As someone who experiences social anxiety you can have the support and coaching/counseling you need to become less socially anxious, feel more relaxed around others, learn how to bring more people into your life as close friends, and find a partner.
Most people who experience social anxiety need help developing or better utilizing their social skills. This is primarily accomplished by taking small steps and small risks until you become more comfortable socially. It is important to remember that everyone is awkward socially in some situations but they simply get used to feeling that way. Social contact is awkward at times.
There is no way to avoid taking emotional risks when you are working on improving your social skills . Give yourself support, and seek out support from others as you do this. Be gentle with yourself. Take small steps. Get extra help (counseling) if you need it as you would for any other important area in your life.
Building Relationship Skills When You Have Social Anxiety
Sharing thoughts, feelings and needs is the best way to become emotionally close to someone.
Asking questions casually while you spend time together is the best way to get to know someone, but do not disclose a lot at a time especially in the beginning.
Here are some helpful ideas:
- Use “I” statements: I feel sad that I won’t be seeing you until next month instead of.. It’s hard for one to wait a month to see someone they are interested in… . I am happy that you came… vs. You know it’s nice when others show up when they are expected…
- Do not evade questions about yourself or joke about it or change the subject to something less personal.
- What are you doing…writing my biography?
- Is this psychotherapy 101?
Being Friends First is More Than a Cliche
Enjoying someone’s company and becoming relaxed around someone are very important aspects of intimacy.
- Don’t disclose prematurely — sometimes women do this. Don’t make “confessions” about your job, your ex-wife, your kids etc.
- “First strive to understand, then to be understood” – Stephen Covey
- Avoid criticism whenever possible/offer support first and suggestions later if requested: avoid advice unless it is asked for.
- Support: That must be awfully hard to do… .
- Advice: Have you ever thought of redoing the plumbing in your house. I know someone who does that type of work.
Relationship Search Action Plan
Counseling can help you with this action plan by supporting you, helping you stay focused, helping you increase your relationship knowledge and skills and work through relationship issues that may be in your way.
Please read the article In search of a Healthy Relationship: Relationship Search Tips for Singles first then complete the following:
1) Places or activities I will attend to meet new people:
2) Number of new people I will introduce myself to each time I go to places or activities.
3) Number of times per week I will commit to activities to meet new people.
4) Other interests I will explore in order to bring more people into my life
to have as friends and potential dating partners.