Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions!
I know that this is certainly a thing that comes with confidence. Yossarian, I can imagine myself really using those tips that you gave me. Any small tricks that you can use to 'fool' your mind into being confident has to help!
Actually, for me, since I didn't expect so many replies, I'm facing one of my biggest problems right now in this very thread - there are so many things that can be said, I don't know where to start! And because everyone has made such nice comments, I feel this need to address everything!
That's the main problem I'm facing when I'm in a group situation - that it's difficult for me to make that shift into making general statements and comments and telling anecdotes, rather than asking a lot of questions as I would when I'm talking to someone alone. What's happened recently, as I've become even more
shy, is I'm analysing the why a lot more, as I'm thinking: "why do I feel the need to talk - why should I?" I'm completely immersed in my own head in times like these.
Without someone who is expecting a direct response or something, I'm very keen to slip away from the spotlight - too keen, and I'm becoming more and more scared of it each time I'm in that sort of situation.
I agree with what most people have said - that forumming isn't really the same as talking in 'real life', but it is a good source of advice and support, as I've found out!