Socially we are connected like we’ve never been before – online. On the flip side, we have considerably less face-to-face time, leading us to inevitably fill in the gaps in our mind.
“Over-thinking in social situations limits you in making real connections with people,” says Dr Villar. “It can alienate you from friends and family. Humans are meant to be social, and overanalysing a social setting can cause anxiety and cause you not to be your true self.”
If you’re a bit out of practise, off your game, or something doesn’t feel quite right, one of our biggest natural insecurities – ‘do I fit in?’ – can have us questioning our behaviour or lead us to pretending to be someone we’re not. If you’re not careful, the fear of not fitting in can spiral into full blown paranoia. Over-think your place in the room and you’re in trouble.
Affording yourself approval is key to enjoying the company of others. An extension of this is, when you’re comfortable with yourself, you’re naturally better company, which feeds a positive cycle of fulfilling interactions.
“Come back to your values,” says Hill. “What are the things that are important to you? Write these down and find ways to engineer time with your family and friends that feeds these values, setting clear boundaries if you need. When we are able to set boundaries, we get to have the freedom to soak up the moments of connection and fun.”
Your idiosyncrasies are part of what have drawn people to you, and, ironically, are what make you ‘fit in’.
“People connect with your authenticity and all of the qualities that make you, you,” says Hill. “So fly your freak flag high and your greatest friends will celebrate this.”