Social Anxiety [#14682]

August 20, 2021


Through hisbodedus, I feel that I have entered into the “inner world” that the Rav describes. I have begun to take this journey within, and I have been prompted to do so because I have social fears – I am afraid to be with people. Whenever I speak with people, I become very anxious and it is hard for me to keep a conversation flowing. When I daven or learn, I feel that I have entered into the inner world and this elevates my avodas Hashem, but in spite of this, I feel anxious when I speak with people. Is there a way for me live in the inner world and still carry a conversation with other people, without becoming afraid? (By the way, I don’t even know what’s causing me to be afraid.)


Since you do not know right now what exactly is causing you to be afraid, let’s present here a practical way to go about this issue, without getting into the deep subtleties of the human soul.

1. Firstly, make a list of people whom you are not afraid to speak to, and make sure to speak to them, with the awareness that you are not afraid of talking to them. Through doing this, you will become stronger in the area of speaking to others.

2. Write down a general list of all the people that you speak to regularly, as well as the people you speak with only sometimes. Then decide which of these people is the easiest to speak to, which one is the second-to-easiest person to speak to, etc. and which of these is the most difficult person to speak to, second-to-most difficult, etc. Then begin to speak to the person on this list whom you find easiest to talk to, and make sure to speak to all the people on the list, until you eventually talk to the most difficult person on the list.

3. If possible, try to get hold of a picture of someone whom you find it uncomfortable to talk with, and speak to the person in the picture, in a closed, private room. Keep repeating the same thing to the person in the picture, and speak confidently. Keep doing this until you feel more confident with yourself.

4. After doing the above, go to the person whom you find it uncomfortable to talk to, and talk to him, in the same way that you spoke to the picture of him. Continue with this approach towards this person, and with anyone else whom you find it difficult to speak with, and do so gradually.

5. Come up with a few general phrases and sentences that you want to say to a person, and practice reviewing it with yourself, until you feel confident in what you are saying. Say those words to most of the people you encounter, and slowly you can add more words and phrases to your “list” of words that you say to people.