Friendships / Relationships
What Gets in the Way of Making a Connection?
5 Strengths Unique to the LGBTQ Community
Social connection is invaluable, but it doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Even the most extroverted, well-adjusted people have to work hard to maintain friendships. But for some, even making the first move can be incredibly difficult and intimidating. Although you may struggle to get to know people or make friends, you aren’t condemned to living life alone.
With the right education, tools and help, you can begin to work through your barriers to making connections and begin finding the right people for you.
3 Reasons You Struggle to Connect With People
There are many reasons you may struggle to connect with others; below are three of the most common reasons and challenges we help clients overcome. If you feel like you can’t connect with anyone, working with a therapist may be able to help you figure out why and start making positive changes.
It’s normal to feel nervous meeting new people, but for some, the anxiety that stems from interacting with others is so severe that it prevents them from making friends, dating, speaking up for themselves at work and more. Social anxiety disorder is a treatable condition that you can overcome with time.
Signs of social anxiety disorder include:
- Racing heart, sweaty palms and shakiness when having to interact with others.
- Feelings of intense fear and anxiety when facing a social situation.
- Avoiding social settings, even once you want to go to, because you’re afraid others will reject you or make fun of you.
- Fear that others will notice how anxious you are.
- Judging yourself after a conversation and wondering what you may have said wrong, how you may have looked and ways you might have embarrassed yourself.
If you find that your social anxiety makes it difficult to speak, interact and maintain relationships, therapy can help. The first step is reaching out and talking to a counselor you feel comfortable with. They can help you work through the reasons why you feel so anxious around other people. Then, they’ll help you build confidence by practicing different strategies to manage your anxiety and communicate with others more easily.
You Fear Rejection
One of the reasons you may struggle to connect with others is that you fear they’ll judge you and not like you. In this case, you might consider yourself someone with high standards who always finds a reason to cut ties with someone before they get a chance to know and, in turn, hurt you.
You might also simply avoid people altogether because you’re afraid that they’ll dislike you if they get to know you. Fear of rejection is linked to low self-esteem, something that many people wrestle with. You can combat it by learning to recognize your own strengths and engaging in social situations that you feel comfortable in.
Low-risk social situations are key because they give you a foundation of positive interactions to build from. When you have more confidence from successful encounters, it becomes easier to confront situations with higher risks of rejection like dating and job interviews.
Social Distancing Habits
COVID isolation left millions of people quarantined indoors and fearful of interacting with anyone. Although social distancing and mask mandates are still in effect in many areas, the psychological effects of quarantine have left some people with a deep fear of engaging with others. This can make it hard to push past any anxiety and begin to interact with people. If your mind is worried about getting sick, you can’t enter social situations in a positive manner.
Physical health should never be compromised for connection, so if you’re not able to connect with others in-person due to being high-risk or unvaccinated, there are still options. Virtual clubs and online meetups give you a way to begin rebuilding social skills without putting yourself or members of your household at risk.
Therapy Can Help
Therapy for social anxiety and relationship troubles is effective. Our counselors are always here to help you begin improving your self-esteem and build new skills. Contact us today at Caring Heart Counseling with any questions. If you’re ready to book an appointment, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to arrange a time and date that works best for you.