An Extrovert with Social Anxiety

I’ve heard that sophomore year is supposed to be one of the more fun years in college. You have become accustomed to the flow of the school you attend, but you haven’t been hit with heavy course loads yet. But I find myself struggling to make this year one of my best years at college. One of the biggest parts of having a successful and fun year at college for me personally is to be surrounded by friends and people you enjoy being around, but I’m struggling to find those people. 

I have friends I made last year, whom I love so much, but this year I find myself alone most of the time. Last year I lived in Peirce and had a solid friend group within my hall, but now we are all separated and I can’t just walk down the hall and knock on one of my friends’ door. Even though this year I live in a combined double in North instead of a single, I’m alone more than I was last year. My roommates go home every weekend and I’m not close friends with anyone else in my building. I feel like I’m on an island over the weekend with very minimal social interaction. At this point you may be wondering “Colleen, why don’t you just make more friends?” Well, let me introduce to you a friend of mine: 

ANXIETY 

More specifically social anxiety. Every social situation I’m in I over analyze every facial expression, body movement, eye movement and tone of the person/people I’m with. It causes me to think “Are they judging me? Do they think I’m annoying? Is my outfit weird? Is there something in my teeth?” etc. Though I deal with anxiety and depression, this doesn’t stop me from wanting to socialize. I’m very much an extrovert, meaning I get my emotional energy from socializing, mainly with friends. But without that socialization I find myself drained and depressed, making my social anxiety elevated because I start thinking that no one wants to be friends with me anyway. I’m even nervous about asking people to hang out that I’m already friends with. 

I want to make friends, but sometimes you have to make the first move and that terrifies me. It makes me feel vulnerable and I feel like I’m just awaiting the impending doom of rejection. One thing that would help me get through it would be friends. It’s a cycle that I feel like I will be trapped in if I don’t risk my pride. 

I feel like all I need is reassurance. For people to ask me to hang out first, then I wouldn’t be afraid of reaching out as much as I would if I was the one making the first move. Even though I feel like my social anxiety is against me, I’m going to try my very best to make this year a good one, even if that means taking social risks.