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Choosing to live life in solitude
#21
Have you talked to your barber before?

I don't think you were being hurtful, or at least I didn't read it as being hurtful. Likewise, you don't have to talk to the barber, a lot of people don't and that's fine. Also, he's probably talked about the weather several times any given day so yeah I can see how picking such a topic might fall flat. That thing is it should be something that might seem natural to you, if you liked muscle cars for example, that might be a good topic...but if you don't know anything about cars, don't know where the oil goes and so on, probably won't work. So don't force a topic that you're not going to enjoy. That's the whole reason to talk to your barber is to make the experience more pleasant, or a reason that it.
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#22
(01-26-2022, 11:33 AM)Anonymous Wrote: I have a weird experience at the barbers.

The barber which I always go regularly to have my haircut will have lengthy conversations with other customers talking about economy, local news, spouse, children etc. while cutting their hair.

But when he cuts my hair, there will be total silence that I would sometimes wonder if there is a problem with my hearing.

But as I grow older, I don't really bother whether the barber is interested to talk to me or not. As long as he cuts my hair properly, I'm fine with it.

Plus, he charges a bit cheaper compared to other barbers near my place. So I don't mind.

PS: Sorry if I sound hurtful in this post. I did not mean to hurt anybody with this post. I just wanted to share my experience with the barber because I have not talked to anyone about this barber experience before.

To further expand on my previous post (I will try not to repeat anything but there is a chance I might).

I don't think what you describe is weird. I have had the same experiences with barbers and hair salons. For me personally, I find hair salons to be a tad more inviting, however, hair salons see much more women than men and men's haircuts can throw them off or sometimes they simply suck at it. I have had a few terrible haircuts, to the point of considering a flowbee...

[Image: Robocut-vs-Flowbee-Haircutter-1.jpg]

Like I asked in the previous post, do you ever try to strike up conversation with your barber? You certainly don't have to, but I am wanting to know why you don't, that is assuming you don't. Also keep in mind things like body language, both you and your barber. If you look like you're grumpy he might just assume you don't want to talk...likewise, if he's looks grumpy you might feel like he doesn't want to talk to you. Whether that's true or not is unknown. Just like you might look grumpy, head down, no expression on your face, but are in a chipper mood. Some people just don't look like how they feel.

We can often tell a lot about someone just by observing them. Arms and legs crossed, sitting upright and straight while waiting for the barber. It would seem like that person is anxious. Someone who is sighing a lot, checking their watch, might be annoyed with how long they're waiting. You might not realize it or think about it but observing someone can greatly influence your own behavior towards them and that includes someone like your barber.

My opinion is trust your gut but don't read too far into it. If you get a bad feeling about someone, there might very well be a reason, but sometimes we jump to conclusions. You might mistake that someone doesn't like you because they have somehow figured out that you're gay, but what evidence do you have of that? I mean of course if you walked in dressed up in drag or something that would make it very obvious that Ray Charles notices sure, but otherwise you have to not listen to your inner monologue in those cases.

When it comes to socializing with strangers and people you don't know that well, it is totally normal to run out of shit to say. It's like fishing (I've never been fishing), you throw the line out and hope to catch a fish. You have to find common ground, a topic that you and the person you're talking to have an interest in. Likewise, the more things you yourself are interested in the easier it is to find something you and a stranger have in common.

Going back to the barber, if you find that it is really that you don't like your barber but you only go to him because he's cheaper than others, ask yourself if the savings are worth it. Try a different barber or maybe a hair salon, see if the experience is better or not. Maybe it costs a little more but maybe it is an overall better experience.

That brings me to this. Experience things. Not just social experience, try new stuff. Be curious. Find new hobbies, learn new skills. It might not seem like it first but the more things you seek will bring you in contact with more people who are doing the same things. For instance, if you like hiking, you might get involved in a group that does day hikes. Now, there's a whole group of people who have something in common and can learn from them. Do I need hiking poles? Are in bear country, do I need to carry bear spray? What kind of hiking shoes do you recommend? And so on.

I know that I shouldn't make assumptions about anyone but I would think that you probably don't go out doing recreational things much? And do correct me if I am wrong because I feel that in order to help someone overcome social anxiety it is good to try to know them. I often look into myself to understand how others feel. I don't always share the same experiences that others do.

