hi, I’m 30 years old and I do not have a girlfriend. when I go down the street and see a beautiful girl, then I immediately feel sad and bad at heart. it comes from the fact that I can not approach her and talk to her. but I’m a man and Physiological to me hard without a girl, but at the same time when I see a beautiful girl, I have anxiety, fear, my heart starts to pound. I’m even afraid to look at them, it’s uncomfortable for me to stare at them somehow. What can you advise?
I am 52 and have the same problem, the only thing that helps is Scripture.
I’d advise first working to overcome social anxiety, and that’s what Dr. Richards has said in the groups.
A quick look at the most popular thread on this forum: “So anxious around the opposite sex? ugh why? please anyone help?” with almost 30,000 views.
So, there you go! Yep, we all want relationships, well most of us. And that’s a natural thing. I should point out, relationships here, any kind, doesn’t matter your sexual orientation although the original poster used the phrase “opposite sex” I think we can easily spread this to any kind of romantic relationship.
So yes, we all want relationships in our lives, right? And social anxiety affects that tremendously. A relationship involves every part of life - acceptance, confidence, the ability to communicate, assertion, … … . I mean the real question might be, what DOESN’T a relationship touch on in life? So then obviously if you have social anxiety disorder, it’s going to be hard to have a healthy relationship. And for men here, as culture and society often require the man to take the initiative, social anxiety can really affect you in this area. I don’t want to downplay the frustrations women also have in the relationship area, dealing with social anxiety. Quite often, though, this is a huge sore spot for men on the forum and in our groups.
So, we don’t really want to push off having relationships. There’s such a natural desire for them. You can’t just turn that desire off. And there’s usually a question here, what can I do? What do I do about getting a girl/boy friend? Why not get yourself into a better position to be able to deal with and handle a relationship before getting all balled up about not having one? Work on overcoming social anxiety first. Work on the therapy. Then open yourself up to dating. Yes, the dating won’t be perfect or easy at first, but SURPRISE - it’s not easy for anyone. That’s life. But when you’re struggling with social anxiety, the relationship you are running after and might catch will also involve all these SA problems you’re dealing with. Get to a place where you are emotionally and mentally healthier to be able to at least face the normal challenges of a relationship.
I’m not telling you to postpone your life forever. Just don’t get all worked up on this one point. Don’t hate yourself because you define it that way, a single person. Do the therapy, and the skills you gain there will help you better navigate dating and better handle healthy human communication that is necessary for any healthy human relationship.
Advice for just dating or relationships that doesn’t involve first dealing with social anxiety is, in my opinion, not very helpful.
Thank you very much Mateo for your answer. I definitely will follow your advice and first I will deal with my anxiety. I will try not to think about girlfriend and to concentrate on reading the handout.
Work on the audio series and handouts. Every Day ! You’re a great person with a great personality with much to offer. There are many wonderful and caring single women who would love to meet and get to know you. Once you feel more calm in your body and you learn to slow down your thoughts, everything that is great about you will shine through. I know, because I was in the same place as you. After many false starts, I made a commitment to Dr. Richards program(in 2000 and again in 2016) and have made progress socially and professionally I never would have believed possible. Just remember, It’s a process. Not one that will take very long if you just try every day, a little bit. Soon you will be meeting new people,using dating apps, and making the kind of meaningful connections SA had interfered with so painfully. Soon, you will feel comfortable with a girl and tell her about your SA struggles and she will accept you and cheer you and tell you that you seem fine and she’d never know unless you told her .
Thankyou Jay. Your words give me inspiration . Actually I already start feel better and noticed the changes. The book really help.
It’s tough. I used to just seize up talking to women if there was any hint of chemistry between us, in any situation. I have no advice to give unfortunately but I know the pain of not being able to speak to women. I wanted to speak but nothing came out. You’re not alone.
Somehow, this part is so important for everyone but it is not specifically addressed in therapy series.
I believe it should get more attention. I have n idea how, though…
Don’t you think so?
thank you John for your support.
Yes, I was also surprised. why there was nothing about the relationship, because it is such an important topic. But I think the relationships themselves are complex. And if you also have a socialanxiety, this complicates everything. Probably because of this it is difficult to advise something
I am a 25-year-old woman with the same problem. Maybe we could PM each other. I am on Facebook. Lauren Connors in Colorado. (I’m the one with the pony in the pictures.)
Just approach women like you approach your girl cousins or sisters. Get comfortable with them but don’t give them the signal that you want to fall in the bro-zone.
And then, start dating.
The thing is - it is already in the series - it is just not called out in black and white. The same strategies you would use to calm down and think rationally for a presentation are the same strategies you would use when it comes to dating and relationships. However, dating and relationships are at the harder end of the spectrum, so it is better to work on the things you can in your life at the moment (presentations, making friends, and such) and just focus on living in the moment, enjoying yourself, and the dating and relationships part will come with time. It is paradoxical - the more you try and make it happen, the further away you get, so…just live your life. Eat ice cream. I know it is easier said than done, but it is also true. I need to remind myself this a lot.
How not to get in bro-zone? Should i tell, that i like her?
thank you, probably you a right. i should live my life in peace and not to concentrate too much about girls. try to make friends and overcome anxiety
I am absolutely not experienced in overcoming the fear but know exactly what you mean as I was lucky to meet my now wife during a good period (I have co-morbid social anxiety and bipolar, it just happened when I went through a rare period of neither). Prior to that I just couldn’t do it.
May I suggest watching Hannah Fry’s TED talks on the subject?
From what I have heard and gather, it may be a good idea to put a profile on a dating website where you specifically draw attention to your social anxiety. This will do 2 things - firstly signal that you are looking for a romantic relationship and set out from the outset that you don’t want to be in the “bro-zone”, and secondly, the other person will know that you have social anxiety. If that puts them off, that’s their loss. If it doesn’t, you will already have a person who understands that your anxiety is not down to them and that your interactions may be awkward to begin with. But it gets better.
I feel safe discussing this with the relative anonymity of hiding behind a username, but I was a virgin until I was 21 (when I met my now wife), primarily because I didn’t feel worthy of the attention and feared that I would be humiliated. I was terrified of what might happen and despite getting on well with some women to the point where they wanted a romantic relationship, as soon as they signalled such I would disappear into my shell. I, of course, couldn’t approach women but I just spoke to and got to know women. Not easy when you have social anxiety.
Hey John, I’m 31 and have/have had those exact feelings. Seeing happy young couples will often generate that strong feeling too.
I was in a relationship a few months ago, and the SA seemed to be 50% as bad. My gf was incredibly supportive and patient with the SA and that helped tremendously. Even just being able to hang out with another person on the daily helped the SA and confidence. Due to life stuff, we weren’t able to stay together, so it was a slow inevitable (but amicable) break up. I was somehow worried that after the break up I would revert to my worst version SA and not be able to make eye contact or be able to stand in a line at the market without sweating profusely and a 30 min panic attack (sometimes I simply leave the line and store to go cool off and calm down). Or sometimes I’ll avoid the line with the attrative cashier, because I know I’ll be shaking when typing in my card number. Or I’ll simply go out to eat because the market is too busy and the SA too bad that day.
Anyways man, the struggle is real, and I’m not sure I can provide any advice beyond what others have suggested — focus on the therapies, and incrementally things will get better. It’s impossible for me to have a convo with someone without sweating/adrenalin, especially someone I’m romantically interested in, BUT somehow even with SA I did meet and have a gf 2 months ago, so it’s possible to do it again.