DO you feel held back from attending events or gatherings by anxiety or a fear of being judged? Do social situations leave you feeling drained - are you a quieter sort of person?
A new group due to start up in Liskeard later this month will be the first Quiet Connections meet-up in the East of the county, providing support for those experiencing these feelings.
Quiet Connections is a project set up in Cornwall by people who understand these feelings as they’ve been through it themselves.
The organisation holds quiet meet ups, where like-minded people can come together for walks or activities in a relaxed, no-pressure environment, with no obligation to chat or be sociable.
It also provides resources for self-study, to help people overcome anxiety and become more fulfilled, as well as one-to-one coaching in person or over the phone.
Community connector for the group is student Eleanor Zalick, who explains how she discovered Quiet Connections while doing her internship with the University of Exeter.
“We were looking at different groups and charities in Cornwall and how we could make them more accessible.
“There’s often a gap between the support that’s available, and those people who might feel too anxious to actually reach out for it. I felt that this was something Quiet Connections was doing and I wanted to get involved with it.”
Eleanor, who is going into her second year of study, has chosen an evening time slot for her session in Liskeard. She hopes this will enable people of all ages, and people who work, to attend more easily.
She describes how the atmosphere in the meet-ups that she’s attended is a “nice kind of quiet rather than an awkward or tense kind of quiet”.
“I went to the St Austell group recently. It was a really calm, friendly atmosphere. It reminds me of being in an Art classroom. It’s not like people aren’t talking at all – but you can feel that you don’t have to talk, people just enjoy each other’s company.”
Eleanor says that the Liskeard group will include arts and crafts and she’s thinking of bringing along crosswords or Sudoku as she’s noticed these don’t feature at the meetings in other places.
“Lots of people who are quieter feel alone, so you can become quite isolated,” she explains.
“I want people who are quieter to feel like they can find others who are similar to themselves – people who accept them for their quiet selves instead of constantly telling them to ‘speak up’ or ‘be more confident’.
“I want to build a space where quieter people can feel socially involved in the world and share their experiences.”
The first Liskeard Quiet Connections meet-up will be held in the Public Hall on September 28 (from 7-9pm, drop in any time). Email [email protected] to register interest or find out more – or visit www.quietconnections.org