The Truth About Social Anxiety

I appear to be a confident and extremely social person. I am loud, I am good at filling dead space in a conversation and I like to engage with people. To an outsider, they'd never imagine I tend to get a little anxious in social settings.

I didn't notice this about myself until recently. Just a few days ago, a fellow momma from one of my FaceBook groups reached out to see if anyone else shared in these circumstances and at that moment it hit me - I too experience social anxiety! We have moved a few times over the past 5 years and finding my footing in a new community has proven to be really hard work. I have talked myself out of going to events, bible studies, play dates, dinners - you name it and I have likely bailed on it. I would love to make new friends and begin establishing lasting friendships for my family and myself but it often seems like a chore rather then an exciting adventure.

In my youth I seemed to feel pretty at ease in social settings but somewhere along the way that shifted for me. It's hard making new friends. It's hard finding that sweet spot when it comes to how much you share and when you share your story, your beliefs, your desires, or even your hopes and dreams. And this isn’t solely a woman’s issue; I’ve met many men who struggle with putting themselves out there and the discomfort in doing so. The idle small talk that leaves both men and women feeling as though they may be judged by their job, the type of car they drive, where they live and how much money they make can push anyone to just opt-out of trying to make new friends.

The truth is, navigating the social scene can be a bit daunting. We have a lot at stake because we are social beings and we want to feel like we belong. While there have been times that I have left social gatherings feeling hurt or disappointed, I try to remember those times that I actually felt included and at ease. I try to remember that I am more then likely not alone, that there are most definitely other women who are probably anxious and struggling just like me.

So when I am invited to attend an event or something outside of my comfort zone I just say a little prayer and ask for guidance. I try to reminisce on past events where I had a great time, made a new friend or even had a good laugh. And if I bail because I just didn’t have it in me to follow through, I give myself grace and try again next time.

If you're reading this post and you cannot relate to this type of anxious or out-of-place feeling then you are truly blessed. My prayer would be that you’d seek that one young women or older lady among you that appears to be struggling and strike up a conversation. Just that small gesture will be such a blessing to that person who feels out of place.