Meeting new people

Most of us feel nervous when we meet people we don’t know. If you have a visible difference, you may feel more anxious, defensive or embarrassed about meeting new people – especially if you have received a lot of unwanted attention or upsetting reactions. This may lead you to assume people will behave negatively towards you, before you have even met them. You may feel awkward and shy, or try to cover this up by talking too much or being inappropriately humorous.

SCARED

Trying to understand what is happening for both of you when you meet someone for the first time can help you to understand.

At Changing Faces, we use the acronym ‘SCARED’ to describe what might take place when two people first meet. It shows a range of feelings both people might have – and how this could make them act – creating a very difficult and uneasy situation for both people to handle.

Is the other person SCARED?

IF THEY FEEL THEY MIGHT BEHAVE IN THESE WAYS
Sorry / Shocked S Staring / Speechless
Curious / Confused C Clumsy
Anxious A Asking / Awkward
Repelled R Recoiling / Rude
Embarrassed E Evasive
Distressed D Distracted

 

Are you SCARED?

 

IF YOU FEEL…

YOU MIGHT…

Self-conscious

S

act shy

Conspicuous (standing out)

C

cover yourself up

Angry or anxious

A

be angry or anxious

Rejected – like people don’t want to know you

R

retreat – pull away or hide from people

Embarrassed

E

be evasive – ignore people

Different

D

act defensive – try to protect yourself

 

What happens next?

As being SCARED can create such a difficult situation, it’s natural to try to avoid each other or turn away from the conversation.  As someone with a visible difference, you may find you contend with this over and over

  • You might expect people to behave in ways that make you feel uncomfortable, which can make you even more worried…
  • As a result, you might try to avoid meeting new people – which can make you even more nervous – especially as you become less used to talking to people you don’t know
  • You might feel angry with the people giving you a hard time and shout or feel upset
  • Or you might take it out on the people around you, like your family

The talking confidently tool

Read

Relaxation to manage anxiety

Read

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