Workplace Strategies for social anxiety that will keep you safe and build confidence
If your social anxiety is mild-to-moderate more often than not, you will be able to find employment stay in a job and work around people. And though this can be extremely difficult if you have anxiety and social anxiety, we all have to be good enough at this so we can earn our pennies.
- Being able to work can only happen if you feel able to cope with the problems that arise
- Social Anxiety increases workplace paranoia but there are strategies you can use to minimize this
- If you have people pleasing or have people rescuing traits you will be making more mistakes than you need to
- There are 3 essential steps you can use to help you at work, and there are things you should know about yourself that you must admit to if you want to thrive in the workplace
- There is only one thing you should be concentrating on at work, and it isn’t about being nice to other people
The downside of having social anxiety, and there is an incredibly huge downside, is that everything gets heightened. What I mean is if you don’t suffer from social anxiety and you have a bad day you can write that off, as just one of those days. However, if you do have social anxiety at any level, and you have a bad day, it’s really difficult to write that off as just a bad day because you will be taking whatever is happening to you, personally.
And because of that, your reactions to other people can sometimes make the situation worse.
So what do you do when you’re wanting to work around other people, but because of your social anxiety, insecurity or lack of confidence, you feel unable to be your complete and true self, because when you’ve tried you’ve just ended up feeling a lot more vulnerable than you like to feel?
Let me give you a likely scenario
You are at work, and you work with 2,3 or more other people, who are in your team. You like one person better than another and you overhear your group or team members saying unkind things about this person that you have befriended what do you do?
Well here’s what not to do. Do not under any circumstance jump in and defend your friend. And the reason why? This could land you into serious trouble. I’m not talking about disciplinary or any of that kind of trouble, I’m talking about a disconnection between you and your co-workers and if you have social anxiety that can really make you feel so isolated that you want to leave.
So my suggestion is you do not jump in and defend somebody else unless of course, they are a family member, that’s the exception.
This is what I found to be true in the workplace
I have found that if you stick your neck out for somebody else you will rarely if ever get rewarded or acknowledge or appreciated for doing it you will however incur the wrath of other people you will work with, basically they may be nice to your face but they will set out to sabotage you, sometimes so subtly that you won’t even see it coming.
You know that saying that goes, ‘Just because you’re paranoid it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you? LOL, Well, even your heightened sense of paranoia won’t always be able to save you.
You will be seen in a different light by your colleagues, you will be excluded, and you will feel worse. And the only reason I say this is because from experience that is what happened to me since I started work all those many moons ago.
If you didn’t have social anxiety I will be giving you different advice because you do, this is the advice that I want you to pay careful attention to. So what can you do instead?
- What you can do is listening; watch, take note and store away for future use any information that you are hearing about how these particular people are viewing this teammate you so want to defend.
- This will be helpful for your future
- What you will do with this information is gauge how and whom to trust. Trust is the biggest issue for anybody in the workplace and by listening, watching, observing, storing the information, all that title tackle that you will hear, you will know whom to trust and when you find that person you now have a potential ally.
- Once you found that ally, this is the person you are going to confide in, or partner with to help support YOU. And this is what’s important here, you getting support, because this is another huge issue that someone with social anxiety has, how to feel supported at work. But once you found someone who will support you, you will feel stronger and much more able to see things in a different light, and this will empower you.
So why should you do this?
Basically, this is the best thing to do to get on at work. When I mean by getting on is being able to rub along nicely with people who in some cases aren’t that nice. But we have to work with them and one of the best ways to be able to do that is not and I repeat not to show your cards and your alliances too early. You do not however have two join in and badmouth other people.
You do not have to badmouth people in order to stop them badmouthing you why? It won’t make the slightest bit of difference to what other people say about you, however, it will make a huge difference about your confidence to feel comfortable in a work situation and that’s what’s most important here.
What is really important in the workplace?
Believe it or not, it’s not important to get people back, show them how big you are, show them that you can’t be upset, though that’s desirable, what’s really important, is that you understand how to feel comfortable being around other people which will increase your confidence, and part of the strategies and tactics that you use will be to this end only.
So, this means you cannot defend other people, you must allow them to defend themselves.
How being a rescuer gets you into trouble
What can be difficult for you if you are a rescuer, is that you will feel the need to defend somebody else, in the hope that they will defend you. Nothing could be further from the truth, I have not found that this is reciprocated.
What I have found, is that you are the one that ends up with the reputation, of being that person is always causing trouble or making life difficult for the people or moaning about whatever your moaning about. And this makes it really difficult when push comes to shove, getting others to defend you.
Because remember, everybody’s perception of what’s happening, unless they are involved themselves, is going to be very different to yours, so you want to make sure that you keep yourself being perceived as a kind or helpful kind of person basically the kind of person that other people will want to defend.
So let me repeat what’s really important. It is that you learn how to feel comfortable in the workplace with people that you won’t necessarily like or even would want to spend any time with in the outside world because this will increase your self-confidence and your self-esteem. Because without confidence and high enough self-esteem you will struggle at work and around other people.
Keep this as your goal and your only goal until you feel that you’re able to do this unconsciously.
Once able to do that then you now have the choice about whether you should defend other people and it’s usually at this point that you decide not to you’ll have to get there to understand why you would do this.
What you need to know about yourself. It gets ugly
You need to know that if you have underlying agendas based on anger and resentment from the past, this will play itself out in wanting other people to ‘suffer’ for things that you’ve had to suffer over your lifetime.
This isn’t always conscious. So as difficult as this may be to hear, your agenda will be dictating how you react to the people around you and you may at an unconscious level, and I am saying only at an unconscious level, take delight in seeing other people suffer as you have done.
This is an indication of unresolved anger issues, and it’s really important that you acknowledge that this could be a possibility for you, because if it is, then you need to look at how to defuse your anger, become more assertive, and express itself in a way that allows you to stop feeling so resentful and anger towards others.
I’ll cover this in another article, but suffice it to say I found this to be an underlying issue with most people with social anxiety myself included, until I did something to change it.
Keep your eye on what’s the best thing for you
For now, realize that the best thing for you to be focusing on is how you can feel supported within the workplace. And the best way to do this is to stand back and watch, observe take note of how the people around you interact with each other. Your aim here is to find those people that you can trust, that you can confide in who will give you support.
And you will know who these people are because they may indulge in the odd gossip here and there, but it is of a light nature and is not intended to upset or otherwise derail anybody’s efforts. Once you’ve found that person you will automatically start to feel more comfortable and more confident, and this is when you can decide what you want to do next but not and I repeat not before.
I won’t give you the next steps because I know that this will take you weeks if not more to integrate into your psyche. When you get there let me know and I’ll give you the next steps.
Until then I wish you every success in your recovery and I will speak to you very soon.
You can check: All about natural anxiety treatments