I just came to fill up my water bottle and then I’ll be gone. Work relationships have never been my thing, and twenty seconds is all I need to escape the indecision of talking to my coworkers or not. I wish I didn’t feel like their eyes are fixed on me.
After recently starting a new job, I haven’t really gotten to know anyone.
It’s not that I don’t want to make work friends, but as soon as I find myself in a situation where I need to interact socially (read: without work objective) I can’t help but think about getting back to my desk as fast as possible.
Not connecting with people at work has made me feel pretty disconnected. I just get in and get out. I think about how I don’t fit in, or don’t belong. Feeling disconnected from my work surroundings has taken a serious toll on thoughts.
Seeing coworkers going out in pairs or groups to have lunch or grab a coffee has made me feel isolated. I assume (but it feels like certainty) they are going to enjoy time outside of the office together. While I know I’d likely reject an invite, I wish I could go.
I’m ready to understand why I struggle to connect. Once I’ve done that, I’ll be able to work towards being comfortable to create better relationships at work.
LOCATING THE BARRIER
Blog posts and YouTube videos about how to make friends in the workplace are a good place to start, but to really create better work relationships, it’s important to look inside yourself, instead of just keep looking outside.
When we look inside ourselves, we’re able to see that our full potential to connect with your coworkers is blocked by inner barriers, like doubt, fear, and anxiety.
Anxiety is a tool that we need for survival. The brain developed this response over millions of years to protect us from threats like wild animal attacks and other dangerous situations.
We need anxiety the same way a car or a house needs an alarm: to alert us when there’s danger.
The term social anxiety refers to nervousness in social situations, and everyone has it in varying degrees. It serves an essential function in our lives. It makes us more aware of those we care about and helps us nurture our social connections.
So why does that alarm sometimes make our social lives so overwhelming?
A mix of our personality, demeanor and past stressful social experiences can set our alarm to hypersensitive mode.
Whatever the underlying cause that made your “alarm” hypersensitive, the most important thing to know is that there are effective approaches for overcoming social anxiety and boosting confidence.
A WAY TO CULTIVATE WORK RELATIONSHIPS
When people face situations that make them anxious, avoidance is the most common action they take. Avoidance keeps people in their comfort zone and prevents them from experiencing the feelings of anxiety.
However, we know that avoiding uncomfortable situations also takes us further away from getting what we want, like a casual conversation in the office or grabbing an afternoon coffee with a work mate.
There are plenty of effective solutions that help individuals build confidence, feel less anxiety in social situations and start doing things they imagined were impossible.
Experts worldwide recommend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) as a very effective technique for overcoming anxiety in social situations.
CBT exercises empower you to understand how your mind works and build new skills to react more positively to situations that would usually cause you anxiety.
Participants of clinical studies created new brain pathways through repeated CBT practice. In other words, CBT gives you superpowers to reprogram your brain in order to feel more confident.
In the context of psychology, a therapist is a person who is trained and licensed to guide a patient through CBT exercises.
Finding the right therapist can often be a lengthy and challenging process, and some people may not know where to begin. Besides that, many people think that face-to-face therapy is intimidating and can be too expensive.
Digital and self-guided approaches can also be a useful first step if you are unsure whether or not to seek further help. It is a convenient alternative if face-to-face therapy is out of reach or doesn’t interest you.
Research suggests digital CBT can be just as effective as having face-to-face therapy with a therapist.
These solutions are available around the clock and are easily accessible via smartphone or computer, wherever you are. Other advantages include: it’s discreet and confidential.
CHOOSE YOUR NEXT STEP
Youper is a personal digital solution designed to increase confidence by overcoming anxiety in social situations. Youper re-invented Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to make it fun, interactive and engaging.
Dr. Hamilton, psychiatrist and Youper co-founder, says that building confidence and meaningful relationships can be just like climbing a challenging mountain, it requires time and dedication to reach the summit.
Along your journey, think of Youper as your guide and the backpack full of tools. We ensure you reach your destination safely and successfully. You can even fit us in your pocket with our free app.