Socially awkward? How to overcome social anxiety and become socially confident

Being socially awkward

Do you dry up, go blank, or get tongue-tied in social or professional situations?

You’d love to be able to respond to what others are saying, but your mind goes completely blank. You just can’t think of anything to say!

If you’re an analytic kind of person (you may be an introvert like me), then this will be your default mode. You’ve got this internal critic that never lets up, and is constantly criticising everything you say and do.

You may be fine when you’re with good friends, family or people you trust. You look around you and see everyone else talking to each other, laughing and joking and “getting along” – and you are at times rather amazed about how much other people have to say about absolutely nothing!

socially awkward
It seems everyone else is having a great time except you

You are probably someone that tends to listen more and think deeply about what other people are saying – you only speak when you really have something to say.

Are you socially anxious or are you socially awkward?

Have you decided as a result that you have social anxiety, and that you really do have a problem?

Until a few years ago there was no stigma in being shy or socially awkward. But since the medical profession put social phobia on the map, lots of people began describe themselves as social anxious. They began to believe that there was something wrong with them mentally or emotionally.

But there’s a huge difference between someone with social phobia and someone who is socially awkward or anxious. Most introverts experience challenges in their social interactions.

Can I suggest you start thinking of yourself as socially awkward – even if you’ve been diagnosed with social anxiety. It is a doctor’s job to diagnose, and this is one area where a diagnosis can seriously undermine your confidence.

Just because you feel socially awkward doesn’t mean you ARE socially awkward

Social chit chat, parties, any kind of networking or team work used to excruciatingly uncomfortable for me. I’d avoid it if I could. And I really did believe there was something wrong with me.  It seemed that everyone else was having a great time except me.

And I could see quite plainly that the people that were socially confident were achieving things that were a hopeless dream for me.

How I gained social confidence

But this changed overnight when I learned that I had a creative brain that I wasn’t using. I didn’t know how to access that brain or how magical my life could be if I could learn how to use that brain.

When I discovered how to use and balance both my creative and analytic brains, then I really began to “make moves”!  (This is what eventually became the name of my company to help other people achieve the same.)

Much to my surprise I even found at times I could be the life and soul of the party. I stopped being over-serious and started to have fun. I discovered much to my surprise that I had an enormous capacity for having fun. It was an essential part of me.

At the same time, I started feeling happier and happier. The more I operated from my creative brain, the happier I got. Depression and anxiety simply melted away because I was expressing more of my true self.   And other people seemed to like the outgoing Claire much more than they liked the Wallflower Claire. I started to attract the kind of friends that I really wanted to have and to live the life I’d dreamed of living. See my book: From Wallflower to Sunflower for my full story.

How you can say goodbye to social anxiety and awkwardness

And you can achieve this too.

It will take work and you’ll feel very uncomfortable at times. But it is moving through this discomfort in a safe environment that’s going to enable to overcome your social awkwardness.

The Sunflower Effect, the confidence system I have developed using an adapted form of drama, will enable you to achieve this – whether you would define yourself as a social wallflower or it’s just certain situations where you become socially awkward. This is usually when you are under pressure and feel afraid of making a mistake.


I have designed  a number of different courses for building social confidence, depending on what level of social anxiety or awkwardness you experience.

The most effective course for overcoming social awkwardness is the I Don’t Know What to Say Improvisation course for social confidence course. It is fast and great fun. It draws heavily on Keith Johnstone’s original method of improvisation (very different from improv comedy) which I have adapted for quieter people who feel socially awkward.

socially awkward

It will take a little while to unlearn your ingrained habits of operating from your logical left brain, but with practice and with the support of other people, you will be surprised at what starts coming out of your mouth.

When you learn how to get out of your head and start accessing your natural instincts and intuition, you will discover the deeper intelligence that lives inside you, which is far superior to your logical left brain.

