Home » Ask the Therapist » I Can’t Talk to People

I Can’t Talk to People

Asked by on with 1 answer:

Hello! I know that there are a few questions in this topic, I browsed through them, but I didn’t seem to find one that applies well to me. I can’t talk to people properly except for a very few (my family and my best friend), I often fall silent and don’t speak for hours just sit and smile or communicate through facial expressions and touches and the likes.

I feel like my words have a personality, that they’re a community of little entities that would be hurt if I don’t use them correctly. I have a relationship with spoken words, however strange it seems even to me. It doesn’t apply to written word, I’ve been able to write, though in the past few weeks it seems to be harder than before. I’m quite scared that if I don’t do something I’ll stop talking altogether.

I’ve been trying to force myself in social situations and to force myself to talk, but I always end up just sitting in silence, either because I feel too dumb to say anything (and then I don’t use the words correctly, and they’d be hurt), or, in better cases, that I don’t have anything worthy to add, and I don’t want to use words just to fill the space. I feel like if I say something, it has to be important.

I don’t know what to do. I’ve had similar things happen to me all my life, I often have these episodes where something small becomes huge and I know it’s irrational, but this one is the worst of them all. I can’t talk to my friends at all, except for the one I live with. I’ve been called out on this in the last 5 months it’s been happening, and I feel guilty, too, because it hurts my friends, but I can’t tell them what’s going on. And I’m getting very worried that I won’t be able to shake it off.
Thank you for your help in advance!

I Can’t Talk to People

Answered by on -


Often, this kind of problem is actually the “solution” for another more hidden problem. If I were seeing you, I’d be looking for how losing your spoken voice helps you avoid or escape something that is painful to you. It might be helpful to trace when thinking your words were entities started. Something may have happened that makes it all make a kind of sense. We would then work on that.

I hope you will consider seeing a mental health counselor for some help with this. Your letter shows you to be a sensitive person who doesn’t want to hurt her friends and family. If you could have taken charge of the problem, you would have done so already. A few sessions with a skilled therapist may help you get to the root of the issue so you can have the kind of relationships you want and deserve.

I wish you well,
Dr. Marie

I Can’t Talk to People

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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). I Can’t Talk to People. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 19 Mar 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.