You Are Not Alone in Your Social Anxiety

Man stands alone in a field.
Loneliness is subjective. Getty / John Lund

Having social anxiety can leave you feeling alone. Particularly when the holidays roll around, you may find yourself wistfully wishing that you had done better to overcome your fears—so that you have some friends with whom to pass the time. Or, perhaps you are an introvert who craves the alone time, but still doesn't like feeling isolated.

Guess what? You are not alone in your social anxiety.

Yes it might feel that way.

It might feel like there is an invisible wall that is dividing you from everyone else on the planet. Like you are looking out at a world that is right in front of you but so far out of your reach it's not funny.

Anyone who has dealt with serious social anxiety knows what that feels like.

But that doesn't mean you are alone. On the contrary, you are only alone if you choose to be.

What do I mean?

Are there five people that you could call right now if you really had the courage? Are there five people to whom you could send a text? Five people you could email? Five people to whom you could write a letter? Five people who would welcome a smile and a hello?


Are there four people, three people, two people, or is there at least one person to whom you could reach out the next time you feel lonely? Who is that person?

That person might be your mother, father, sister, brother, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, husband, wife, child, teacher, grandparent, grandchild, neighbor, classmate, coworker.

Your childhood friend, Facebook friend, friend-of-a-friend, church pastor, sunday school teacher, hairdresser, coffee barista, mailman... you get the picture.

I feel like Dr. Seuss.

The point is that you probably have many more connections (family, friends and acquaintances) in your life than you realize.

There is no reason to feel alone. You are not alone.

More than likely, what you actually feel is "lonely."

You feel lonely because out of all of those people, you can't think of one with whom you would feel genuinely comfortable. Feel okay being yourself and relaxed enough to enjoy the company.

But that's not being alone. That's being lonely because of your fear.

And there is something you can do about that.

So the next time you feel like that invisible wall between you and everyone else is insurmountably high, remember that it's just an illusion. There is no wall, and you are not alone. Lonely, but not alone.

Your mother, father, sister, brother, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, husband, wife, child, teacher, grandparent, grandchild, neighbor, classmate, coworker.. they are all waiting to be your friend.

Social anxiety is keeping you from feeling less alone.

So take a first step toward moving beyond it. That might mean calling your doctor, it might mean reading self-help books—it might even mean going on medication.

It doesn't mean you are weak.

Will you do it? If not, why not? Are you afraid of failure? You have to fail at least a few times to see progress. So don't let that stop you.

Remember that all of those potential friends are just waiting for you to call, text, email, write, or just smile and say hello. Don't let them down.

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