One thing I have been exploring over several years, is why I feel uncomfortable around people I don't know so well. I've worked on it and feel much better nowadays, but perhaps you feel this too sometimes. It's natural to hold certain aspects of our personality back when we meet people for the first time or are getting to know them, but is it really beneficial? We want to portray the best version of ourselves so that people like us, but perhaps the entirety of our personality is just as loveable, if not more, than the social mask, and we don't need to filter who we are for others.
Often, when we relax into a social situation and allow our authentic self to shine through, others, in turn, feel more relaxed. They sense that there are no barriers, no filters and no pretending. In this way, they intuitively feel that the person in front of them is being real right now and that there will be no hidden surprises. Others then naturally trust us and are inspired to be their authentic selves.
Even if you're a little quirky, funny, silly, opinionated or even going through a tough time, when we hide aspects of ourselves, people can tell. Sure you're not going act the same around colleagues at work as you do your best friend or your partner, but you can allow yourself to be as authentic as you can possibly be.
We need to trust others to accept us for who we are, and if they don't, then perhaps they are not worth trying to get close to. If we are full-on rejected, then they are probably not people we need in our lives at all, and that's their loss. People can be judgemental, and the subconscious fear of their judgements causes us to present a perceived 'perfect' version of ourselves, but we can't keep it up forever.
Trust in yourself that you are awesome, interesting and great company. By relaxing into a social situation, you are naturally able to be yourself. You can probably think of at least one or two people in your life you can be yourself with, try being like that with everyone, and see what happens. It's up to others to accept you for who you are, and if they don't, then perhaps you can forgive them. They might be coming from a place of rigid societal beliefs of what a person should be like, and that's something they need to work through, to be more accepting. They only judge you because their ego prevents them from stepping outside the box, protecting an often fragile sense of self.
Accept yourself because self-acceptance leads to self-love. Accept everything about yourself. It doesn't mean you can't work on yourself on your journey toward becoming your infinite, fabulous true self. But before you change anything, accept what already is. No one is perfect, and if others expect to find perfection in everyone they meet, they will be disappointed.
I would always present the absolute best version of myself, and it was pretty exhausting. I'd curtail my sense of humour just in case I wasn't very funny, I'd filter my opinions for fear that others wouldn't like me and I'd be super 'nice' in case they thought I wasn't. But it turns out that when I relaxed and allowed my true self to flow, people warmed to me much better. They could tell my authenticity, and that would make them feel at ease. Trust became a two-way street.
Then, in turn, I became more confident, made deeper, lasting friendships and socializing was no longer exhausting. I released resistance towards myself and who I am.
When we have had an upbringing that has been less than nurturing, perhaps we were rarely validated, praised or even accepted; as we grow up, we bring certain feelings into adulthood. The resulting low self-esteem and self worth can be crippling in social situations, and we believe we are actually not worth validation and acceptance. We feel like there is something wrong with us, or we're not good enough. The same is true if our confidence was actively taken away. If we're told we are 'a pain' or to 'go away', then we continue to feel we are unworthy of being around others, and that they won't like or accept us.
If this is the case for you, try leaving those experiences in the past, draw a line under them, and move forward stepping into your true potential. If others can be accepted and appreciated for who they are, then why not you? You have so much to offer, and whatever wasn't nurtured in you before or was actively taken away, you can leave it all behind and start anew.
Try being 'you' on for size. Have a go at relaxing and flowing in social situations, any social situation, and watch others warm to you. Sharing some personal experiences with others often helps too. For example, the other day, I shared with a new friend about my fears past and present, and they surprisingly opened up about theirs. We suddenly became really relaxed together, and the friendship deepened. Sharing hints of vulnerabilities to carefully selected people shows that you are aren't trying to be perfect, and that means they don't have to try either. Trying can be a bit exhausting, flowing is easy.
Sending lots of love! Nicky x