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Believe me, you don't want to become more uninhibited....

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How can I become more uninhibited (without resorting to being drunk 24-7)? I need to learn how to fucking loosen up!! When I'm out on a dance floor- everyone else is just letting go and having a ball, but I'm all uptight. When I'm with a group of friends, I'm not very boisterous. If I'm watching a comedy or something, I find myself only laughing when other people do, or not very loudly instead of JUST FUCKING ENJOYING MYSELF. There will be a song on the radio that I know and like, and though everyone else is singing along and getting into it without regard for anyone else, I don't. I'm sick of this shit, and think I'd be a lot happier if I could just express myself with reckless abandon, without worrying if what I'm saying/doing is "right". I'm damn pathetic because I'm actually not shy: if there's a cutie at the club- I'll walk right up and introduce myself when everyone else is scared to. I want to loosen up! Thanks.


Okay, long question so we'll start out with a bunch of handy summary observations for your edification and enjoyment and so that we can get to some actual answers without having to wade through 8 tons of explanation first. What fun! So let's get started.

Observation #1: The answer to your question - how can I become more uninhibited - is this: With great difficulty. Not being inhibited involves things like overcoming fear and learning to relax and similar things your body has absolutely no intention whatsoever of cooperating with you on. It can be done, but as you have cleverly surmised, it will involve both effort and actually being uninhibited, perhaps within the same lifetime, a prospect so grim it already has you contemplating being drunk 24-7 just to avoid it. Don't worry, we will give you techniques and methods and so on, along with a sprinkling of Crackpot Theories to spice things up, but inhibition is a bitch -and we are going to treat it like one. So strap on your seatbelt.

Observation #2: You are so clever to make reference to imbibing large quantities of alcohol. Because inhibition is a Social Brain problem - and it is the Social Brain that is particularly seduced and charmed and wooed by alcohol into abandoning its lifelong job of Protecting You From Being Uninhibited so that it can put on its party hat, fly down to Cancun and participate in shocking videos of itself engaging in simulated sex acts with strangers from throughout the US. Alcohol does indeed send the Social Brain on a vacation where it is inaccessible by cell phone, thus leaving you to fend for yourself and make all sorts of foolish decisions about what constitutes safe social behavior. This is good for you every once in a while, but it is not what you want on a permanent basis, partly because your Social Brain has adamantly and wisely convinced you that it is a Very Important Guardian of Your Welfare and that you need it around. So you don't want to get rid of it. You are just having an argument with it over what you should and should not be allowed to do in public and you'd like to win. Fair enough.

Observation #3: You probably do not need to loosen up. Oh I admit there are people for whom loosening up is a life or death matter, but you are probably not one of them, at least not right now. In reality, you could probably have an extremely fulfilling and exciting life without ever once being comfortable while dancing, laughing boisterously when no one else is, or singing loudly in public along with some ridiculously popular song that everyone will realize was always a piece of crap 3 months from now when they stop playing it on the goddamn radio all the time. There are in fact, many people, who unbeknownst to both themselves and you, have developed deep reserves of affection for you, precisely because you never do these things. God they love you for that. There are probably Other People who actively don't want you to do them! This is, in fact, very possibly a major reason why you don't. One of those people may be your mother or someone else you grew up with - a possibility which would raise its own complications.

But regardless of possible complications such as How You Were Raised, this business of some people liking you better if you don't do the uninhibited things you are convinced will improve your life is an important point. A point whose importance you may have underestimated, not having fully experienced the consequences of being uninhibited in the manner you imagine will increase your social status. Your Social Brain is not a moron. Sure it may be stern and somewhat overprotective, but it has reasons it is keeping you from being uninhibited. And in some ways, you have a very nice, polite Social Brain that is considerate of Other People and likes them and it wants them to like you too. These are good things. It is however, also overanxious, and that we need to do something about. It undoubtedly has horrific visions of you loosening up and devoting the rest of your life to hanging out in Karaoke bars wherein you never relinquish the microphone even when people who know you desperately plead and resort to physical intervention to get you offstage. It probably strongly suspects you have an inner Elvis impersonator and it is struggling with committed fervor to make sure it never gets loose. That's okay because we're going to play a joke on your Social Brain later in the answer that will make it shit its pants. That's going to be hilarious fun for everyone!

You may think I am exaggerating about the Elvis impersonator but the most strongly repressed Social Brains get that way partly they know goddamn well there is some Uninhibited Beast inside their bodies that will trample through all the fenceposts of social propriety and terrorize the villagers. This is great, and the fact you have a mighty uninhibited beast inside you that your Social Brain must muscle up to combat is a wonderful thing. It makes you greatly superior to all those mediocre laughing, singing, dancing people that surround you. The fact your Social Brain is working so hard to repress you indicates you have a Strong Will, and possibly some Fierce Passions, besides just the normal Terrifying Desire to Be Liked.

Okay, that's enough observations. Don't want to wear them out. So now we'll just cut the random crap and get to the core of the problem.

