Maintaining Friendships When You Have Bad Anxiety
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Maintaining Friendships When You Have Bad Anxiety

A wonderful aspect of life is creating and sustaining friendships, which enhance our experiences and act as a support system. Maintaining these relationships, though, can become difficult when anxiety sets in. In this article, we will examine how anxiety affects friendships, address the dilemma of telling friends about your anxiety, and provide helpful tips for negotiating and maintaining these vital connections.

 

 

Table Of Contents

How Does My Anxiety Affect My Friendships?

Should I Tell My Friends About My Anxiety?

Is It Hard To Make/Keep Friends When You Have Anxiety

When Will I Know If My Anxiety Is Ruining My Friendships?

What To Do If My Anxiety Is Costing Me Friendships?

Conclusion

 

 

 

How Does My Anxiety Affect My Friendships?

 

All facets of our lives, including friendships, can be negatively impacted by anxiety. Anxiety can take many forms, including overly concerned behavior, fear of being judged, or a complete avoidance of social situations (Welcome, 2019). These actions may put up a wall separating you and your close companions, making it challenging to establish deeper connections. You may emotionally retreat or abruptly abandon plans due to overanalyzing the conversations as a result of anxiety (Kaiser et al., 2015). When your friends see these changes, they could get confused or even wounded because they don’t know the underlying cause of the anxiety.

 

 

 

Should I Tell My Friends About My Anxiety?

 

Disclosing to your friends that you may have anxiety depends on the level of comfort you have with your friends and the nature of your relationship with them. By being honest about your difficulties, you can help your friends understand you and build empathy, establishing a space that is encouraging for you and your friends (Dreher, 2019). However, it is crucial to evaluate your friendships and think about how open your friends could be to this information. Sincere companions will probably value your openness and be prepared to assist.

 

Being more genuine in your friendships can be made possible by disclosing your emotions, which can help lessen the weight of keeping your problems hidden. If you do decide to talk to your friends about your anxiety, pick a moment when you’re both at ease and you can get their complete attention. Let them know how they can help you and be upfront about your feelings. As your trust grows, don’t forget that it’s acceptable to start small and progressively share more.

 

 

 

Is It Hard to Make/Keep Friends When You Have Anxiety?

 

When anxiety is your daily companion, it might be difficult to make and keep friends. Your capacity to establish connections with new individuals may be hampered by your fear of rejection or misinterpretation (Leary, 2015). Furthermore, anxiety can cause disengagement or tense relationships, making it harder to keep up with present friendships (Wolters et al., 2023).

 

The important thing to understand is that anxiety does not deem one unworthy of friendship. Actually, a lot of people are sympathetic and understanding, and genuine friends will embrace you for who you are. Making new friends can be facilitated by taking baby steps, such as going to social gatherings with a reliable buddy or joining organizations that focus on similar interests.

 

Friendships with Anxiety

Photo by nappy

 

 

When Will I Know If My Anxiety Is Ruining My Friendships?

 

Since anxiety usually develops gradually, it can be difficult to recognize when it begins to negatively impact your friendships. Nonetheless, there are warning signs to be aware of:

 

Isolation: Your friendships may be strained if you start to isolate yourself from social situations and spend more time by yourself as a result of anxiety.

 

Misunderstandings: An ongoing concern of being judged could cause miscommunications and unneeded arguments with friends.

 

Cancelled Plans: Your friends may start to feel ignored or irrelevant if you often postpone events or stay away from social gatherings because of anxiety.

 

Overthinking Conversations: It may indicate that your anxiety is affecting your friendships if you find yourself spending a lot of time thinking back on previous conversations.

 

 

 

 

What To Do If My Anxiety Is Costing Me Friendships?

 

It’s critical to act proactively to alleviate anxiety if you see that it is negatively impacting your friendships. The following useful tips will assist you in getting through this difficult period:

 

Communicate Openly: Feel free to express your emotions to friends. Tell them that your behavior does not represent how you feel about them; rather, it is a reflection of the difficult period you’re going through.

 

Seek Professional Help: To manage your anxiety, think about speaking with a mental health professional who can offer advice and support. Therapy can give you the coping skills and techniques you need to handle social situations more skillfully.

 

Educate Your Friends: Provide resources to your friends or urge them to join support groups to better understand anxiety. It will be easier for them to support you when their level of awareness increase.

 

Set Realistic Expectations: It is utmost important to realize that highs and lows also exist in friendships just like any other relationship. As you work through difficulties as a team, exercise patience with both yourself and your friends.

 

Practice Self-Care: Give priority to self-care practices that reduce anxiety like meditation, physical activity, and time spent in nature. Sustaining positive friendships requires taking good care of your mental health.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

It takes work, compassion, and honest communication to keep friendships intact while you suffer from severe anxiety. Because of this, keep in mind that until you tell your friends about your experiences, they could not understand you completely. Be kind to yourself, get help from professionals when necessary, and surround yourself with people who actually have your best interests at heart. Friendships ultimately require reciprocation. The links that make these relationships strong and durable are strengthened when you are honest about your anxiety with true friends, who will support you through the difficult times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

 

Dreher, D. E. (2019, June 11). Why Talking About Our Problems Makes Us Feel Better. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/your-personal-renaissance/201906/why-talking-about-our-problems-makes-us-feel-better

 

Kaiser, B. N., Haroz, E. E., Kohrt, B. A., Bolton, P. A., Bass, J. K., & Hinton, D. E. (2015). “Thinking too much”: A systematic review of a common idiom of distress. Social Science & Medicine, 147, 170–183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.10.044

 

Leary, M. R. (2015). Emotional responses to interpersonal rejection. Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, 17(4), 435–441. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.31887/DCNS.2015.17.4/mleary

 

Welcome, P. (2019). The Relations Between Anxiety Symptoms and Friendships in Adolescence. Honors College. https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/honors/529/

 

Wolters, N. E., Mobach, L., Wuthrich, V. M., Vonk, P., Van der Heijde, C. M., Wiers, R. W., Rapee, R. M., & Klein, A. M. (2023). Emotional and social loneliness and their unique links with social isolation, depression and anxiety. Journal of Affective Disorders, 329, 207–217. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2023.02.096

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written By: Dr. Wasif MD

Edited by: Madison Vargas, BS

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, LMFT

Published : 02/12/2024

 

Disclaimer: ALL IN Therapy Clinic aims to improve people’s lives. We do this through providing effective mental health counseling by passionate professionals. Inspired by this, we write content for your own education. Also, our content is researched, cited, reviewed, and edited by licensed mental health professionals. However, the information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, it should not be used in place of the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Written and reviewed by

Madison Vargas