AWAKENING YOUR SOCIAL SELF A Path to Defeating Shyness by Mr. Fingers "Don't talk to strangers!" my mom would admonish me before I left for school each morning. Sometimes I wonder if this ominous warning had anything to do with the social phobia that would plague me later in life. Don't get me wrong, I don't blame poor Momma for my troubles and I know she was only trying to protect me from predators, but I think this is a powerful message that stuck with me much longer than intended. I know I am not alone here because the majority of people I encounter display various degrees of social phobias. I am actually quite an expert on the subject. Spent my early teen years as a bit of a hermit, keeping myself entertained with video games, comic books, and of course, lots of porn. The few times I did show up to a party, I would cling to my friends like they were a life preserver amidst stormy seas. I look back and laugh at myself since I am now able to dive into any social pool and backstroke with the best of them. So how did I do it? Baby steps, my friend. Had to cross a few gates in order to banish my inner hermit and become the life of the party.