And my participants tell me how much fun it is:

A brilliant way to get more confident socially.
Thelma, former teacher

This environment is unlike anything you will find in everyday life, and the freedom you are afforded is completely transferrable. Simply put, I give much less of a f*** now than I did 12 weeks ago, and this is infinitely more than I could have hoped for when tentatively enrolling. I would do it again without hesitation as it is easily the best decision I’ve made on my journey of self-improvement.
Colin O, legal writer,

It’s six months since I did the “I don’t know what to say” course and I’m still seeing the benefits, thank you for the whole experience. I surprise myself sometimes as to where my confidence comes from in relating to people.
Peregrine C, healing practitioner

More about the I Don’t Know What to Say Course

However the course is challenging, and is not the best first step for everyone.

However if you feel fairly confident in most other areas of your life, want to learn how to think on your feet or  feel you need this level of challenge to overcome your inhibitions, I Don’t Know What to Say, could be a great place to start. 

If shyness, self-consciousness or social anxiety are strongly on your radar

socially awkward

You would be better to start off with the Breakthrough Group,  or the Express Yourself Workshop before moving onto I Don’t Know What to Say Improvisation course, particularly if the prospect of doing drama gives you the complete heebie geeebies. Many people do all 3 before

Doing these course  will enable you to overcome the acute aspects of self-consciousness and the blocks that are causing your social anxiety. It will also ease you gently into the drama, build your confidence, so you can be ready to meet the challenges of the  I Don’t Know What to Say Improvisation course

It also can be useful to sign up for Introductory Evening. That way I can see you in action and recommend the best course for you.

Book a time to speak to me

If you’re not sure which course is right for you, you can set up a time to speak to me, (it’s free) so I can get more of a sense of what challenges you are facing, and which course will serve you better.

Book a telephone consultation with Claire

Useful Links

I Don’t Know What to Say Improvisation course
Finding Your Voice
Breakthrough Group

Frequently Asked Questions

Subscribe to the newsletter and download The Confidence Myth eBook

From Wallflower to Sunflower breaks new ground in the field of confidence-building. A former wallflower, she stumbled by chance on a very simple and effective way to build a natural and lasting confidence.

Claire Schrader has developed the Sunflower Effect,  a proven confidence-building system using an adapted form of drama, that has assisted many hundreds of people to move from “Wallflower to Sunflower” (to becoming naturally self-confident).

The book is highly practical, grounded in psychology and scientific research and offers a step-by-step guide with proven strategies, practical tips, exercises and free online resources.

Reading the book will enable you to get more out of my courses because you will understand more about how the Sunflower Effect works.

From Wallflower to Sunflower – the quiet person’s path to natural self-confidence  by Claire Schrader

Available on Amazon

From: Claire Schrader


Hi there
Welcome to Making Moves particularly if you've been struggling with confidence.
I've been there myself, so I do understand.

If you want to get started as soon as possible, the Express Yourself Workshop (next on 18th Nov) is a great place to come out of your shell with a very supportive group of people - you will be amazed at what you can achieve in just one day.  Only a few places left

I will be running another Introductory Evening on 11th December and again on 9th January - a great way to get a taste of what to expect before joining one of my courses.

The Breakthrough Group is the first step for many people - particularly if you feel shy, self-conscious or experience social anxiety I've seen some miraculous transformations in my 20 years of running this group.
Courses next start Tues 15th Jan @ 7.45pm and Wed 23rd Jan @5.30pm

If speaking up in groups, being heard, or any public speaking is your challenge, then the  Finding Your Voice course is a good place to start if anxiety and nerves are the issue. I've had people with very severe symptoms including panic attacks, overcome these issues with relative ease.

Courses start Thurs17th Jan @ 7.45pm and Thurs 24th Jan @5.30pm

"I don't know what to say" improvisation for social confidence is great for people with average confidence who experience some form of social anxiety or awkwardness but find themselves stumped with knowing what to say. Working through improvisation and will transform your verbal confidence and social skills.

Starts Wed 16th Jan @ 7.45pm.

You can book online for all my courses and events.

Book a telephone appointment with me or get in touch by email if you're not sure which course is right for you.

I look forward to hearing from you

Best, Claire