How To Make Friends When You Have Social Anxiety

I was diagnosed with social anxiety in middle school. Since then, I have never had any real friends, only people I talk to. Before that time, I did have a couple friends. After a while, we different apart. I have had a difficult time talking to people and feeling comfortable around other people to make new friends.

I am surrounded by people at work. I can have small talk with people sometimes if I feel like I have something to say. Even though I see them daily at work, I still don’t feel comfortable talking to them and keep to myself. There have been two guys I attempted being friends where things went bad. They have made it hard to trust other people as a good friend.

Somehow I got lucky and met my boyfriend at my job. Despite me being how I am, he is still in my life over three years later. He is always there for me when I need it fills the space I didn’t know I needed filled.

Since he got his new job in what he is going to school for, a guy I used to talked to started talking to me again. From time to time, we catch up with what is happening in our lives. He also started asking me to hang out. He never tried in the past.

He says he has social anxiety just like I do. There are situations when I am talking with him or messaging him on Skype on my work computer where he can act very strange. Aside from that, he is a good friend and I feel comfortable talking to him. When he asks me to hang out, I start feeling uncomfortable. Especially because his idea of fun is the opposite of mine.

I get shaky, sweaty and stiff. If I go to hang out with him, I know I would feel the same or worse. This got me thinking of ways I can get myself to feel comfortable enough to say yes and not experience anxiety when I am hanging out with him. Below is a list of ways I came up with.

Worry Stones

A worry stone can be a crystal that has a meaning you feel will help you. When you go out, you can keep in your pocket or purse. If at any moment you feel like your anxiety is too high, you can fidget with the crystal or just hold it. This is something I have been researching and looking to try.

Crystals don’t have any real energy. They are a placebo. This means they only work if you believe they have they have the energy to heal. This makes me hesitant to try them because I don’t believe they can heal me. Regardless ,I think they will work because it allows me to keep busy without using my phone. Having something to fidget with in my hands calms me.

If worry stones aren’t your thing, you can use other things. Anything you like to carry around that brings you comfort will work.

Location

The location you go to hangout matters just as much as what you are doing. This is why going to a bar to get drunk makes me not want to give hanging out with him a chance. There are too many people at a bar and I don’t like drinking.

I am the type of person that likes being somewhere quiet or doing something that doesn’t require me to interact the entire time. The first I went out with my boyfriend, we played video games and watched TV at my place. We didn’t talk a lot but we still had a good time. He doesn’t like going to places with a lot of people either.

We are just friends so I wouldn’t feel comfortable bringing him to my place like I did with my boyfriend. I would be okay going to a movie or eating at a quiet fast food restaurant or going on a walk with my puppy together. I would also be fine walking around the mall that I have been to many times.

Stepping Away

There is nothing wrong with needing to walk away to take a breather. For me, being around people and having anxiety symptoms can be exhausting and overwhelming. Sometimes the other options aren’t helpful.

You can say you need to step away for a minute or say you are going to the restroom. It is okay. Sometimes we just need alone time to get ourselves back together. I wish I was able to do this at work. I have many moments where I don’t feel okay. All it takes is one 3 minute conversation with one person to raise my anxiety and tire me out.

Small Steps

Taking little steps outside of your usual place of conversation can be a good way to get more comfortable with hanging out with a friend. I am used to only having conversations every so often at the place we both work. The idea of moving the friendship to outside of work worries me because it doesn’t workout well. I end up losing the friendship.

We are friends on Facebook. He says I could contact him on there if I decide to hang out with him. I haven’t done this yet because I am still scared to. For me, it is a big step.

Do you find it difficult to make friends?

14 thoughts on “How To Make Friends When You Have Social Anxiety

  1. It’s tough making real friends these days, with so much competition of life ‘stuff.’ (The kind of car you drive, the house you live in, etc.) And some are all about drama…which I am not. Anxiety is real and makes it hard at times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also have difficulty making new friends, especially moving around countries so much. And like you mentioned, it’s sometimes hard trusting people or they break your trust. I’ve been really bad this year at reaching out and trying to make more friends, will try more in 2020. And when you get older it’s even harder (workplace is not a good place for that).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is hard at the workplace. Too many people come and go. For a short time I did interact with other people but I don’t run into them anymore. I only occasionally see them. It is harder when you are older because everybody has their own life.

      My goal for next year is to hopefully make a friend I can go out with. This year, the one person I was going to hang out with moved back to New York.

      Like

  3. Great post!
    Making a true, good friend is hard. Making friends with all those people that are just really fakes is easy, but not fun or right.
    I’m in awe that you have a boyfriend that has lasted over 3 years. That’s so remarkable and I admire you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yes, absolutely. Part of it may be bc I’ve real steadfast values, but I already know enough jerks?? Lol. And I’d really prefer to have sOME people I feel safe and comfortable with. Interesting tips! Managing friendships or relationships is something I’m figuring out myself. It’s so weird! I feel like it’s totally appropriate to be able to grow out or apart but it also feels like you’re kind of going through people? Or is that anxiety brain? 😅

    Liked by 1 person

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