Fear. Just the word has my heart palpating just a little. To look at me, you might not think I was a fearful person. I generally have a fairly pragmatic view of the world and can tend to jump into situations without thinking too much about them.
I have mild claustrophobia. I only identified this as an adult, but it does explain some of the strange dreams I had as a child. I don’t like confined spaces. I don’t do caves. Or mazes. Or window seats. It doesn’t affect my life that much though, and doesn’t really worry me.
I’m also a little agoraphobic. It’s not that I don’t like people, I just don’t like large amounts of them in the same place at the same time. Again, it doesn’t stop me from doing anything that I really want to do.
The fear that does make me sad that i’m missing out doesn’t have a name. I’m not sure it’s recognised as an official fear.
I have this fear of establishing friendships with people. I can come up with at least five excuses to not pursue a friendship with someone even though I really, really want to. They’re surely too busy. They probably already have enough friends. I don’t think they like my hair. I’m not sure I have the energy to maintain another friendship. They’ll probably think I’m boring. WHAT IF THEY SAY NO?
I’m shy. I have a degree of social anxiety that tends to make me freeze and feel completely stupid when I meet people. And then I walk away kicking myself because I really liked that person and now they’re not going to realise and I’ve just missed the chance to make a new friend.
I’ve been blessed with some amazing friends. People who have ignored my tendency to keep them at arm’s length and been my friend anyway. Amazing women who would drop everything to help if I needed it. I’m definitely not friendless, despite my fears.
I just think I’m missing out on widening my circle of friends. Missing out on more fabulous relationships. On different opinions and experiences. People have so much to offer. *I* have so much to offer. If only I could really believe that and go for it!
On a positive note, last week I approached someone I really admired via email. I was terrified and embarrassed. But, in the end, I figured the worst that could happen was them saying they didn’t have the time to start this (kinda-businessy) relationship. You know what? She said yes. Totally worth overcoming my fear!
Do you struggle to initiate new friendships? Or do you find it easy? What are your secrets for striking up a friendship with someone new?