Losing close friend due to social anxiety/awkwardness - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-16-2021, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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Losing close friend due to social anxiety/awkwardness


I’ve known an online friend for about 4 years now. This good friend and I recently had a phone call, which I wasn’t expecting from her. I know she doesn’t understand the term anxiety or the different forms. Some background about me, I don’t like phone calls as I’m pretty socially awkward and have social anxiety. I only ever feel comfortable being myself(talkative and funny) around family members to be honest. Therefore, texting and finding people to talk with online is what I feel more comfortable with.

This online friend and I have only had about three calls since we’ve known each other. This last phone call was probably the worst of them all. I sounded monotone, socially awkward with awkward pauses, even rude when I don’t mean to be, thoughts weren’t fluid etc. I also disclosed how I have a phone phobia or anxieties with phone calls and said how this really isn’t me. She then said, “well who am I talking to then?”. The call lasted about 2 hours, but I know she could sense awkwardness and lack of social skills. I felt she was just being nice by staying on the phone. At the end of the call I said “maybe I should call more often, no matter how awkward it may be” and she said she “didn’t see it that way” (that I was awkward). But I knew she was just being nice, she doesn't admit things at first.

After the call I felt horrible. I knew it didn’t go well and I probably made her uncomfortable. I feel like she’ll no longer see me as a good friend. Like her opinion of me(since it’s primarily a texting friendship) has changed. I seem confident and funny over text, but really actually socially awkward. I feel she may start distancing now. Maybe this is more of a pity friendship than anything else now and I also feel embarrassed.

Do you think she most likely sees this as a pity friendship now?
How can I make changes to keep people around without my social anxiety chasing people away?
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-16-2021, 05:10 PM
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If it helps I can relate to not being comfortable talking on the phone, well not if it's a important call (like yours was to you). Thing is you were honest, you explained, and it was a lengthy call by the sounds of things. Personally I think you'll be fine, who knows with your honesty you might even become closer friends... Time will tell. Just ask yourself what you could have done differently, learn the lessons, then dismiss the awkwardness of the call, and focus on the positives of the call, and there will be many. You say you have been texting, just because you spoke on the phone doesn't mean you can't text etc. aswell. Hope this helps

These are just my thoughts/opinions, I am not a Doctor/Health Professional etc. so please draw your own conclusions.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-17-2021, 06:20 AM
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i agree with ocd guy, i think the best bet in any friendship/relationship is to be both open and honest....if you want the frienship to last, ...... i know when i meet people i do reveal things about myself, that is that i have schizophernia and other mental health issues....like i mean i have to explain myself to some degree when you consider the fact that it is awkward for me when i get asked the question "what do you do for a living?" i havent worked a job since i was 20, im 44 now.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-17-2021, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by irishkarl View Post
i agree with ocd guy, i think the best bet in any friendship/relationship is to be both open and honest....if you want the frienship to last, ...... i know when i meet people i do reveal things about myself, that is that i have schizophernia and other mental health issues....like i mean i have to explain myself to some degree when you consider the fact that it is awkward for me when i get asked the question "what do you do for a living?" i havent worked a job since i was 20, im 44 now.

That is a brave thing to do, because some people's perception of Mental Health issues can be quite negative, more needs to be done to educate people... How are you keeping, especially in these COVID times

These are just my thoughts/opinions, I am not a Doctor/Health Professional etc. so please draw your own conclusions.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-20-2021, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Thebutterfly View Post
I’ve known an online friend for about 4 years now. This good friend and I recently had a phone call, which I wasn’t expecting from her. I know she doesn’t understand the term anxiety or the different forms. Some background about me, I don’t like phone calls as I’m pretty socially awkward and have social anxiety. I only ever feel comfortable being myself(talkative and funny) around family members to be honest. Therefore, texting and finding people to talk with online is what I feel more comfortable with.

This online friend and I have only had about three calls since we’ve known each other. This last phone call was probably the worst of them all. I sounded monotone, socially awkward with awkward pauses, even rude when I don’t mean to be, thoughts weren’t fluid etc. I also disclosed how I have a phone phobia or anxieties with phone calls and said how this really isn’t me. She then said, “well who am I talking to then?”. The call lasted about 2 hours, but I know she could sense awkwardness and lack of social skills. I felt she was just being nice by staying on the phone. At the end of the call I said “maybe I should call more often, no matter how awkward it may be” and she said she “didn’t see it that way” (that I was awkward). But I knew she was just being nice, she doesn't admit things at first.