[Image: _110892159_pbd.jpg]

This is a photo of Earth as you would see it from Pluto. It was taken by the Voyager space probe many years ago. The reason I point this out is that no matter what the problem is in life, it is usually better not to take things to seriously, not to beat yourself up or make inconsequential comparisons between yourself and others. I have found in my meandering experience that people are more similar than they are different. Even across different cultures that at face value are nothing a like. We all experience anxiety, although differently at times and we all want to be accepted by others, even if someone says they want to live in solitude. Understand that anxiety doesn't go away, you just learn skills to cope and that's what makes it better. 15 years ago I wouldn't have ever imagined standing in front of a class of college students giving a presentation and aside from the pandemic I've done it every semester for the past several years.
"I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert, but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime"
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#23
I've gone to a salon for my hair, but since the pandemic, I've gotten clippers and just clip it almost all the way down to the scalp.

Most of it has fallen out anyway.

When I went to the salon, the stylist was always chatty, and I enjoyed it, but there are times when I'm not in the mood for chit-chat.
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#24
(01-26-2022, 11:33 AM)Anonymous Wrote:
(01-24-2022, 06:12 PM)InbetweenDreams Wrote: The point is you have to get someone's interest by getting their attiention or making an observation. Now, not all people want to open up. To be honest, when I go get a haircut I'm perfectly content with sitting there in silence, but if a conversation starts and it's something interesting I'm find to talk too.


I have a weird experience at the barbers.

The barber which I always go regularly to have my haircut will have lengthy conversations with other customers talking about economy, local news, spouse, children etc. while cutting their hair.

But when he cuts my hair, there will be total silence that I would sometimes wonder if there is a problem with my hearing.

But as I grow older, I don't really bother whether the barber is interested to talk to me or not. As long as he cuts my hair properly, I'm fine with it.

Plus, he charges a bit cheaper compared to other barbers near my place. So I don't mind.

PS: Sorry if I sound hurtful in this post. I did not mean to hurt anybody with this post. I just wanted to share my experience with the barber because I have not talked to anyone about this barber experience before.
I don't think this is unusual. Barbers spend their lives dealing with the public in a one to one environment. I'm sure over time they must develop a sixth sense about people, picking up on who the talkers and non-talkers are. If he senses you're a non-talker he probably figures you are more comfortable skipping the small talk.
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#25
(01-26-2022, 12:01 PM)InbetweenDreams Wrote: Have you talked to your barber before?

I did talk but not much. But mostly its about what time he open and close the shop and whether he open. (The timings on the shop door were inaccurate.) I feel shy to talk about other stuff with him because I don't know him very well.
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#26
(02-08-2022, 02:59 PM)Anonymous Wrote:
(01-26-2022, 12:01 PM)InbetweenDreams Wrote: Have you talked to your barber before?

I did talk but not much. But mostly its about what time he open and close the shop and whether he open. (The timings on the shop door were inaccurate.) I feel shy to talk about other stuff with him because I don't know him very well.

Well that's the catch 22. Whether it is your barber or someone else you have to talk to them to get to know them better...

One question I do have is whether you are able or have considered seeing a therapist? I do think a therapist would be very helpful in helping you with social anxiety. Likewise, I understand that not everyone has the ability to get those resources. I would recommend someone who practices privately and isn't affiliated with an organization, at least when it comes to my experience, your mileage will vary and sometimes one therapist is a better fit than another.

Dealing with being shy, social anxiety can be a bit tricky. You get better by exposure and by getting outside your comfort zone, which is...uncomfortable. Of course you don't want to jump in the deep end per se.
"I’m not expecting to grow flowers in a desert, but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime"
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#27
(01-26-2022, 03:07 PM)InbetweenDreams Wrote: Like I asked in the previous post, do you ever try to strike up conversation with your barber? You certainly don't have to, but I am wanting to know why you don't, that is assuming you don't. Also keep in mind things like body language, both you and your barber. If you look like you're grumpy he might just assume you don't want to talk...likewise, if he's looks grumpy you might feel like he doesn't want to talk to you. Whether that's true or not is unknown. Just like you might look grumpy, head down, no expression on your face, but are in a chipper mood. Some people just don't look like how they feel.

I think maybe I wanted to be treated equally like his other customers. Which is why I feel a bit sad if he doesn't start conversation with me just like other people. The worst scenario is when the barber is cutting my hair but is having a conversation with the customer who is waiting for his turn near me. I feel like I am just a doll sitting there. I might be wrong but it makes me feel like I am not given basic respect as a human being. I'm not sure if I am being egoistic without me realising. Or is it my severe low self-esteem that keeps me making mountains out of molehills.

But one thing I have learned is that we can't force others to talk to us. So I usually accept it if the other person doesn't seem keen to talk to me.

Btw, the Flowbee seems interesting.

(01-26-2022, 03:07 PM)InbetweenDreams Wrote: I know that I shouldn't make assumptions about anyone but I would think that you probably don't go out doing recreational things much? And do correct me if I am wrong because I feel that in order to help someone overcome social anxiety it is good to try to know them. I often look into myself to understand how others feel. I don't always share the same experiences that others do.

