Scared Of Making Friends? Tips To Make Friends When Struggling With Social Anxiety
Friendships are a big part of our lives but when you’re a teenager or a young adult making friends can be a challenging task. Friends make our daily lives fun and interesting. Many of our favorite memories are made alongside our friends, after all.
College students and young adults struggle more with making friends than adults do. To many youngsters, making friends comes as easy as breathing but there are others, a small fraction, that struggle with creating connections, forming friendships, and interacting with others.
This fear of making friends can be debilitating and scary to many people. This anxiety and phobia of meeting new people and creating connections can be categorized as social anxiety.
If you’re struggling with social anxiety disorder, it may be easier for you to avoid making friends, however, in many studies, it was concluded that people with friends tend to live longer and have healthier lives than those who don’t. With friends near us, we are more likely to cope with difficult situations too.
Below are some tips to help you make friends in college (or outside of it) if you’re struggling with social anxiety.
6 Steps On How To Make Friends
1. Before you go on to make new friends, it is always good to know yourself first. The more you know about yourself – what you like, what your passions are, what makes you comfortable – you’ll find yourself able to open up to like-minded people.
2. The second thing to do when making friends is to find people who share similar interests as you. Is there a group you can join where you can meet people with similar interests? Is there someone in your class or workgroup whose interests are similar to yours? If there is someone like that, you can ask them to join you for coffee or lunch. Start small.
3. If someone reaches out to you, do not hesitate to ask them for their contact information. It is always better to have a way you can reach out to them when you need their company.
4. The next step is crucial when it comes to making new friends. If someone offers an invitation or makes plans with you, do your best to not turn them down. Social settings may seem challenging but if a potential friend is inviting you, say yes. Be patient, though. It can take up to more than a week before a friendship can form.
5. Don’t always wait for the other person to make plans. The next step when making friends is to never set expectations on the other person. Making plans when you have social anxiety may seem daunting at first but it is important to let the potential friend know that you are interested in getting to know them too.
6. Once you’re acquainted with the other person, the next step is to stay in touch with them. Make sure you include them when you’re going out and making plans.
7 Tips On What To Do After You’ve Made Friends
Here are some tips you should keep in mind when your social anxiety comes up after you’ve made friends:
1. Be You
One of the simplest things to do but the most difficult as well. Some people pretend to be someone they are not to keep a friendship. Later, maintaining a friendship can become difficult if you’re not your true self. Stay true to yourself and with your interests. If others are genuinely interested in being your friend, they’ll appreciate you. If they don’t, it is better now to step away from them.
Being honest with yourself and with others is an important part of friendship.
2. Accept That You Need To Leave Your Comfort Zone
Now that you’ve made a friend, you’re going to need to make plans and follow through with them. Now is the best time to accept that you’re going to have to leave your comfort zone at one point. You can’t make genuine connections with others if you’re scrolling on social media alone. It’s okay to put yourself out there if you’re keen on meeting new people.
Attend an event or join a club. Do something that challenges you.
3. You Can’t Be Friends With All
I understand that it’s amazing to have many friends but you also need to understand that you can’t befriend everyone. Many people may have different interests than you and there may be people who don’t like you and vice-versa. It’s okay! Here, you need to focus on quality, not quantity. It’s completely okay if you don’t make friends with everyone.
Don’t let others’ attitudes and behavior discourage you from making friends. Remember, all good things take time.
4. Be Realistic
If you’re struggling with social anxiety or any other kind of anxiety, it’s okay to be real and not hide it from your friends. In fact, it is suggested that you open up about your struggles. This way you’ll form even deeper connections with others. Once you open up about your struggle, it’ll motivate others to open up about theirs.
Remember, there’s nothing wrong with accepting your struggles. Having anxiety is not something you should be ashamed of or hide. There is a possibility that others are feeling the same way. You may not be alone in your struggles.
5. You Can’t Please Everyone
One of the most important things you need to understand is that you cannot please everyone. There will be times where you would want everyone around you to like you and in making efforts to please everyone, it will drain you of your energy and leave you feeling mentally exhausted.
You don’t have to lie about your values to make others happy. You don’t have to say ‘yes’ to every party you’re invited to. Socializing too much can also leave you feeling emotionally burned out, especially if you’re an introvert.
6. Ask Counsel If Necessary
If you feel your anxiety is getting in the way of you enjoying your college life or otherwise, it is always best to seek counsel. If your college has a counseling center, you can go there and ask for help. If not, you can always contact a therapist on these online therapy platforms. A therapist can help you form a plan and come up with effective coping strategies to deal with your anxiety.
7. Don’t Ignore ‘Me Time’
With all of that said, it is important to remember to take some alone time. ‘Me time’ is as important as spending time with friends. If you feel you’re socially burned out, take some time alone to care for yourself. Take a break, reconnect with yourself, do what makes you happy.
If you’re not taking care of yourself, how will you take care of your friendships?
Friends Are Important…
“A friend is one of the best things you can be and the greatest things you can have.” — Sarah Valdez
Dealing with social anxiety is never easy and it can be even more challenging when you’re a college student trying to make new friends. Remember, building friendships takes time and mutual effort.
Scared of making friends? I hope the above-mentioned tips help you know how to make friends in college and outside when struggling with social anxiety.
We’re here to help you!
Lots of Love!