SWIPE-Madison – Summary of Social Anxiety and Kink – Fri, Apr 11th

MADISON, Wisc. – Thank you to everyone for coming out to the Madison discussion on “Social Anxiety and Kink” on Friday, April 11th! I hope everyone liked our new Eastside location. Please let us know if you had any issues or concerns.

Thanks to everyone who shared their personal stories. Those stories are really what make the meetings worth coming to along with the laughter and camaraderie! We will not recount the personal stories here. If some key points of the discussion were missed or you want to add some additional thoughts, please feel free to do.

For the discussion, we included the following things under the label “Social Anxiety”:

  • Shyness
  • Introvert
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Withdrawal from social things because of chronic illness or depression (a separate topic that we will have in July)
  • Unfamiliarity or newness in the community

What does Social Anxiety feel like?

  • Feels like zoning out/phasing out when more humans come into the room.
  • Overwhelming.
  • Worried about what others think. In our heads, we’re thinking “They don’t want to know me. I have nothing to say. I want to get to know them but maybe they don’t want to talk to me. That’s why they aren’t saying anything; they just don’t want to talk to me. I’m not good enough.”
  • Feels like I don’t trust that you really want to talk to me.
  • Lack of self-esteem.
  • Not trusting myself to pick the right people to talk to.
  • Not trusting others.
  • Fear of rejection.
  • Fear of being perceived as creepy or rude.
  • Trusting a stranger more because they won’t hurt me emotionally and I won’t have to see them again.
  • I don’t want to presume I’m worthy enough to talk to you or be talked to by others.
  • Going against the vanilla norms where boys ask the girls; in general Wisconsin kink, subs ask Doms to play.
  • Different levels of anxiety based on:

– Strangers
– Social acquaintances
– Close friends

What do you do to overcome your social anxiety/shyness?

  • Act the part/fake it.
  • Be superficial (but this is unsatisfactory because I want real connections).
  • Have a clearly defined role (like volunteering at an event).
  • Break down each issue I’m having into smaller chunks to overcome each one separately.
  • Connect with one person and then go into a group setting together.
  • Be consistent – keep showing up at an event or munch, people will warm up to as they see you more often.
  • Reject negative thoughts.
  • Practice bravery.
  • Know who else will be at a munch or event, then plan to meet that person there.
  • Go without expectations – don’t expect people to talk to you, make no effort to talk to them, and then be disappointed when they don’t.
  • Go with a goal – I will smile and say hello to at least 2 people before leaving.
  • Learn to relax and show it in your body language.
  • Have body language that is inviting or welcoming.
  • Playing with your cellphone can give you space from others and it can also give people the impression that you don’t want to be bothered.
  • If things become overwhelming, excuse yourself and go “breathe the air over there”.
  • Give a gift: share chocolate, ask others if they’d like a massage, etc. Be OK if they chose not to receive your gift, it is not you – they may not like or can’t have sugary things or getting touched. It is just a way to start a conversation.
  • Wear something that can be a conversation starter – funny/clever t-shirt, interesting necklace, something that can easily be seen – that way you won’t have to think of small talk.
  • Have a touchstone like a song or talisman that you can use to center yourself.

How do you establish a support network?

  • Start chatting online.
  • Meet people in public (coffee shop, munches, SWIPE, etc).
  • Volunteer at an event.
  • Let people know that you are new – most of us are happy to share info about our community with newbies.

What can others do to help you?

  • Give the person time to respond; sometimes when people are anxious, it takes time for them to process and respond.
  • Occasionally, asking questions not bombarding the person with questions.
  • Have a buffer friend that can introduce you to others with a common interest.
  • Have a buffer friend who can recognize when you need to “breathe the air over there”, need to take a break, get away from others, and/or need to calm down for a bit.
  • If you’re with a partner or a friend, touching them or having them near can ground you. Perhaps, them touching you can help ground/calm you. You could set up a signal, a touch to the shoulder means all is well, a touch to the hand means “help, I’m panicking”.

Our next Waukesha meeting is Sunday, April 27th @ 6:30pm – Jealousy – What triggers jealousy? How do you control your jealousy? How do you deal with your jealousy? Do you ever get over your jealousy?

Our next Madison meeting is Friday, May 9th @ 7:30pm @ NEW EASTSIDE LOCATION – What were you thinking? – What goes through a Dom/Master or sub/slaves mind before, during, and after play? How can you communicate better before, during and after play?