Yes, you are right. I don't go out doing recreational things much. My social anxiety once reached to a terrible level when I feared leaving my home because my face will start twitching like a freak due to anxiety. I feared meeting neighbours and delivery-men delivering items. Now, it's somewhat a bit better as I could go to work. But I just can't go to other outside places, especially with a lot of people. It makes me uncomfortable.

And coming from a conservative place where shyness is seen as non-manly traits, it gets really humiliating at times. I get called names like sissy, half-man etc. and it doesn't really help with my social anxiety.

(01-26-2022, 03:07 PM)InbetweenDreams Wrote: This is a photo of Earth as you would see it from Pluto. It was taken by the Voyager space probe many years ago. The reason I point this out is that no matter what the problem is in life, it is usually better not to take things to seriously, not to beat yourself up or make inconsequential comparisons between yourself and others. I have found in my meandering experience that people are more similar than they are different. Even across different cultures that at face value are nothing a like. We all experience anxiety, although differently at times and we all want to be accepted by others, even if someone says they want to live in solitude. Understand that anxiety doesn't go away, you just learn skills to cope and that's what makes it better. 15 years ago I wouldn't have ever imagined standing in front of a class of college students giving a presentation and aside from the pandemic I've done it every semester for the past several years.

Thank you for your kind words @InbetweenDreams. It's nice to know that you have learned to manage and give presentations to audience (another thing which I fear to do). You have given many tips on how to change my thinking and manage well. I will surely work on them and adopt them in my daily life.
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#28
(02-08-2022, 03:27 PM)Anonymous Wrote: I think maybe I wanted to be treated equally like his other customers. Which is why I feel a bit sad if he doesn't start conversation with me just like other people. The worst scenario is when the barber is cutting my hair but is having a conversation with the customer who is waiting for his turn near me. I feel like I am just a doll sitting there. I might be wrong but it makes me feel like I am not given basic respect as a human being. I'm not sure if I am being egoistic without me realising. Or is it my severe low self-esteem that keeps me making mountains out of molehills.

But one thing I have learned is that we can't force others to talk to us. So I usually accept it if the other person doesn't seem keen to talk to me.

....

Yes, you are right. I don't go out doing recreational things much. My social anxiety once reached to a terrible level when I feared leaving my home because my face will start twitching like a freak due to anxiety. I feared meeting neighbours and delivery-men delivering items. Now, it's somewhat a bit better as I could go to work. But I just can't go to other outside places, especially with a lot of people. It makes me uncomfortable.

And coming from a conservative place where shyness is seen as non-manly traits, it gets really humiliating at times. I get called names like sissy, half-man etc. and it doesn't really help with my social anxiety.

I think all this, what you're thinking in these moments are all tying back to social anxiety. In my personal experience most of the anxiety I have, whether we're talking about in general or in social situations are all thought based. In other words you might think that the barber doesn't want to converse with you because you think he thinks you're a sissy. If you find that you have thoughts like that (and I may have referenced this previously) ask what proof do you have? I mean you didn't ask the barber if he really thinks that. The other thing you should ask yourself is so what if he does? I probably wouldn't do business with him anymore.

Thoughts and feelings are like a tunnel. You have a thought and it makes you feel a certain way and if you feel a certain way you might have certain thoughts. So that is why it is important to be more aware of your thoughts and feelings in certain situations. Understand that your barber not talking to you is most likely because he probably doesn't know you that well and in the past has always been quiet and like @calgor mentioned he probably reads that you're not really into having conversations. Your body language says a lot to people too and it's something you're probably unware of it. You can tell if someone is lying, angry, sad, up to no good by their body language, so you can tell if someone is uncomfortable.

The other thing to be aware of is that anxiety also tends to pair with depression. Now, the ball is in your court on what you choose to do, but if you feel depressed along with your anxiety you may want to consider the therapist or talk to a doctor about anti-depressants. There is a thread I started on the subject and it is definitely up for debate because I have heard everything from medications saved my life and really helped to medications really fucked me up. The other thing to understand is that medications aren't a silver bullet to the problem but they help you take the steps in helping with all that. I really ignored the depression part for a long time because who wants to admit they have a problem? So if you feel like Eeyore quite often you might consider talking to someone about it.

[Image: Profile_-_Eeyore.png]
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#29
@InbetweenDreams - thumbs up to your post below. Therapy and meds are nothing to be ashamed of.

I was in therapy for a while after a relationship ended. Was the best thing I could've done for myself.

Social anxiety, depression, and feeling isolated are things that can all be dealt with in therapy or medical intervention, and there's no reason for anyone to deny themselves the opportunity to feel better.
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