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[ Social anxiety and friends ]

Melissa - girl - 16 ans (2 July 2014)

Social anxiety is something I've had since I was 8 but over the years, I've been able to cope with it and it's gotten much better. However, about a month ago once school ended, my anxiety had gotten much worse and I think it's because my friends are always pressuring me to hangout and to go places constantly and I'm always trying to make up excuses so that I won't have to go. It's not necessarily because I don't want to hangout with them it's just my anxiety is so bad that I'm starting to feel it physically. My muscles are always tense and aching, my hearts always beating fast for no reason and I'm always on edge and kinda in a panic mode all the time. Sometimes I want to hangout with my friends but even the thought of having to go out to a public place with crowds makes me want to throw up and often at night I just breakdown and cry because I'm so frustrated with myself and the fact that I can't be normal and just hangout with them when they ask. It also doesn't help that I often feel left out so I'd rather stay home and be by myself than hangout out with friends. I'm very content with being alone or just being with my family all summer. Obviously my friends don't understand this and I feel like they get mad at me when I cancel on them. So i guess my question is how do I let them know that I have social anxiety and that it prevents me from going out and being social most of the time? How do I tell them that I kinda want to be alone most of the time without sounding rude?

Tel-jeunes’ answer

Hi there!

Thank you for trusting us!

When we want to tell something to our friends, we can feel anxious to be misunderstood, judged or rejected. There is no way to predict the future or other people's reactions, but sometimes, choosing to tell the truth can be liberating. Some people choose to gather their friends in a place where they feel safe and talk openly about social anxiety. Other people will choose to send articles about social anxiety to their friends and explain to them why it is so difficult for them to be in social situations, using a group email or the social networks. Others will choose to talk about it with one close friend to start with, and then decide if they feel comfortable to talk to all of their friends. What suits you better?

Anxiety is an uncomfortable sensation and most people tend to avoid what triggers anxiety for them. The problem with avoidance is that when you push away the triggers, you don't learn to deal with the anxiety, and the anxiety can expand its territory. Does this sound familiar? You have managed your anxiety for a while now, and it got better. It can get better again, with the tools you already have and if needed, some psychological help (counsellor or psychologist). Alright?

Do not hesitate to call if you want to discuss this further, 24/7 at 1-800-263-2266!

Take care,

Tel-jeunes

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