Val Kleinhans: My Social Anxiety Experience And What It’s Like Making Friends As An Adult

The National Institute for Mental Health defines social anxiety as, “persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others.” It’s not something you feel briefly. It stays with you for months. I should know. I have it.

I noticed my social anxiety during my trips to Pittsburgh this year. I was certainly comfortable around my loved ones in my hometown, but being out and about and doing so daily was not typical for me anymore. I’m sort of isolated in Minnesota. That reaction to such stimulation proved it. Like a lot of us, I’m working and then come home and enjoy my husband and my hobbies. What was missing was local friends.

I’m now on a journey to be a little more social at home. I’d love to make new local friends, but I’ve got some social anxiety about it. If you do too, you’re not alone.

This is my journey.

It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve found a form of exposure therapy has been working for me. I’m handling being out better, and I’m not so anxious to initiate conversations anymore. It might help you to find local groups that you already know you have something in common with – a book club for example. I used social media as my springboard.

Good luck!

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