Okay, so your Social Brain is charged with making sure that when you are around Other People, you don't do anything that would cause them to attack you, ostracize you, plot behind your back to kill you, put you in jail, or otherwise subject to lengthy terrifying bouts of Complete Aloneness. That's just what it's there for. Because Complete Aloneness will literally physically kill you. And Other People, if you have been paying any attention in history class, or on the schoolyards of your youth, will absolutely, positively, without question, gang up on you when they feel like it and make your life a complete utter living miserable hell. There is nothing worse than having a Pack Of Other People turn against you. This is just reality. And because it is, everyone has a Social Brain. And everyone's Social Brain works hard, and uneasily, to constantly jigger things around as best it can, so that you won't suddenly find yourself the star defendant at a Salem witch trial, or otherwise Just Completely Fucking Humiliated.

And all that is happening in your case is that your Social Brain has come to the conclusion that if you just dance, or just laugh, or just sing, you will most likely end up Just Completely Fucking Humiliated. Its assessment of your situation may be accurate, it may not. Social Brains, like any other part of you designed to protect you from harm, are inclined to cheat on the side of caution. Yours would rather be cautious about dancing, singing, laughing, and enjoyment than risk something that could cause an Alarming Lack of Safety down the road. For example, your Social Brain may think to itself, 'If I let this guy just dance, there is the very real possibility that his way of dancing will not be the way normal people dance, and if he slips up and reveals this, there could be a Life-Changing Moment of Revelation in which everyone in the room, including people he has to interact with on a daily basis, will suddenly realize that HE DANCES LIKE A DORK and they will never ever ever be able to completely banish from their minds the searing visual of seeing him DANCING LIKE A DORK and their perceptions of him will forever be unfavorably altered and he will become unable to secure a mate or reproduce and people will think he's not cool and they will just generally realize that all the time he is just pretending to be a normal person but he isn't really and they will have to isolate him forever and he will never have any real freinds again ever.'

Okay, now weigh the consequences of this plausible scenario against the itsy bitsy teeny weeny inconvenience of having to look around all the time while you dance to make sure you are not doing anything that is too weird or unusual, and you will see why your Social Brain is so vigilant when you are out at a club. It's just common fucking sense!

And yet you are not happy with it. This is partly because you are not reasoning things through as carefully as your Social Brain is, but partly because there is another part of you that is thoughtfully contemplating a deeper issue. You're a human being, you already know by experience and observation that the world is unsafe and that Other People are a major reason why. And this has part of you pondering the twin profound mysteries of Love and Safety. This part of you is saying to itself 'Other People are allowed to laugh and dance and sing with uninhibited joy, it is not unsafe for them to do so. This must be because they are loved. I am not allowed to do these things. That must mean I am unsafe and unloved. What a bummer! Shit! Life sucks. This is fucking terrible. Fuck! It's fucking unfair! How come Other People get to be all fucking safe and loved and just laugh whenever they fucking feel like it and I never get to. Could it be because everyone else is normal and I am not. Damn! I fucking knew it. Shit, this is fucking terrible. I must become more normal immediately and start fucking laughing! Boisterously! That'll show 'em. Fuck, I fucking hate being in this prison of not being normal and having to fucking watch myself all the time. I can't fucking stand it. I'm going to go crazy. I am in constant fucking danger due to the not normal factor and I'm either going to fucking blow or die! I must do something! This is a terrible problem. I will never achieve sustainable Love and Safety this way. Shit! Fuck! What am I going to fucking do? I have no idea! I'm screwed!' And so on.

So it was your deeply philosophical Love and Safety Brain that wrote in to the website while your Social Brain wasn't looking. Which is annoying to your Social Brain because it would have been perfectly content if it never had to hear your laugh or sing again. This is why your Love and Safety Brain is convinced your life will improve and you will gain not only enhanced enjoyment but also enhanced security if you could just somehow manage to laugh loudly almost as if you were actually a Safe and Loved Person like everyone else. So your Love and Safety Brain is just having a little argument with your Social Brain about the relative safety or danger of a few common social behaviors. That's it, that's all, just a little argument. It has been hard for them to resolve because they haven't been arguing on the same level. Your Social Brain think it's unsafe for you to dance in public and your Love and Safety Brain think it's unsafe for you not to.

Fair enough. So now that we know what the argument is, we'll give you a few options for resolving it. One is sure to fit your style! They'll be easy to implement! No, wait a minute, they'll be hard to implement. But you've got a problem, so we'll give you the chance, once you've looked at the options, to decide whether it's worth your while to solve it or not. Good luck!


Okay, you didn't really want to know why you're inhibited, you just wanted to know how not to be.....


Social Inhibition Mechanism

Why Do Asshole Guys Get All the Chicks

How Fucked Am I? A Handy Interactive Self-Quiz

Too Shy To Meet Girls


Fed Up and Fucked Up

My Job Is Hell


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