Wellbeing / Social Anxiety

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"where would you draw the line between being a healthy introvert and isolating yourself/shutting out the world too much?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I think every human would draw the line in a different place… does that make ANY SENSE AT ALLL WHO AM I.

Anyway, the other night I went to dinner with a friend I literally hadn’t seen in years and we both talked for probably an hour about how we hate doing things with people. It was the best because before that convo I thought I had lost my mind. My favorite thing to do IN THE WORLD is lay in bed and watch netflix. AND YOU GUYS, I hate forcing conversation with people I haven’t seen in forever, it makes me exhausted. HOWEVER, if I hear from a friend I haven’t talked to or seen in a while, I will try to make time for them.

I think you should check in with your own feelz and do what you wanna do. I know there  are times when people say ‘lets hang out’ and i’m like ‘UUUGGHGHGHGHGH’ and I make myself because I know that I WANT to hang out, I just don’t really want to… DO YOU GUYS KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

Listen, we are all different and we all require different stuff. If hanging out by yourself is something you do because it makes you feel centered and awesome, go for it. Just pay attention to the way you feel both physically and mentally. Our bodies and minds will tell us what we need, we just have to pay attention. If you start feeling really awful and scared and alone and sad, switch things up a bit! Try different things until you discover the perfect balance FOR YOU.

Kristin Says:

I am going to have to agree… you are what you eat. Or, what you need. Or, WHATEVER you guys, you just are your own people and everyone needs and wants different things and that is totally okay. Who am I to say that you aren’t ‘healthy’ if you like to spend time alone and don’t love going to Applebee’s and dishing about Kristen Stewart’s latest acting role?!

Personally, I think the balance is getting out of your own environment at least two or three times during the week. That ‘getting out’ doesn’t have to mean that you are chatting it up with your bowling league or talking on the phone with your Grandma, though. It could mean taking yourself out to dinner or a movie, or having a night with your BFF where you make scrapbooks, or going out with seventeen human beings to lazer tag. Like Dannielle said… only you know what makes you happy.

Do know this: sometimes spending time with others doesn’t feel like THE BEST TIME EVER the whole time you are hanging out. Sometimes we spend an afternoon with someone and we have a whole bunch of awkward moments scattered amongst a few really nice moments. So, in your moments of being an ‘extrovert,’ just remember that spending time with others isn’t always perfect. Try to remind yourself that a few really nice moments with another person are sometimes worth a hundred awkward moments.

Push yourself to take risks, and if you are asking yourself if you are too isolated… you probably need to talk to a few more humans. If, however, you are completely content spending five out of seven nights hanging out with you, yourself, and you? Awesome. Do it. Boom.

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Next week will be my very first time at a bar, so do you guys have any advice on what NOT to do in that… jungle?

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

hahahahaahahahhahahahaha.

It’s funny that you trust me to answer this.

Be yourself, shoot some hoops and show off your skills. Wear axe body spray and dance with your friends. LET THE LADIES COME TO YOU.

Kristin Says:

“Shoot some hoops.” -Dannielle Owens-Reid

I have one piece of advice, and I am going to narrate it through a story:

A whole bunch of years ago, I was out at a lesbian bar doing my THANG, dancing, drinking and being merry. Many hours into the night, a girl decided to buy me a drink. I was totally into the idea. After she handed me the drink, she went back to sit with her friends (which I thought was odd, but maybe her bait-the-girl-and-wait-move…). I turned to my friend and took a sip of the gifted-drink. My face instantly contorted in disgust. This was CERTAINLY not my usual vodka tonic.

“What IS this?!” I asked my friend in horror. Perhaps she had misheard me and gotten me a vodka soda? This was one horrible vodka soda, if that was the case. I instructed my friend to take a sip, hoping she could decipher what gross combination of liquids were housed in the glass. She instantly recoiled, saying “UGH! Gross. I don’t know what that is, just go back to the bar and explain. They’ll make you a new drink.”

So, back to the bar I went, making sure my drink-buyer didn’t see that I was horrified by whatever she had purchased for me. “Excuse me, I think this was supposed to be a vodka tonic, but I am not sure WHAT it is… do you mind maybe making me another drink?” The bartender, curious, took the drink and sniffed it. She looked back up at me and countered flatly, “This is a glass of water.”

You guys.

It was water. It was a glass of water. What’s more… I came to find out later that I had asked for a glass of water. I HAD ASKED FOR A GLASS OF WATER AND WAS SO DRUNK THAT I FORGOT AND ALSO FOUND WATER TO BE AS HORRIFIC AS A GLASS OF POOP.

I don’t even remember what happened after that, but I know that I never saw the girl again. So. My suggestion is: Don’t drink too much. Have fun, drink water between alcoholic beverages, and remember that too many drinks just leaves you being a fool like Kristin in 2001.

