and don't talk. Even in the rush hours, you should pretend that you're all alone!

My point is, I had a really hard time in the beginning of my travels. I remember one time at a hostel in Wellington (NZ), I was sitting next to two girls, and overheard their conversation about hiking in Marlborough Sounds. They had both done it, and even though I was just about to go down there myself and wanted to know everything about the trekk, I didn't dare to get into their conversation!!! I sat there and thought "I don't have anything interesting to say anyway, they'll think I'm boring..."

Sad but true!!!

But suddenly I realized: It doesn't matter whether someone else thinks I'm boring, as long as I get something out of it myself!!!
Accepting that, I didn't feel afraid to interupt anymore. It turned out that they didn't think I was boring at all. On the contrary, we spent the whole day together, hanging out at numbers of cafés in Wellington, having lots of fun!

That was a turning point for me. Even though I'm still afraid sometimes, I just recall the Wellington occurence, and then I force myself to talk to new people!! Almost always, I have a great time, and get if not always a new friend at least some interesting input!

Time for a cliché: A stranger is just a friend you haven't met yet...

Good luck with your travels!!!