One of the biggest struggles I had to deal with while I was in my religious cult and the recovery process after was my social insecurities. I’m an introvert by nature so that didn’t help the situation either, but that church forced me to not want to talk to the “outside world,” which included my family and childhood friends. It also became clear to me that after my awesome experience in Denver a lot of others with similar cult experiences to mine struggle with it.
I felt like I was letting God down just by being in the same room as these people who weren’t a part of my church. As you can imagine, it made it really hard for me to carry a conversation with them and led to a lot of awkward silences that I was very conscious of. I hated it. I wanted to talk to people so badly but I just couldn’t.
Once I got out of the cult it took me awhile to get back on my feet. While I didn’t have those bizarre beliefs anymore, I realized I still couldn’t talk to people confidently. I remember thinking to myself “what do real people talk about these days?” and “don’t tell people you were in a cult.” Having that on a loop in my head kept the awkward silences coming and only led to me being insecure.
After a good year of forcing myself out there to talk to random people I began to realize something:
Awkward silences aren’t that awkward.
Yeah, it’s one thing to be a quiet person and not carry a conversation but there isn’t one person in this world that can talk nonstop until the day they die. Pay attention to the next conversation you’re in with someone who you feel most comfortable around. It doesn’t matter if it’s your parents, siblings, spouse or a best friend, there will be a silence in the conversation at some point. Because you’re comfortable with them means you can be comfortable being silent around them too.
Be comfortable with silence. Don’t feel like you have to impress others. Use that silence to think of the next topic of conversation, or hell, joke about it and embrace the awkwardness. We are all weird anyway. Chances are the other people will laugh about it too.