After the call I felt horrible. I knew it didn’t go well and I probably made her uncomfortable. I feel like she’ll no longer see me as a good friend. Like her opinion of me(since it’s primarily a texting friendship) has changed. I seem confident and funny over text, but really actually socially awkward. I feel she may start distancing now. Maybe this is more of a pity friendship than anything else now and I also feel embarrassed.

Do you think she most likely sees this as a pity friendship now?
How can I make changes to keep people around without my social anxiety chasing people away?
Like I say, and just as a disclaimer, improving your social skills is good self-improvement overall. But it looks as though your questions (to us fellow forum members), including one on how to change your behaviour, were triggered by an assumption that this friend of yours is not enjoying the conversation.

Looking at this very objectively - if she wasn't enjoying the conversation then even if she felt obligated to stay on, this generally would only have needed to be a 10 minute conversation before she could claim a reason (true or false) for having to end the call. There would be literally no reason for her to be staying on the phone for two hours, which a significant chunk of her day, if she wasn't engaged and enjoying the conversation. So not to downplay your own feelings, which is perhaps a subject matter in itself, but all signs are suggesting she likes speaking with you, no matter how awkward it may be (you'd be amazed how many people like having a "down-to-Earth" friend).

I'm even hesitant to give social skill tips - because it does sound like she enjoys talking to you. You may want to think carefully before being over-apologetic, or trying to drastically change your interactions with this friend - especially if as a result your friend starts feeling pressured to reassure you often.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-21-2021, 02:57 AM
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I can't imagine a more solid, indisputable proof that she highly values you as a friend (and thinks you're a lot more fun to talk to than you think) than a 2 hour phone call. Don't twist the most positive imaginable sign into a negative and sabotage your friendship by looking for signs of distancing.

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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-22-2021, 01:51 PM
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Yeah she wouldn't have stayed talking to you for 2 hours if she didn't like you.

Some days I don't feel much like talking beside the SA. I've shut down conversation for that very reason, hey Gotta go now

“Just because you have a choice, it doesn't mean that any of them 'has' to be right."
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-23-2021, 05:24 AM
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Echoing what others have said here - 2 hours is a long time to be on a call, you'd only spend that long on a call if you really wanted to talk! Don't worry, I'm sure you're still both great friends

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-23-2021, 07:24 AM
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As with the other posters, nothing you have said indicates that social anxiety had any impact on her liking you, or not. That she was on the phone call for that long suggests the opposite.

If people aren't interested, they find an excuse to leave, especially if its a phone call. Super easy.

But to add, what might happen is your assumption she is no longer interested, and you pre-emptively contacting less, is the thing that might lose the friendship. The adaptive behaviour (you withdrawing in anticipation to not get hurt from potential rejection), is the danger here.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-01-2021, 05:25 PM
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I agree with everything that has been said. The distancing and disengagment in particular is the most dangerous thing, having done this myself with good friends I had back in college but who I no longer am in contact with. I let my belief that I was unworthy of their love get in the way of keeping in contact with them, and the relationship died like a plant without food or water.



I'll come at this from a different angle. I want you to read back through what you have written. I can't help but feel you are so hard on yourself.



I've been very hard on myself for a long time. More recently I was imaging myself in a dark room, stooped over with a person flailing my back with a cat and nine tails. My torturer was myself. It was hard to come to terms with, but I realised then that I couldn't expect to be healthy and have healthy relationships with others if I treated myself like this in my own mind.



In reading your post I sense deep doubt, unworthiness and shame from someone with a beautifully conscientious and considerate soul. I wish for you that you will be able to cultivate in yourself kindness and compassion for yourself so that you might be more at ease and happier with yourself in life. I know its difficult, but focussing on what was positive about what occurred is so much energising rather than on the deflating thoughts of what went wrong. Be careful, you manifest in life the identity that you create for yourself.



Aside from conventional psychology visits and therapy, what I have found helpful is mindfulness meditation, loving kindness meditation and Brene Browns book Daring Greatly. I hope this longwinded reply will be helpful.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 02-07-2021, 06:43 PM
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Could you please update us on how this friendship has developed since this post? I relate very strongly to what you posted, and I wish that I had some good advice for you.


Bottom line I think it is great that you told your friend about your issues, because if they accept it then you will have a true friend that you can be yourself around. But if they don't accept it then you have lost a friend... yes it's a risk, I think it was brave of you to take that risk and I'm curious of how it turned out.
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