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Do I Have Social Anxiety?

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From Australia: I’ve had trouble making friends for a long time. At 53, people are simply too busy to admit new people into their lives. And my partner doesn’t want to come out out socialise with me and build a community together, so I get hassled a lot about why he doesn’t come with me. Then as there’s not many people to go out with. I don’t do as much and feel that compounds the situations as I didn’t have as many activities to talk about and thus feel I come across as boring.

I’ve been tested for but don’t have a personality disorder. I also don’t have biochemical depression.

Very recently it’s been suggested I could have social anxiety, however I do get out and socialise, try to come into contact with as many people as possible to build friendships. Hence I’m wondering if it’s developed due to many mainly unsuccessful attempts to meet people and develop friendships. In that case how would it be treated.

Do I Have Social Anxiety?

Answered by on -

A.

I hesitate to support a diagnosis of social anxiety. It sounds to me like you are discouraged.

You are certainly not alone in your situation. The older we get, the harder it can seem to make new friends. People do have established circles of friends. Those with adult children are often wrapped up with the grandkids. It’s not likely that you will meet new people as you once did through your job or through your children. Complicating things further is that you have a partner who is happy with you as his only real friend.

But please don’t give up. You can find new and interesting people to spend time with. The solution is to find an activity that you feel passionate about. It could be a political issue, a charity, a sport, a theater group or bird-watching — as only a few examples. It doesn’t matter as long as it is an activity that attracts other passionate people.

Get involved. Focus on making a contribution. By working together, you will get to know other people who share your interests. Putting your energy into making a difference takes the pressure off the longing for friends. And — you know what? — Friendships get made that way.

Please don’t let your partner’s contentment with staying home stop you from going out. If anyone is tactless enough to hassle you, simply tell them that “oh, he’s a homebody” and change the subject. You are not required to be attached to him with velcro. If you are comfortable with yourself, other people will let it go.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Do I Have Social Anxiety?

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Do I Have Social Anxiety?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 11, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2015/10/06/do-i-have-social-anxiety-2/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.