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Question
Posted by: me | 2003/03/03

my low selfestem!

i 2 have a lowish stelfesteme! but i can't do anything about it! what can i do?? i'm only 15 and i have hardly any friends! in truth i am a very friendly person but 2 shy to talk 2 the girls in my class as i'm scared of being rejected! what can i do??? i really need the help SOON! help me! i'm becoming depressed!
p.s. i do have a bit of a weight problem and therefore i do feel held back!
me!

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Our expert says:
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Dear me
( at 15, I'm guessing you're NOT the "me" who posted the other question about a troubled 4-year-old son ! )
OK, for whatever reason, you have, temporarily, a low self-esteem, and/or feel shy in social settings. Having a low opinion of yourself is probably what makes you feel that you can't do anything about it, because, in fact, you can ! You recognize that you are, indeed, a very friendly person --- and most probably a nice and interesting person, too. It becomes a vicious cycle, doesn't it ? When you try to talk to someone new, you feel sure you'll be rejectedm which makes it much more likely that something won't quite work out when you try it, which adds to your certainty that you can't do it ( although you can ).
There's also a bit of Catastrophizing --- you draw the false conclusion that if you were to be a bit clumsy when you start to try to be friendly to someone new, ( or if the person you chose to try with, happened to be someone with sufficiently bad taste that they didn't appreciate how nice you actually are ) tat this would be a catastrophe ! That this would be something Absolutely Awful and Dreadful and with consequences so terrible you daren't even think of them ! If the odds were actually so high, of course anyone would hesitate to try.
But let's look at the facts. Actually, you have no deep, dark secret to hide --- you're a thoroughly nice person, who's just shy and not yet fully confident in social settings. But there's no enormously difficult skill to chat to people about something you're both interested in, ( such as Them ! it's remarkable how interested most people are in themselves !) and taking i from there. And if it didn't work out, if they found they didn't especially like you and want to become a friend, or if you found that they were superficial or boring and you didn't want to be their friend --- so what ? It's no big deal ; there are plenty of other people in the world, and no-one is friends with them all. Indeed, most people don't actually have a large numbr of true friends. Very outgoing and sociable folks may have more acquaintances, people with whom they have a raher shallow relationship ; but not a large number of real friends.
And if one attempt to befriend someone doesn't work out too well, go on to the next one. It never means that you can't do it, just that you didn't, on this occasion. Counselling can help you to udnerstand the situation better, and to give you direct support and encouragement as you work through this hitch in your social life ; or you may manage it all on your own. Either way, don't give up, and keep trying.

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