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Topic: How do I make friends when I’m scared of people?

3 posts, 0 answered
  1. Mummeee
    Mummeee avatar
    2 posts
    5 April 2021

    I am a people person. I love interacting with people - it fills my cup and completes me. When I’m at work and clients are funnelled my way, I love having a positive, sociable interaction.

    But in my personal life......

    When I first had my kids I joined all the groups and circles etc., and tried to build a good support network. We all supported each other and I loved them and felt part of something. Now our kids are almost all at school, my friends are moving away and going back to work full time (I’m not as this doesn’t work for our family).
    I wanted to throw myself into the school-mum scene but...I’ve changed. I feel different to everyone. I feel utterly alone.

    I want to talk to people...but I am too scared. I play out saying a simple “hi” to other mums all morning, then drop off time comes and I crumple. If I do get talking to anyone, I spend days afterwards replying the conversation to check I didn’t say anything stupid. I have my husband check any texts I send to make sure I don’t sound ridiculous.
    We moved house and I couldn’t bring myself to go and meet the neighbours. The first time they came to talk to me was about a complaint they had and now I’m terrified to talk to them again “in case I do anything else wrong”.

    My anxiety is not (usually) a physical thing that I feel - it’s a cognitive thing. I think and I think and I replay and plan. I am so tired of thinking and hearing the sound of my own voice analyse everything I ever do.

    Now school holidays are here, my kids want friends over and I’m too anxious to message any of the mums in case I embarrass myself. I don’t want my kids’ social life to suffer because of me.

    How can I make friends and have a social circle again? It doesn’t help that there aren’t a lot of SAHM/majority-SAHM’s around to stop buy for a casual cup of tea - everyone’s too busy.

    I admit, there’s a practical handicap, here, too - not having anyone to ask for favours/babysitting/help. If someone asked me to help them with their kids/weed their garden/clean out their garage, I’d be there in a second. But no one asks me, so I couldn’t possibly ask anyone else.

    How do I meet people again and have friends?

  2. james1
    Community Champion
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    james1 avatar
    2945 posts
    5 April 2021 in reply to Mummeee

    Hey Mummeee,

    Welcome! It's nice to meet you here.

    I'm really sorry to hear you feel utterly alone, yet too anxious to meet new people.

    I'm just 29 and have really noticed that making lasting friends gets increasingly hard the older I get. Quite a few people at work seem to get most of their socialising from work, with only a handful of other friendships outside of work - so I can really understand how you might find that even harder, not being at work.

    In my own experience, social anxiety is something that can compound on itself - the less we socialise, the more anxious we get, etc.

    Do you get anxious with speaking to cashiers or the person at your local coffee shop about how their/your day is going?

    That can often be a good place to get the ball rolling with just a person you can get on a name-basis with, even if not a 'true' friendship.

    Otherwise, clubs or interest groups can be really good, as long as it's something you really enjoy. I am part of a couple of book clubs, and I used to be part of a board game group. Again, I don't know if I'd call them proper friends, but it all helps me have a better social life, and I could meet a good friend there if I'm lucky.


  3. geoff
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15268 posts
    5 April 2021 in reply to Mummeee

    Hello Mummeee, and a warm welcome to the site and realise that making new friends may hinch on your previous friendship's with other people and what may have been in times that were very unfortunate for you and it's easy to carry memories from previous events onto your current situation, but everyone is different, they have their own feelings, hobbies, which party in government they vote for, but this doesn't mean you can't make friends with them and remember they could be in exactly the same position as you are.

    If you hesitate, they too may have some fears, doubts and misgivings, that’s only called being human and even the most popular person still has fears that another person will join them.

    Get your kids to ask one of their friends if they want to come over, that's important for them, just as it is for you, then you can have a brief conversation with their friend just to see how and what their parents like doing.

    It's a gradual way to make friends and when they come to pick up their child, have a brief talk with them and if you feel comfortable make a cup of coffee, take your time and there is no need to rush this to happen, plus they may have a child appropriate to babysit.

    If you are suffering from social anxiety, please taught with your doctor.

    Best wishes.


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