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"What do people actually talk about? I have a really hard time coming up with topics of conversation when I’m spending time with people, even people I know well and am comfortable with. I feel as though I’m being a. annoying or b. boring. How will anyone ever love meeeee?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

TV. People talk about TV.

I’m serious, my dad the other day admitted he’s been feeling super left out because all anyone talks about is TV and he can’t figure out how to change the channel from golf. Especially now that we have Netflix and Hulu and no one has any money to go out and do anything, everyone is watching TV. Start there ‘do you watch Modern Family / 24 / Friday Night Lights / PRETTY LITTLE LIARS’ …they’ll either say ‘yes! i looove that show’ or ‘noo but i keep hearing people talk about it’

Another tip: People love to talk about themselves. Ask questions. Where are you from, Where do you go to school, What’s your major, What do you do, How do you know MUTUAL FRIEND, What kind of music are you into, Do you understand why BLANK is so expensive because I don’t, Have you always lived in PLACE, How long have you been doing ACTIVITY… These are all questions that lead to more questions and TRUST ME, your conversation will be easy as pie. I used to be AWFUL at talking to people, but people love to talk about themselves and they love to have things in common with others. Ask a question, answer your own question right after and compliment them on something they’re wearing.

Kristin Says:

ALWAYS COMPLIMENT THEM ON SOMETHING THEY ARE WEARING.

Let me tell you something about yourself: you are a lot like me, and this is literally a problem that exists mostly in your brain-parts. Solution: have a beer.

JUST KIDDING.

Dannielle just gave you a hundred awesome ways to help kickstart a conversation, and I approve of them all, so you have those as a means of aiding you in the next social gathering. The other thing you need to do, though, is work on not making yourself feel like a total goon-wad. Think about the questions and conversations that you have had with other people, where they ask you what you do and you tell them and then you find out you both had math class with Mr. Hoopendraggin, etcetera. Did you think that they were boring, or that they were annoying? Probably not. Neither, my dear, are you.

There will always be some people who don’t ease into conversation with you – and that has nothing to do with YOU, it’s just that sometimes person A doesn’t have as much to talk about with person B as they do with person C. It takes at least twohumans to make a conversation go well or fizzle out – so if you feel like something’s fizzlin’, just remember that it isn’t your fault. Smile politely and go grab another Capri Sun from the cooler.

Most importantly: You gotta love you first. Everything else will follow.

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"im still in the closet and i was wondering how to not go bright red with embarrassment every time im in the girls changing rooms at school, it’s like, everyone eles is talking and geting changed and i’m just stood in the corner going bright red and looking at the ground with my friends asking why i’m so embarrassed."

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Liiiiiiiiiiisten. I know you’re in a room full of girls taking their clothes off, but just remember that a most girls with their clothes off are just as lame as they are with their clothes on. YOUKNOWWHATIMEAN?! It’s not like you have a crush on them all, and even if you do have a crush on one or two of ‘em, it’s not like they’re taking their shirt off and dancin on you.

Here’s what I think you should do, when getting dressed with 65 other people remember these key items:
1. Everyone is gay*
2. Everyone is an idiot
3. Everyone forgets to wear cute underwear ALL THE TIME.

Now that you know your key items, I will walk you through a changing session (that sounds so weird). You go into the locker rooms and girls are talking about PrettyLittleLiars and chewing sour patch kids and BOOM REMEMBER THEY’RE ALL SUPER GAY SO THEY FEEL WEIRD TOO…You continue to walk to your locker stall and you over hear two girls arguing because one of them got nail polish on the other’s coat pocket and BOOM REMEMBER THEY ARE ALL IDIOTS…you’re putting on your gym shorts and you look down and realize you’re wearing granny-panties that say ‘Friday’ (p.s. today is wednesday) and you look to your friend who is wearing undies that sag right at the butt part and say ‘sugar mama’ and BOOM REMEMBER THAT EVERYONE FORGETS TO WEAR CUTE UNDERWEAR ALL THE TIME…

We are all a bunch of dummies swimming in a sea of weirdness, you know?

*you guys, i dont think everyone is actually gay, but YOU GET THE POINT.

Kristin Says:

I think Dannielle is on to something with the idea that you should probably try to re-imagine what is happening in the locker room, but I am going to give you an alternate list of three things. Feel free to MIX AND MATCH.

1. Remember that just because you are gay doesn’t mean that you like to ogle every girl in the locker room, and that you talking to a girl in her underroos will not make you seem like you want to totally bone her. Human beings look at the bodies of other human beings in so many different ways – and unless you are smashing your whole eyeballs into other girls boobs in the locker room, no one is going to think anything of it AT ALL. Plus, girls who like boys still look at the bodies of other girls, we are all CURIOUS PEOPLE. If someone says to you (and this won’t happen but just in case) “Why did you just look at my boob, OGLENONYMOUS?” you can just respond, “OMG because did you get that bra at Forever 21??” Tadaaaaaa. Boob-crisis averted.

