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Working towards positive social interactions

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Hi, I have an almost complete lack of confidence and social skills. Because of years of living like this, any kind of social interaction feels extremely awkward, makes me feel nervous, uncomfortable, and stressed. This is a self-fulfilling and self-strengthening feedback loop, and it has come to the point were even really basic stuff like the bare minimum interaction with a cashier in a supermarket seems like a challenge (I tend to use self-checkout when available, for this reason :))

I would like to improve that situation, and I know that in the long run that will require practice. But unlike other areas, where practice would usually be boring busy-work to get better at the real stuff, here, practice pretty much requires interaction with other people, which is : a) really painful, and b) not actually very nice for them either, especially because they didn't volunteer to be practice material :)

Do you guys have some tips for stuff I could do that would help (even just a little bit, in a little area) without actually requiring human interaction? I know that in the long run it won't be enough, but I feel that if it'll make the actual live practice easier (for me and/or the other person), it would be worth it.
Like apps or websites or books with info or practice routines (or even live evaluation) for stuff like body language, pronunciation, stuff to say, ...

Note: I'm just talking about basic social interaction, not dating stuff, or even friendship stuff, as that's way out of my league for now...
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Hey op, do you care to tell a bit more about your situation? Do you go to school/work? Family? Do you live alone? How old are you?
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>>16525258
I'm in my early thirties, I have a job (IT, so my lack of social skills is not too much of a problem in my current low-level purely technical position, even though it does severely limit career growth potential).
I live alone, have never had a relationship or even real friendship, though I did, at some point, have a few acquaintances based on shared interests or hobbies.
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>>16525258
Missed the family part :
Haven't had much contact with my father the last decade (or really much when my mother still lived either). He moved to the other side of the world a while back.
My mother died almost 10 years ago, no brothers or sisters.
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>>16525321
>>16525341
Damn, that's a really hard situation anon.
What is your goal? What would you lile to achieve on a social level?
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>>16525382
I guess being able to handle normal day-to-day social interactions without feeling significantly more stress than an "average" person does, would be main goal.
So basically normal "neutral" interactions with people in shops, on the street, on public transport, colleagues, acquaintances.
Having that sort of thing feel as if it's normal, as if I can handle it without worrying, ...

Which is, I realize, mostly a matter of mindset and experience, but like I said, that doesn't just get fixed overnight, which is why I feel it would be nice to have some small things I could practice at :)
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>>16525419
How do you feel if you get into situations like that? Has it always been this way? What do you rhink would help you to practice?
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Well you can always record yourself saying things on http://vocaroo.com/ and post here. Maybe not here, depends how good you are at weeding out shitposts.
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>>16525447
It's always felt uncomfortable, for as long as I can remember, but I do think it has been getting worse as I grow older. Possibly just due to the amount of "bad" experiences accumulating, i.e. mainly my perception of it getting worse, than my skills actually getting worse.

I tend to mumble and talk pretty silently, so stuff like >>16525450 might help (force me to talk properly, get feedback, improve, feel like I'm improving, gain some confidence, ...). I'll definitely try that tomorrow, thanks! (it's pretty late already, so I'm going to get some sleep now).
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>>16525482
I'll start off with an example from a different realm. Public transport apps: Trafi and Moovit. The first one has supperior software, the most accurate algorithms I've seen, where my bus rolls up the same time as the wedge on the map. But they focused on the software and expanded to 6 cities. While Moovit did Quantity-over-quality. Expanded to something like 500 cities, sometimes having completely inaccurate timetables, etc. End result? Trafi (app came out only a few months later) got 6.5$ Million in their Seires A funding this year, while Moovit secured 50$ Million in Series C Funding (A 3.5 ; B 28$M).
Where I'm getting at is my advice would be, just plunge into social situations. Don't take small steps that are uncomfortable, but sort of managable (in this case I don't agree with workout-like approach, where you start with small weights and get to bigger, since anxiety is completely in your head), because that's confusing motion for action.
Being very anxious myself, I just sort of threw myself into social situations. Not that many even, but straight on "here's 15 strangers, talk to them". And I've learned more (became more comfortable) than from asking strangers on the steet for the time.
I suggest something like finding a hobby, where you'll interact with people. Doesn't even have to be something you like, it's just to get you in a place with people, where you don't just stand around with a drink and also immediately have a topic for conversation (the hobby).

I used to watch SimplePickup a couple years back. And the guys there just went and chatted up girls on the street. But they didn't do just that, there was also developing the site, video editing, etc. In one video they said that after such things (as in, staying in for a few days), they'd feel anxious again about approaching girls on the street. And the only cure was to do it anyway. So whatever steps you decide to take, they have to be constant.
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>>16525759
>cont.

I also tend to mumble and talk silently, but just a few days ago I discovered how to project my voice, sound clear and loud. Can't really explain it, as I was just experimenting and recording my voice for ages (over 6 months). You'll have to google yourself, check out 'speaking from your diaphragm'. There's nasal, chest, and diaphragm speaking, you have to find the right combination (as just projecting my voice sort of kills the tone, it's just loud and deep, but no emotion. Or sounds agressive). There's no strain, always loud/clear and I can talk like that whenever (anxiety doesn't affect it). After you find (or to actually find) 'that voice', read and record 10-20min a day, check your progress, mumbling mistakes, etc.

Working out, living (eating) healthy would help your state of mind, boost confidence. Meditation is pretty great, too.
Thread posts: 11
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