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I recently moved to Phoenix for grad school. Due to being pretty isolated because of raging SA symptoms, I decided to visit some churches and find a home base. While I enjoy attending I do not want to socialize with other members.
My problem is that all the churches have a short meet and greet during the service where you shake hands and I find those couple minutes to be excruciating right now. I would love to find church that does not include touching. Any advice on dealing with this? Are there denominations that avoid greetings during the service?
 

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sa challenger
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I recently moved to Phoenix for grad school. Due to being pretty isolated because of raging SA symptoms, I decided to visit some churches and find a home base. While I enjoy attending I do not want to socialize with other members.
My problem is that all the churches have a short meet and greet during the service where you shake hands and I find those couple minutes to be excruciating right now. I would love to find church that does not include touching. Any advice on dealing with this? Are there denominations that avoid greetings during the service?
I'm always uncomfortable with the socializing too. You could keep your hands in your pockets or folded, and just smile and say good morning. Or, you could lie and say you have a cold. I searched several churches when I moved here. I don't like how large most congregations are here. I did find a small church eventually. Ironically, you can get lost in a mega church, but since I am 'Superchalleger', I chose the smaller church.
 

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This used to make me very nervous as well. I didn't know what to say. And my hands were cold, clammy, and shaky. But, I started going to a church that did this every week. I eventually got used to it. I don't say a whole lot...just smile and say "good morning"...but that is enough. Give it time. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. Best of luck to you! :)
 

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This used to make me very nervous as well. I didn't know what to say. And my hands were cold, clammy, and shaky. But, I started going to a church that did this every week. I eventually got used to it. I don't say a whole lot...just smile and say "good morning"...but that is enough. Give it time. The more you do it, the more comfortable you will become. Best of luck to you! :)
I am actually making it to church on time now, even with this every week :).
 

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I recently moved to Phoenix for grad school. Due to being pretty isolated because of raging SA symptoms, I decided to visit some churches and find a home base. While I enjoy attending I do not want to socialize with other members.
My problem is that all the churches have a short meet and greet during the service where you shake hands and I find those couple minutes to be excruciating right now. I would love to find church that does not include touching. Any advice on dealing with this? Are there denominations that avoid greetings during the service?
Well if I'm correct in that in Australia we're heading for summer, so your side of hte globe will eventuate in winter, eek (swine flu). I hate shaking hands, cause five minutes later we are having the communion bread, eek germs.
I have tried to distance myself in the mass, sit to far away for anyone to come shaking my hand, that worked once and now I bring my hand sanitiser if hand shaking can't be avoided. I know its not the same reason you dont want to shake hands, but let people know you have germs, seriously, if you do it enough it does become easier, but I dont want to undermine your anxiety either. Go with someone you trust and know and only shake hands with them.
 

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This is the part of church I dread the most, and what keeps me from going. I get terrified at the thought of walking up to a complete stranger and introducing myself. For some reason my SA mind questions whether or not the person wants to shake hands with me. I wonder whether or not they can tell I am nervous. But I guess this would be really good exposure therapy. :)
 

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I actually don't mind this too much since everyone pretty much just says "hi," shakes your hand, then moves on to the next person, so I don't feel nervous or pressured to start a conversation. Especially since I go to a large church, it's a good way to meet others around you since there's not much opportunity during the service; although I still haven't made any acquaintances yet...
 

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kept in His hands
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I had a big problem with this for the longest time. After attending a few times, I started to know about when meet and greet time would start and I would just book it to the bathroom right before that and come out when I thought they were done. I also used to arrive late to church and leave early to avoid any conversations.
 

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when i used to attend church, by age 16 i found the best way to avoid this was holding and entertaining a baby.

then i can just do the head nod thing.

and when i was finally able to shake hands. everybody wanted a hug..........

i haven't been to church for a long time.
 

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I have this fear as well, so I try to sit as far away from people as possible (way in the back). Or I head to the bathroom right before we're supposed to shake hands. It's the only part of church I really don't like. Well, that and having to go up in front of the entire church and receive communion. I always feel like all eyes are on me and worry about tripping or bumping into someone on my way back to my seat. I always dread it.
 

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I am hearing that some churched have recently stopped this due to:

"Swine floooooo-ooooo" . :roll
 

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I've been part of a church my whole life, but I still find that shaking hands and saying 'good morning' sometimes to be a bit awkward.
If you're uncomfortable shaking hands, maybe you can clutch a Bible instead. I know it might sound a bit silly, but being a Sunday School teacher, my hands are usually full, like holding my tote bag of teaching materials, my purse, my Bible, etc. The congregation usually recognizes that and don't bother shaking my hand.
If you don't have a Bible, you can hold your coat, hat, etc.
I'm usually horrible when giving advice on church-related matters to visitors, since I've been in the church since birth, but maybe someone will find this helpful. :)
 

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This is why I do not go to church anymore. Its sad really.... But I don't like talking to people at all, let along shaking hands with them, or hugging...ugh those huggy people.
 

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Power2theweak gave excellent advice!

I've always been the same way about church. Every time I'd be getting ready to go, all I could think about was the moment the pastor would say, "Hey, why don't you turn around and say hello to the person next to you?" I just wanted to roll my eyes and be like, "Yeah, thanks. Talking to strangers is only like my second biggest fear on the planet (the first one being talking to people I actually know, haha). But still, I forced myself to go and get there on time, because I know it's good for me to at least try to face my fears. Powert2theweak is right...the more you do it, the more you get used to it. At this point, it doesn't bother me nearly as much. I simply stick my hand out, smile, and say, "Hi, my name is Brittany, it's nice to see you." and then move on to someone else. It actually gives me a bit of a rush now, because in a very small way, it's a step toward overcoming the SA :)
 

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A lot of the people we are afraid of are also afraid to open up. Just going to them and shaking their hand lets them know you are cool :).
 

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I recently moved to Phoenix for grad school. Due to being pretty isolated because of raging SA symptoms, I decided to visit some churches and find a home base. While I enjoy attending I do not want to socialize with other members.
My problem is that all the churches have a short meet and greet during the service where you shake hands and I find those couple minutes to be excruciating right now. I would love to find church that does not include touching. Any advice on dealing with this? Are there denominations that avoid greetings during the service?
Best thing is to just do it, as uncomfortable as it is. Putting your hands in your pockets or folding them is body language that says "i'm not open, don't approach". Same with frowning. Pretty much everything you do because you're anxious in a social situation gives people the signal "don't approach".

The same things that sports psychologists say about fixing your swing in golf or things like that, is what you should be using! Don't think and just do, because I guarantee that just doing leads to muscle memory, then that leads to comfortability and you're not coming off half as bad as you think you are.
 

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I know the feeling. It is hard to do. It took me years to recover after a bad church experience. The people let me down, but God was with me the whole time to help me out.
 
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