A Guide to Dating Someone with Social Anxiety

The feeling of anxiety without a cause is a condition that almost everyone experiences at any time in the life. For some people, this is a fleeting condition that doesn’t affect the quality of life, and for others, it can become a tangible problem that seriously affects interpersonal relations and career growth.

date someone with anxiety

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a negative emotional state that arises in situations of uncertain danger and manifests itself in the anticipation of unfavorable course of events. Often anxiety is seen as a form of fear. It’s one of the most common psychological disorders.

However, let's find out what anxiety is and how to date someone with anxiety. Anxiety can be conditionally "normal" when such a state is periodic and passing, not affecting the activity of a person. And there is a pathological anxiety when the quality of human life is disturbed. Such anxiety prevents any activity, is extremely incomparable to its causes, and also has a bright expressiveness.

Anxiety arises due to the activity of the imagination and fantasy of the future, i.e. a person is worried waiting for something important or a situation of uncertainty when it isn’t exactly known what will happen. Anxiety is an emotional state when a person experiences painful worry, predicts failure or danger. The manifestation of anxiety is accompanied by somatic and vegetative disorders: rapid pulse, increased sweating, itching, dizziness, chest pain, etc.

Anxiety disorders include:

  • panic disorder,
  • agoraphobia,
  • generalized anxiety disorder,
  • social anxiety,
  • specific phobias,
  • mixed anxiety and depressive disorders.

Panic disorders – are spontaneous attacks of fear, not connected explicitly with specific situations or objects. A panic disorder is accompanied by a sharp rise in anxiety and numerous somatic symptoms, can be moderate or severe.

Agoraphobia – is the fear of the crowd, public places, and open spaces. This disorder is accompanied by a pronounced behavior of avoidance. Also, there is an increase in anxiety with clear physiological manifestations in the form of dizziness, breathing difficulty, rapid heartbeat, tremors in the hands and feet, etc. It can be both with panic attacks, and without them.

date someone with anxiety Generalized anxiety disorder – is a generalized concern in the form of constant anxiety about a variety of situations and objects. It’s accompanied by a constant expectation of impending disaster, marked tension and vegetative symptoms. In the absence of treatment for this disorder, there is a risk of developing the evasive avoidance behavior. Specific (isolated) phobias are fears of animals, birds, insects, height, thunder, flight, small enclosed spaces, blood, dentists, and hospitals.

Mixed anxiety and depressive disorder is a joint presentation of the symptoms of anxiety disorder and depression.

Dating with social anxiety: what it feels like

Now, let’s take a closer look at the problem of social anxiety. What does it mean? What are the reasons for such a disorder? How to date someone with social anxiety? What to do if your loved one has this problem?

Social anxiety is a strong, persistent, unreasonable fear of diverse social situations: situations of meeting and communicating with other people, making a public appearance, the need to speak, etc. More precisely, it’s a strong anxiety and fear of assessment, observation, a scrutiny of other people in the performance of some social action.

This issue hasn’t been fully studied yet, but experts suggest the following sources of social anxiety:

1. Heredity

The hypothesis of such a problem doesn’t yet have clear scientific evidence. However, some psychologists consider it possible that social anxiety transfers genetically.

2. Poor parenting

This disorder often affects children who, in early childhood, suffered either because of the excessive indifference of the mother or because of the parental overprotection. If children do not receive maternal love, then, becoming adults, such people are afraid of condemnation and criticism from society.

3. Unsuccessful comparison

Some parents consider themselves to be unsurpassed teachers who know best how to bring up their children. To cause a child healthy, in their opinion, competition, they praise other children at the expense of their own offspring. As a result (even not doing it out of malice), they make their child suffer social anxiety.

4. Negative attitude of society

Sometimes the incorrect behavior of teachers can cause a child to experience anxiety. Signs of the social anxiety are also manifested in those children who are victimized by the ridicule of peers. As a result, victims of such bullying become reserved and begin to fear many things that need to be done in public.

5. Psychological trauma

The bitter experience of communication with the society can cause a person considerable anxiety. For example, people who failed to make a report are unlikely to wish a retry. Any stress can trigger an anxiety mechanism, which can literally affect every person.

date someone with anxietyA person with a social anxiety feels very uncomfortable in the company of other people. They can behave too defiantly or ingratiatingly. In either case, the chosen pattern of behavior is nothing more than an attempt to hide their fear because of the need to communicate. Often, people with social anxiety disorder try to go unnoticed in any society. In interpersonal relations, such a person tries to avoid even a hint at a situation where they can be rejected.

