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Newly Optimistic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Do any of you regularly go to worship with other people?

When I was younger it was a little easier cuz I always went with my mom and get shuttled off to Sunday School.

But now that I'm older and don't have many friends, I have to go to services by myself, and I feel really anxious and self-conscious when I go in, especially since I don't know any of the other people at a very personal level.

Does anyone have any tips about doing this? I did it two weeks ago and it was so frightening! Everyone was talking with each other and after the service I couldn't get myself to "break into" any of the other people's social groups and so I felt isolated.

:(
 

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Hey there Vicente,

May I suggest that temple time be an opportunity to be alone and silently focus on what spirituality means to you. A time to look within and feel the vibrancy of the life flowing within you. A time to surrender to something greater...that which is the genuine Source and sustenance of all existence (I suggest not creating or borrowing stories about what that is, or forming any mind generated images. Rather allow yourself to just silently and deeply sense and feel what arises).

As far as Meeting with folks, perhaps a more open arena would be some type of club or gathering of people with the same hobbies or interests as you. Then again if church is your thing, a small more neighborhood type church may have people more open and friendly.

It seems that what your doing right now isn't working for you.

good luck!

p
 

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I go with my kids, but don't generally interact much with anybody else. If I ever happen to go alone for some reason, I usually take off immediately afterward. Any situation where people already have friendships formed, and you come alone tends to be a bit awkward if you're not relatively socially skilled. It does feel isolating. I don't know the answer except to try to keep your eyes open for another person that comes alone, and maybe looks a little uncomfortable themselves, then try to start a conversation with that person afterward. I'd like it if someone did that for me! :O)
 

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Going to church alone and feeling like I wanted to run away from everyone was the catalyst for me finding out that I have SA and beginning to take steps to overcome my fears.

We moved to a new, much larger church about 12 months ago. The church itself is awesome and I really love attending services there. We moved with close friends at the same time and usually we sit with these friends every service. But there has been a few occasions where I was at a service by myself (well, my girls were there too but they always sit with their own friends), and afterwards could not see anyone i knew (there are a few people). The time after services is usually a very social time, with everyone chatting, having coffee etc. On this occasion, I just freaked out, found my girls and left as quickly as possible.

The thing is, being a committed Christian, I know I should be sharing my faith with others (especially outside of the church building!), but having what I now know to be SA absolutely rules that out. And I feel like a failure because of it.
 

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Man, I've often wondered if it would be easier to foster a sense of community belonging to a mainstream faith (because greater numbers= more opportunities), but now I see it's no better. Ah well, it's what's in your heart that matters to the divine...whether or not you worship in a group is irrelevant.
 

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Newly Optimistic
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Man, I've often wondered if it would be easier to foster a sense of community belonging to a mainstream faith (because greater numbers= more opportunities), but now I see it's no better. Ah well, it's what's in your heart that matters to the divine...whether or not you worship in a group is irrelevant.
My religion is almost as much of a cultural/community thing as a faith thing so I don't feel like I'm getting the full experience doing things by myself. And it's a religion followed by only 2% of the American population so there aren't that many options for gathering. Which is really a challenge when one has SA.
 

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My religion is almost as much of a cultural/community thing as a faith thing so I don't feel like I'm getting the full experience doing things by myself. And it's a religion followed by only 2% of the American population so there aren't that many options for gathering. Which is really a challenge when one has SA.
Wow, that's rough! My religion isn't cultural, however, I know how you feel...:hug
 

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But now that I'm older and don't have many friends, I have to go to services by myself, and I feel really anxious and self-conscious when I go in, especially since I don't know any of the other people at a very personal level.
Same here. I went to church this morning and I felt like an idiot.

It is interesting to me that social anxiety affects everyone, whether they are religious or not.

The good thing about going to church is that it forces me to confront my problems sober. If I go to a bar, I end up drinking too much to calm my nervousness and then i'm a mess.
 

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Rock Kicker
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The thing is, being a committed Christian, I know I should be sharing my faith with others (especially outside of the church building!), but having what I now know to be SA absolutely rules that out. And I feel like a failure because of it.
I totally understand this. I've never "witnessed" to anyone....I don't even know how to have a conversation with someone, so....

My church is also big on fellowship.....I really don't know anyone. Although Im there every single Sunday, maybe 7 people, if that know my name.
 

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I used to go to coffee hour after services, but I found it too daunting to insert myself into the established circles of conversations, and no one made an effort to include me. So now I leave right after the last hymn. I suppose the good thing about this is that it keeps my motives pure. Too many people treat church as a social club as it is.
 

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Starlight and moonbeams
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I plan to go to church this Sunday for the first time in years, if I feel better (I have some sort of virus right now.) The first time, I will probably have my mom go with me, but after that, I'm going to be going by myself. The thought terrifies me.
 
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