I Worry About What Others Think of Me

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I feel fine when alone. I’m confident and do my chores at home watch Television.. listen to radio, water my plants, read books,..
But as soon as i step out of my house it feels as if im being watched by all these people around me.. they think im wrong.. im not a nice person..
It sort of haunts me..
I have a few friends and i try a lot to keep them as my friends.
Helping them out by going out of my way.. staying outside home even after curfew time so that i can help them with their projects..
And even if im busy working in the office and my friends want some help be it of a small nature.. i keep my work aside and help them out first..
I let people say what they want about me. i feel very scared of being misjudged..
And that’s what happens sometimes.. or may be all the time.. I don’t know how to stop worrying and get back my confidence..

A: The feelings you describe often go with social anxiety disorder. People with this disorder are anxious about being with people because they have an irrational fear that they are being constantly judged by others. In your case, you avoid people you don’t know and stave off your worries about people you do know by being overly responsive and self-sacrificing. It’s as if you don’t trust that your friends like you for who you are, not just for everything you can do for them. It’s very painful.

The good news is that cognitive behavior therapy has been found to be especially effective in helping people get more comfortable with the social world. Generally, such therapy is short term, lasting only 3 – 4 months of weekly sessions. Analytic type therapies, on the other hand, are often not helpful because they tend to set off even more obsessive thinking.

I encourage you to find a cognitive-behavioral therapist to help you get past these feelings so you can be relaxed with people. If you can’t do that, there are self-help books on the subject. I was also able to locate several online support groups for people who experience social phobia by doing a simple search on the Internet.

You seem like a very nice person. I hope you will follow through and get some kind of treatment so that you can have more fun and be less stressed when you are around others.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Feb 2011

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2011). I Worry About What Others Think of Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/02/07/i-worry-about-what-others-think-of-me/