Making Friends When You Have Social Anxiety
Positive social relationships are related to increased happiness and health. However, if you suffer from social anxiety, establishing relationships can be a significant challenge. Individuals with social anxiety worry that that they are being negatively judged by others and typically feel like they ‘don’t fit in’. This can result in an avoidance of social situations which further fuels feelings of isolation.
Indicators of social anxiety:
• You feel people are judging or evaluating you in social situations
• Physical symptoms of anxiety in social situations (flushed cheeks, trembling voice, stomachaches, shaking)
• Difficulty expressing your opinions
• Difficulty meeting new people
• Significant fear of doing or saying something embarrassing
• Fear of being the center of attention
• Difficulty approaching people or joining in conversations
• Self-criticism after engaging in social situations
• Avoidance of social situations
Social anxiety is not a choice and it can be extremely debilitating. If you experience any of the indicators above you may benefit from working a psychologist who specializes in anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure work can help you reframe your thinking process and learn effective tools for managing distress. Stay tuned for my next blog on social communication strategies.