The manifestation of social anxiety in people occurs most often at a young age from 14 to 21 years. A priori, men are more prone to this disorder. The reason can lie in a child's psychological trauma or arise after some unpleasant situation, which was accompanied by some negative, aggression or a sense of humiliation and shame. Finding themselves in a difficult life or financial situation, men feel oppression, loss of social status, which can also serve as a basis for the development of social anxiety.

Men are particularly sensitive to the situation, disgracing their honor and dignity as a stronger sex. This disorder exacerbates the existing inferiority complexes, suspiciousness and vegetative disorders of the nervous system. Psychologists and psychotherapists are engaged in solving this problem, depending on the severity and frequency of various symptoms.

Anxiety and dating are difficult to call the compatible things. Communication with the opposite sex for such people is a special topic. The opportunity to get acquainted or just to start a conversation with a girl is perceived as an irresistible test. And the usual maintenance of a conversation becomes a torture. A person with social anxiety never makes the first step towards rapprochement with someone they like. Rather, they hide their feelings as long as necessary. Initially, it’s necessary to understand the causes of such manifestations.

If you want to build a relationship with a person suffering from a social phobia disorder, you will have to take the initiative. Firstly, you need to examine such a person (provided that you also like them), to understand what exactly makes them to be indecently modest. If you find out that the main reason for such modesty is social anxiety, under no circumstances condemn such a person, much less try to change them.

If at a party or an office you suddenly like a man who tries to hide from everyone, don’t rush to call him a maverick. Maybe he really needs help, and you are the person who can understand most of his fears and try to help him to cope with them. Of course, it’s provided that you want to be with this person.

Unfortunately, only 5% of people suffering from social anxiety receive medical treatment. This is due to the fact that even consulting a doctor sometimes becomes above their bend. These people can overcome this obstacle only with the help of relatives or close people. Don’t be indifferent, help your loved one to live a happy full-fledged life!

Tips for dating someone with anxiety

Everyone knows that dating someone with depression and anxiety isn’t simple. After all, social anxiety is a painful emotional disorder that harasses not only your partner but you. Here are 7 tips for dating someone with anxiety.

1. Learn about the causes of anxiety disorder

This is the first step to learn how to date someone with depression and anxiety. Find information about the causes of the anxiety disorder. This will help you better understand what your loved one feels, and also give an idea of when he needs your help. Ask your beloved if he wants to talk about his condition.

2. Learn more about different types of social anxiety

There are several different types of social anxiety, which are based on different triggers. Try to determine what kind of anxiety your significant other has. Then you will better understand how you can help him.

date someone with anxiety There are such types of social anxiety:

  • fear of public speaking;
  • fear of telephone calls;
  • inability to eat in public;
  • denial of work under supervision;
  • inability to use the public toilet;
  • an aversion of views on the street;
  • fear of bodily touch.

3. Encourage healthy behavior

For example, your girlfriend has social anxiety. If she went to a party and communicated well with people, tell her that she was the life of the party and everyone was delighted with the interesting conversation. It’s a really good option how to date a girl with anxiety.

4. Don’t criticize the unhealthy behavior

If you blame a loved one for behavior caused by increased anxiety, this will make him worry even more. As a result, you will only turn up the pressure.

5. Take your beloved out

To combat social anxiety and fear of communication, it’s useful to attend various mass events, concerts, and parties. Common interests make it easier to communicate, and new acquaintances release your loved one from the fear of communication. During the period of therapy, don’t take the partner to such public places where aggression and negativity are most often manifested: buses during rush hours, polyclinics, markets, and any state institutions. Avoid these places until your loved one has the ability to at least partially abstract his mind from conflict situations.

6. Give him a pet

Also, to achieve spiritual harmony and reduce the manifestation of social anxiety, you can give your beloved a pet. It isn’t so important: cats, dogs, ferrets, hamsters - each of them will make your partner's life more interesting and happier, and give him a bunch of positive emotions. This is an excellent excuse to go out, take a walk in the park or the nearest square with his four-pawed friend. A pet is a perfect gift especially while dating a girl with anxiety.

7. Advise your loved one to undergo a treatment

It’s one of the most useful tips on how to date someone with anxiety and depression. To help a partner with an anxiety disorder, advise him to seek professional help. Tell him that many people with social anxiety feel much better after a course of psychotherapy, medication or undergoing a course of treatment involving both of these methods.

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