2. Sing the Flinstones Theme Song in your head over and over again. It is really, really catchy and fun to sing to yourself, so it will keep your brain in a happy place where people drive dinosaurs as cars instead of in a scary place where girls think you are looking at their hoo-has. If you get distracted remember that YOU AREN’T EVEN LOOKING AT THEIR HOOHAS YOU ARE JUST IN GYM CLASS AND CHANGING. (That was how you should mentally shout at yourself).

3. Know that you can say you are ‘embarrassed’ because of your own privacy issues! If you are still going red like a tomato in the hot July sun, and your friends ask you why, just laugh a little and tell them that you were raised in a totally non-naked house and so it is hard for you to be comfortable shedding all of your layers in front of a bunch of other humans. I promise you that you are not wearing a big sign that says “GAYWAD” with a neon arrow pointing to your head… being a little naked-shy is a totally and COMPLETELY understandable thing. Plus, then you can all collectively make fun of the red blotches on your face and laugh together. Being embarrassed doesn’t have to be the worst thing, it can be totally adorable and endearing.

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“Dannielle and Kristin,

I fail miserably at talking to people. :/ I can make connections over the internet and through writing and stuff, and I have some friends, but when I go to meet people I get all nervous and stutter and talk way too fast and don't know what to say. It gets so bad that sometimes I just don't talk at all. Could you two give me some advice?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

Amen, sister. It took me YEARS to get over my deep-rooted fear of talking to people I didn’t know or only kinda knew. My dad was like ‘you can’t be in this business and not talk to people’ and i was like ‘I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT’ b/c, at the time, i was a teenager and i was ruling the world via my thoughts.

EVENTUALLY, I got my act together and realized he was right. It still took almost 4 years for me to be completely comfortable around strangers. Here’s what I’ve learned…list shit in your head. There are certain questions you can ask anyone that are basically guaranteed to start a convo.

1. Where are you from (i’ve been there, i have a friend from, which neighborhood?)

2. What do you do (job, college major, extra-curriculars)

3. Are you following your dreams (is the job(yrmajor) you have now what you want to do forever?, current vs. future, wheniwaslittleiwantedto…)

4. Mutual Friends

5. You’ve said before…. (something you heard about them or they told you online)

Generally, if the person isn’t a douchers they’ll either ask you the same questions back or leave it really open ended. AND IF THEY DON’T YOU CAN ALWAYS be like ‘where you from, word, i went there once, it was hot there, i prefer breathing to sucking in thick humidity air’ and then they’ll LOL.

ALSO, you can try these things “do you read everyoneisgay.com, have you heard of everyoneisgay.com, did you see the latest webcast on everyoneisgay.com, who do you think is hawter kristin or dannielle from everyoneisgay.com?”

OH ALSO, JSYK MOST PEOPLE ARE WEIRD WHEN FIRST MEETING SLASH TALKING TO SOMEONE, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Srsly yalls. One time I was by myself at an after party for a show and i stood against a wall trying to find someone i knew and no one was there and everyone was having fun and i started to cry and left…soooooo

Kristin Says:

None of you can see me, but I am giving a standing ovation to Dannielle’s answer.  You guys, she LAID THAT SHIT OUT, am I right?!

Since I think that Dannielle’s list is a flipping awesome way to handle the daunting task of starting a conversation or keeping one going, I am not even going to try to tinker with that shit.  Cool?

What I will say, though, is that 98% of the time, people feel awkward in conversations when they are with people who they don’t know very well.  I am a person who will think of 7,579 things to talk about, and I’ll laugh and make eye contact and remain engaged and people will think, “Man, that Kristin sure is comfortable with people.”  The truth is, though, that I am in my head evaluating half the nonsense that is coming out of my mouth, and I have had a bazillion occurrences where I flat out won’t go to a party because I can’t deal with the effort that it takes me to keep everyone happy and laughing.

I am not telling you that because I think that it is a healthy way to live.  It isn’t.  It is ridiculous, you guys.  I am telling you that because it is important to realize that very few people like to make conversation with people who they have just met…it is suuuuper intimidating.  The thing that I have been doing for myself is trying to let go of my feeling of responsibility for the interactions that I have.  It isn’t just up to YOU, Anonymous, to keep things going and to make the situation comfortable.  Say what you want to say when you want to say it, and know that if you and I were talking and you were nervous and quiet, I would be like, “Hey, do you ever play Ms. Pacman? Did you know that the red ghost is the only one programmed to actually chase you,” and you would laugh and I would be like, “Yo, that girl is adorable.”

Some people will get you, and some people won’t, and that isn’t your fault.  There are a hundred billion of us out here who love people even if they can’t keep eye contact and are super nervous in public situations.  You don’t need to worry about the few who will judge you based on your ability to remain calm in conversation, and, if you find yourself worrying…remember that most of them are totally faking calm anyway.

Also, if you haven’t already read it, go get a copy of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.   Go.  Like, right now.

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