Sociophobia, social anxiety

Hi guys, my problem here is that the girls I work with are lovely and funny, I genuinely like them... and they invited me to go out with them, but I don't want to go. I said I didn't have time to go and that maybe I'll try next time but I know there won't be any next times. I just won't go. I'm afraid this will ruin my professional relationship with them at work. I like working with them and talking to them while at work, but once outside of work, I panic. This happens in every job I get, I rarely go out and I feel ok with it, but I'm afraid other people will think badly of me. My boyfriend is my also my best friend and since we have limited time together due to work, I'd rather spend an evening with him chilling on the couch. Any advice?

6 Replies

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  • Wanting to keep your work life and home life separate is completely understandable. Co workers will always have their opinions about you regardless if you go out with them or not. Maybe you can rehearse what you will say next time they ask? This might sound silly, but google ways to politely explain to your co workers that you would rather keep your work life separate from your home life or something like that. I do recommend being honest with them at some point because they are going to get upset if you keep saying you will go but never do. Good luck! :)

  • Why do you think seeing them outside of work might bring on panic?

    One suggestion might be to go with them if you could find a setting which made you feel comfortable. You know, suggest a restaurant you really like - bring the boyfriend - someplace where you will not feel nervous.

  • Maybe you could try going with them on a short outing, then explain a little about your home schedule. It's nice that you get along so well with them.

  • Thank you all for your replies. The girls are ok with me not going, I explained that I have anxiety but... there's this staff party that I'm supposed to go to because it's for all the new staff to get to know people better. I already said I might not be going but I think I will have to go, especially when my manager said it will help us remember all the people we have to work with all the different departments etc... It's on the 8th of April, one day after my birthday, I could maybe lie that I have something organised for my birthday and can't go but they already know about my social anxiety so I don't think they'll fall for it... I really don't want to go! :(

  • Regarding the April party. Not going is a quick fix for now- but I believe it is not helping you in the long run. Every time we avoid a situation, we are feeding into that fear. Of course, challenging a fear and feeling terrible doesn't necessarily help us either. The best situation is to somehow get yourself there, even if a short time, and have a positive experience, increasing our confidence and subsequently making it a bit easier to go out in the future. Small manageable things, bringing small positive results- done over and over again.

    If you don't go, however, don't feel bad. It is important that we treat ourselves with compassion and kindness. If you can stop in for a while, I hope it is a great experience for you.

  • Thank you for your reply! I already told the staff that I probably (or most likely) will not be going, I thought I would come in for an hour just so they can see I went to it, but it starts a few hours later than I supposed it would, so the time doesn't suit me either. Not going would probably be the best option for me because I really hate having to hang out with people from work, to me they're just my fellow co-workers, not friends or relatives. I know I shouldn't care whether they're going to like me for it or not, but somehow I convinced myself that they will talk about me in a bad way or think that I don't like them, which is not true. I'm sure I'm not the only person that's not going, but honestly, I'd rather spend the evening at home with my partner. It's ridiculous how this social anxiety thing has me convinced it's a huge problem, it probably isn't, but I keep thinking about it. One of the girls is also quite pushy and I'm sure she just wants to hang out with me, but she keeps insisting on coming to her house or staying at her house if I can't get a lift back home etc. and she keeps saying that she will literally "drag me to the party". Should I be worried about people's opinion on my attendance?

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