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How to Make Friends with Social Anxiety

July 4, 2024 Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

When you experience social anxiety, it can be challenging to make friends. This can also lead to difficulty in life because, as indicated by research, social connections are important for one's overall wellbeing.1 However, you can make friends even with social anxiety.

So, what are some ways to make friends with social anxiety? As someone who has been socially anxious for quite some time, I've had to learn how to interact with others in social situations. This was extremely hard for me when I was much younger, especially because I was naturally shy, along with being a natural introvert. I preferred to be by myself most of the time rather than being around others. But, because the importance of social support did not escape me, I knew that this was an anxiety trigger that I would need to confront eventually.

What It Feels Like to Be Socially Anxious

As I learned the importance of having a strong support system, and of having social connections, I knew I needed to step outside of my comfort zone. But this is particularly difficult when doing so means that you'll experience the discomfort of anxiety. And this anxiety was associated with simply being in social situations.

Being naturally shy, introverted, and socially anxious has led to extreme discomfort when I am around others. In any situation that required me to interact with people, whether it was one person or more than one person, I'd lack confidence in myself and would find it hard to focus. I would fear that anything I would say or do would be judged or criticized by whomever I was around. Furthermore, physically, I would start sweating, sometimes blushing, and I would even sometimes find myself shaking. Sometimes, the overall fear that I would experience would be so overwhelming that I would try to find a way out of the situation.

I've Learned to Make Friends Even Through Social Anxiety

These emotions and behaviors would make it difficult to function in a social situation, so I would find that I had a hard time making friends. If I had the opportunity to make a connection with someone, I would find an excuse not to contact them. So, without putting forth effort, this can result in not sustaining connections.

However, as I've learned the significance of having social connections and since forming friendships with certain people who are important to me throughout life, I've learned strategies that are helpful for me when making friends with social anxiety.

First of all, I've found it beneficial to ease my way into social situations. For example, I will test out what is comfortable to me, and when I find myself in a comfortable environment that involves other people, I will be mindful of this because similar environments may also be comfortable in the future. This self-awareness has been key in identifying my anxiety triggers.

Additionally, I socialize with those I feel I can be myself around. This includes like-minded, positive, and supportive people. But I also take small steps when meeting people so that I can test the waters and ensure that they are people I feel relaxed around. Taking those small steps is key because if I take steps that are too large, it can be triggering.

Lastly, I have found it important to work on my self-esteem through accomplishing goals and celebrating every accomplishment, small or large. I've found that building my confidence and self-esteem is a key factor in my comfort level around others. This helps reduce the fear and anxiety that I typically feel when interacting with others.

Do you experience social anxiety? If so, how do you make friends? Share your strategies in the comments below.

Source

  1. Regan, A., Radošić, N., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2022). Experimental effects of social behavior on wellbeing. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 26(11), 987–998. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2022.08.006

APA Reference
Bermio-Gonzalez, R. (2024, July 4). How to Make Friends with Social Anxiety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/treatinganxiety/2024/7/how-to-make-friends-with-social-anxiety



Author: Rizza Bermio-Gonzalez

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