Having friends is making me anxious
January 15, 2017 4:36 PM   Subscribe

I had social anxiety for a long time which meant I didn't really make any new close friends for the better part of a decade. I started a Master's course last year where I formed some real friendships, pretty much for the first time since secondary school. Now I can't stop convincing myself that my new friends don't like me anymore.

Today I met a friend for coffee, we had a really good time, and we made plans to meet again on Wednesday. Ever since I've been mildly anxious that she'll cancel our plans because I said something wrong and we'll never see each other again. She hasn't given me any reason to think this, and there isn't even anything specific that I regret saying. Intellectually I know that I have no reason to be anxious and that friendships aren't that fragile, but the anxiety is there anyway. This happens pretty much every time we see each other. We'll probably have a good time again on Wednesday, and I'll be mildly anxious again for the rest of the day. Does anyone else experience this? Is there anything I can do to stop driving myself crazy?
posted by Chenko to Human Relations (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Are you working on your social anxiety with a therapist and/or pdoc?
posted by k8t at 4:37 PM on January 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have in the past but I'm not currently seeing anyone.
posted by Chenko at 4:42 PM on January 15, 2017

What stopped this for me, after years and years of trying everything else, was Zoloft. YMMV, consult a physician.
posted by cooker girl at 4:53 PM on January 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Does your friend know you get anxious? Ask her for reassurance. Maybe she'd write you a little card to tuck in your wallet, like "Hey Chenko! We're pals for real, don't you forget it." It's OK to ask for confirmation that your fears aren't true. (In therapyspeak, an "affirmation.") It's also OK just to sit gently with the anxiety and let it fade out. Sometimes there's no quick fix.

Give the Mammalian Diving Reflex a shot, or go for a run. Engage and distract.
posted by fritillary at 4:56 PM on January 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Tell yourself, "This is just a symptom of my social anxiety and it's not the truth. " And then go see a therapist and/or a doctor.
posted by ilovewinter at 5:13 PM on January 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Are you single and are you attracted to this person? Because for me that was often a factor in anxiety early in friendships.

It would go away eventually once I either sorted out the romantic/platonic thing with them or decided in my own head that I would not want to date them.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:48 PM on January 15, 2017

This is all your anxiety talking. Please go back to therapy for this. I recommend someone who does CBT because your brain is misleading you. Feeling Good could also be a good read for you.
posted by Kalmya at 7:31 PM on January 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Does this response happen with just this one person in particular or all your new friends?
posted by cotton dress sock at 8:52 PM on January 15, 2017

Classic social anxiety. I don't want to be a buzzkill, but probably don't mention this to your new friend quite yet. Get some help from a doctor or therapist.
posted by ryanbryan at 3:05 AM on January 16, 2017

Does this response happen with just this one person in particular or all your new friends?

It happens most often with her, but I get it with other people too sometimes.
posted by Chenko at 7:23 AM on January 16, 2017

While I wouldn't tell your friend that you're worried she hates you, a lower-key "I'm so stressed out lately" or "moving to a new town has been exhausting" (or whatever is true for you but not personally about them) is probably something friends from your program will get and commiserate on, and getting it out there will help you show yourself that your friends really do like you.

If it's mostly one person, ask why. Does she remind you of someone intimidating? Are you just not a great match personality-wise? Does some of her behavior make you uncomfortable? You don't have to be friends with everyone.
posted by momus_window at 8:35 AM on January 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

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