Co-Living US

Living With Roommates When You Have Social Anxiety, And Tips To Overcome It

‘Why are you so quiet?’ ‘Why don’t you chill with us?’‘My roomi is damn shy.’

These might be some of the statements you dread listening to if you have social anxiety and live with roomis. And if you do ever decide to disclose it to someone that you have a case of SAD (social anxiety disorder), you may be met with the familiar ‘Just try harder to socialize more.’

Social anxiety is isolating and makes sufferers feel terribly lonely, because you usually want to connect with other people, but your anxiety keeps pulling you back.

A whole lot of memes have seemed to normalize the situation, but when out in the real world, it’s hard to find people who feel the kind of anxiety you do, maybe because they’re busy hiding in their rooms as well!

But if you have social anxiety and live with roomis who are more extroverted than you are (because who isn’t?), your home can cease to be a safe space for you to enjoy your solitude without constantly feeling embarrassed by your condition.

We’re a species of social creatures, and we need human connection to be happy. Take away this connection and mix it up with the awkward social anxiety chemicals in the brain, and it leaves a person stuck to our screens, looking for that connection online – one which never suffices.

So if you’re someone who has social anxiety and lives with roomis, here is your guide to go out and interact more.

We understand it’s not easy, but if you’ve been thinking you need to overcome your social anxiety, you need to begin somewhere, even if you don’t like the idea of taking the first step.

1. Understand and face your fears

If you’re someone who battles with social anxiety and stays hidden in their room, sometimes to the extent of starving because other roomis are in the kitchen, chances are – you have a lot of free time on your hands that you don’t waste with other people. Feels superior

So take advantage of that free time and keep a journal. You might be skeptical of resorting to a simple act of journalling to overcome social anxiety, but try it out.

Above all else, if you have social anxiety and can’t talk about your feelings with anyone else, journaling will help you talk to yourself about it. Dive deeper into your psyche and figure out when and why your social anxiety dominates you.

If you aren’t convinced with the idea of being your own therapist, you could try these self-help strategies designed by Magnus Nordmo, a Psychotherapy researcher at the University of Oslo.

2. Force yourself to initiate simple interactions with roomis

If you have social anxiety and are awkward around other people, your roomis have probably already noticed your awkwardness. This means they might already think you’re weird. Don’t hate us – this might not be a bad thing! The silver lining here is nothing you do will throw them off balance or make you think you’re weird – because they already think that.

So if you like your roomis, and do want to make a connection with them, try to initiate small interactions you can handle. AND FORCE YOURSELF.

Unfortunately, what other people can do very easily takes a lot of effort at your end. So don’t hesitate to put in all you’ve got. Start with a simple hello or good morning, looking at them in the eyes. And make an effort to go to the kitchen even when they’re there.

Once you do this and realize your roomis aren’t monsters, you’ll gain confidence and be able to interact more at your own pace. There’s no rush, but only you have the power to take the first steps to overcome social anxiety.

3. Tell your roomis you have social anxiety

If you have social anxiety and usually avoid interactions like the plague, you might risk coming across as a snob who doesn’t like other people. So if you tell people you have social anxiety, they might get more comfortable around you, making you more comfortable in turn.

There’s no guarantee your roomis will understand or won’t drop the ‘no you don’t’ bomb on you, but telling your understanding roomis you get anxious when you’re around people (even if you like them) can clear the air for all of you. And it stops them from just thinking you don’t like them.

If you can’t bring yourself to speak to them, try texting them or leave them a short letter. It would feel odd, but if they are good roomis, they might understand.

And if they start making you feel bad about it, that’s not your fault. Sometimes you can’t talk to people because they’re simply the wrong type of people for you – and you just haven’t found your tribe yet.

4. Keep your glass half full with the feel-good molecules

Your social anxiety feels at home with your low self-esteem and low confidence. This is why they all make such a good team in your brain, keeping the negative chitter-chatter up while your mouth manages the mumble-jumble in front of other people.

Exercising gets the angel-like serotonin into the conversation and can help you get rid of your social anxiety’s best friends.

Now, who’s lonely, btch!*

Jokes aside, it’s a proven fact that exercise can help you overcome anxiety.

So put that adrenalin to good use and you’ll work it all out.

You CAN do it!