“Dealing With GAD Isn’t A Sign Of Weakness But Tremendous Strength Of Character.”
Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD can hamper all aspects of everyday life. Among other things, people going through GAD often face problems in social situations and find it difficult to make friends. So I want to share with you the 3 best ways to make friends when dealing with GAD:
1. Step outside your comfort zone and make and keep plans
Stepping outside the comfort zone is not easy for someone dealing with GAD. But one has to make the effort. It need not be something radical like going out alone on a date with someone you just met. It can be as simple as going out with friends or co-workers for drinks or food after work.
This will help open yourself to the possibilities of new friendships. Friends are important because they can help comfort you during the unexceptionally rough days of anxiety. Making the effort to make friends is often the first step towards treatment of GAD.
Making plans with friends is important, but keeping those plans is just as important
Those dealing with GAD often end up backing off at the last moment via a text message like ‘Sorry, I won’t be able to make it today for (so and so reason).” It is essential to avoid doing so. People dealing with GAD can schedule after-work meet-ups with co-workers so that the spontaneity of the plans does not trigger anxiety in you.
Even if it does, what an opportunity to change the pairings in your mind between an environment and anxiousness, to begin understanding that the fear is much stronger in nature than the actual experience.
2. Practice proper posture and breathing, start with baby steps, and make friends off your friends
New situations are mostly likely to trigger some anxiety like I mentioned. This is why it’s very important to practice good physiological control during times of heightened sensitivity. Your breathing patterns, the speed in which you do things, and your posture will dictate the types of signals you send to your nervous system, so make sure to send controlled signals.
People dealing with GAD should try and have at least one known friend when meeting up in a group (baby steps). You should then make the effort to make friendships with the new people and or strengthen your relationships with your known friends. Social interaction is much easier when you can fall back on the support of your known ally, if and when the conversation becomes stressful.
Most of us have certain places where we feel the most comfortable and safe
If you are dealing with anxiety and want to make new friends, the best option would be to arrange your social gatherings in safe places in the beginning of your confronting journey. This will help reduce the anxiety and stress you experience, and promote socialization at the same time. Remember, baby steps in the beginning of the creation of the new you!
3. Avoid hiding your anxiety and give yourself time
Good and lasting friendships only develop when all people involved are honest and open with each other. Hence, those dealing with GAD have to openly talk about their struggles with anxiety when trying to make new friends (but not see them as a shoulder for reassurance later on).
The best part about being honest is the fact that your new friends will be better able to understand your situation. Thus, instead of berating you for acting different in certain environments, they will know what you are going through and will empathize and comfort you. Heck, they might even pick up a book and get to know your anxiety disorder a little better (which is what good friends do) which makes the feedback even more useful.
Friendships do not form overnight. Neither will anxiety ease up so easily. So give the process its due time, join the #1 Facebook group for anxiety support to meet your new like minded friends, and get ready for some life changing results!