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Social anxiety

  • 03-07-2020 1:28pm
    Registered Users Posts: 166,026 ✭✭✭✭

    Hi. I'm in my mid 30s, male and I'm single.

    All my friends have gotten married in the last few years and now are starting to have kids. I'm single and have social anxiety. I have always had it but I don't know if people know, maybe I'm too good at covering it up. I find most social interactions difficult and very wearing. If I am going to meet friends, I worry about it beforehand. While I would probably enjoy being with them, afterwards I am spent. I know I wouldn't be able to handle a relationship because of this, I much prefer my own company. I think my friends are starting to view me as a bit of a weirdo, as they never see me in a relationship.

    I'm working from home at the moment and really enjoying the peace. I make my trip to the supermarket every couple of days or home to my parents, but other than that, I'm more than happy to stay at home and potter around. I worry though about life getting harder as I get older. While I'm still young now, I know that I would hate to be alone when older. Even meeting friends now when they have very young kids, they will become busier and busier over the years and I don't think people will be wanting to meet up when we're all in our mid 40s or 50s.

    I don't know why I'm writing this, I feel like even though I'm fine with how I am, there is a big expectation on getting married, having kids, etc. and I worry that I am making a mistake or taking the easy option by staying alone.


  • Registered Users Posts: 190 ✭✭Dog day

    Hi OP, firstly let me say I think being content in ones own company is a real strength & something to be admired & embraced. Balancing this with spending quality time with those you really enjoy being with is key.

    You’re clearly able to connect with others & form solid friendships though you may need to find ways to address dealing with the anxiety this causes you when meeting friends. Good friends won’t think you’re a weirdo for never being in a relationship, quality friendships don’t involve judgement so don’t worry about that!

    Do you find your anxiety increases depending on the activity involved? For example do you tend to be less anxious when meeting friends for coffee or meeting to play a sport etc? Try to make arrangements where you’re enjoying the context of the meet ups.

    Secondly would you actually like a relationship? There’s no rule that says you have to find a partner & have kids to be content & happy, that’s just a societal construct & not for everybody. Some of the most content people I know are single & childless.

    Thirdly try to reposition your view of time alone, it’s wonderful that you’re content in your own company. I actively carve out time alone, I treasure it!

    Lastly if you think it may help to talk through your social anxiety with a good counsellor it may give you some comfort, answers & coping mechanisms.

    Hope some of this helps.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,702 ✭✭✭zoobizoo

    Hey OP,

    From your post, it sounds a bit like introversion more so than social anxiety. You say that you feel anxious before meeting friends - what exactly about meeting them makes you anxious?

    I've suffered from social anxiety since my teens (where it was bad), early 20s (where it was awful) but feel it much less so now in my 40s. None of my friends would have twigged that I had it.

    I've managed throughout my 20s, 30s and 40s to have relationships, friendships, set up my own business where I was interacting with the public and I'm now married with kids....

    It's great that you are fine with how you are, as long as you are living the life you want to lead.

    There are many people on the same wavelength as you who like their own company. Life can be a bit more complicated when you are in a relationship but if and when you find the right person for you, it can be far more enjoyable.

    Don't worry about what others think - that's the key to overcoming Social Anxiety.