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Hope for those with social anxiety disorder: You may already be someone’s best friend

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firemonkee57

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Hope for those with social anxiety disorder: You may already be someone’s best friend

Making friends is often extremely difficult for people with social anxiety disorder and to make matters worse, people with this disorder tend to assume that the friendships they do have are not of the highest quality.

The problem with this perception, suggests new research from Washington University in St. Louis, is that it’s not necessarily true from the point of view of their friends.

“People who are impaired by high social anxiety typically think they are coming across much worse than they really are,” said study co-author Thomas Rodebaugh, PhD, associate professor of psychology in Arts & Sciences. “This new study suggests that the same is true in their friendships.”

The study, published this month in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, finds that people with social anxiety disorder often overestimate how bad their relationships are with friends, when compared to what the friends say.


Much more than simple shyness, social anxiety disorder is a recognized psychiatric condition in which those struggling with the affliction often live in fear of meeting new people, passing up social invitations or work opportunities for fear of being rejected, embarrassed or otherwise singled out as a failure.

By some estimates, 13 percent of people in Europe and the United States experience social anxiety disorder. The disorder ranges in severity, from less severe, yet impairing fears of a single situation (most often public speaking), to fears about interacting with people in general.

Based on a battery of psychological tests designed to assess friendship quality, Rodebaugh’s study involved a group of 112 participants, each diagnosed as having or not having social anxiety disorder. Each participant brought along a friend from a non-romantic relationship who agreed to take part in the testing.

“People with social anxiety disorder report that their friendships are worse, but their friends didn’t see it the same way,” Rodebaugh said. “Their friends seem to say something more like: ‘It’s different, but not worse.’ ”

People with social anxiety disorder reported that their friendships were significantly worse (as compared to people without the disorder). These misperceptions were stronger and more prevalent among younger study participants and in situations where the friendship was relatively new, researchers found.

“The friends of people with social anxiety disorder did seem to be aware that their friends were having trouble, and additionally saw the person with social anxiety disorder as less dominant in the friendship,” Rodebaugh said.

https://news.wustl.edu/news/Pages/27665.aspx

If you have SA and a friend or friends you are doing much better than I am. Even before the SA kicked in I struggled to make friends.
 
tabbykitten

tabbykitten

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I don't think I have real life friends, just acquaintances. Could be my acquaintances see it differently though. Must admit the social anxiety has eased since I became active in internet forums and FB. I think of folks I have met there as friends.
 
BlueBerry

BlueBerry

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I have a few lovely acquaintances, but no friends. However, those acquaintances maybe consider themselves my friends. Due to trust issues resulting from my fallout with my old friends, it takes a while for me to really warm up to someone and it takes a lot of trust for me to really call someone my friend.

In this Facebook generation I think a lot of people throw the term "friend" around very loosely. Even if some of my acquaintances call me a "friend" that doesn't really mean there's much of a strong friendship or relationship between us.
 
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firemonkee57

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I would classify friends as people offline and people purely online as acquaintances I feel varying degrees of closeness to.
 
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Helena1

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i do think people have different perspectives of what a friend is. i have only ever had a few friends before i had SA, those i am closest to but my brother classes basically anyone he talks to a few times as a friend.

i think this test was well stupid, surely the majority of people with the more severe social anxiety dont even have any rl friends so it is not really applicable to the whole spectrum.
 
Prospector

Prospector

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I have lost a lot of friends and with others did not pursue because of my social anxiety and borderline. Treated a lot of people like crap because of anger and confusion. Now I am paying the price. Hard to love myself right now. Promised myself I won't give up.

I do think firemonkees make good friends. (y)
 
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firemonkee57

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i think this test was well stupid, surely the majority of people with the more severe social anxiety dont even have any rl friends so it is not really applicable to the whole spectrum.
I would tend to agree with this. Especially if you have social interaction problems that pre date becoming socially anxious.
 
C

Charl98

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Dec 28, 2014
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Well , apart from my dog , my family , my reflection ( not in a vein way I actually started talking to my reflection), my teddy bear , and two people online , I can say I have no best friends , I met someone from my primary school the other day , I made friends with her , but she has a best friend , and other close friends who she goes out with regularly , I invite her to go te cinema once , she brought her friends , who insisted that I sit on the end and away from the centre of the group as they didn't want to talk o me , I don't even get to talk to my friend , I gave my number to another girl but she never called me back , I wanted to go out again and she said she was busy , in school I talk to no one , because they don't seem to like me , no one ever realy has , even though I'm normal , but now as a result im just not so normal , I find it stressful to talk to people , therefore , I know I don't have a best frien , outside of my house .
 
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