I believe I suffer from social phobia. I am a sheltered geek and the son of an overprotective mother. I am severely reclusive, utterly avoiding most social goings such as parties. I rarely eat in public and I have not used a public rest room since I was four. (However, that is probably due to getting attacked by a bully while using a urinal) I often stutter and have difficulty talking; I avoid phone conversations and tremble when speaking in public. I am strictly against alcohol and drug use; I even resist using medicine. I would not say I have low self-esteem, only that I am unaware of my own charisma. I tend to avoid people and doubt that we would be compatible. (I hate drinking; people drink at parties, etc.) I’ve have improved vastly in the past two years through exposure and exploration, but unsure what to do now.
ANSWER: You have answered your own question “I’ve improved vastly in the past two years through exposure and exploration.” Keep it up. (No one ever said life was easy – or change was quick!) You don’t need to get in with the bar hopping crowd to be socially adept! Get yourself involved with one or two other “geeks” (who now own the world), glory in being different, and keep pushing yourself foward into situations that are just mildly uncomfortable. Join groups that focus the attention on a task that you enjoy, go with one or two others that you know, and slowly build up your circle of friends – people who are involved in the same activties that you are. And remember, when you find someone who is interested in some of the same things you are interested in, you can say – in the midst of the discussion – we ought to get together sometime for coffee and continue the discussion. Making a time to have coffee isn’t a committment to being compatible! Only to having a conversation.