People with social anxiety tend to sacrifice psychological attributes like increased assertiveness, authenticity and self-efficacy in order to satisfy their need for belonging. A therapeutic process can help them cultivate these traits and relate to their significant other in a more healthy way.
However, this approach may also come at a cost to their mental health. This is why it’s important to discuss your concerns with a psychotherapist.
1. They’re attracted to you
People with social anxiety often prioritize the need to belong. They may even sacrifice important psychological attributes like assertiveness, authenticity and self-efficacy to satisfy this need, which is a significant concern.
The desire to maintain a relationship can also lead to passive-aggressive communication, whereby they fail to openly discuss their needs and desires with each other. As a result, they often avoid or misinterpret each other’s actions, which can lead to misunderstandings and conflict.
When they meet someone on a dating app, for example, they may connect via chats, phone calls and video calls before making the decision to meet in person. But when the time comes to meet, they’re nervous and shy away – and this can be disappointing for their date-to-be. This is why it’s important for both partners to learn effective communication skills that promote understanding and support each other. By doing so, couples can work together to find solutions that are mutually beneficial.
2. They’re attracted to your anxiety
For many people with social anxiety, relationships – especially romantic ones – can be complicated. Luckily, it’s possible to manage anxiety and still sustain a relationship that is happy and healthy.
One of the main issues that arises with social anxiety is that it can be hard to communicate effectively with a partner. This can lead to conflict and frustration when things don’t go the way you want them to.
For example, if your partner is reluctant to attend events that you enjoy going to, like family gatherings or networking events, it can be frustrating for you. However, if you are able to speak openly about these feelings with your partner, it can help them understand that what’s happening is a response to their anxiety, not a rejection of you or the event. This is called redefining your perspective. Having a good communication system will also allow you to discuss what works and what doesn’t in your relationship so that you can make changes as needed.
3. They’re attracted to your confidence
Often, a partner of someone with social anxiety will be able to encourage them to go out with friends or on dates by taking on some of the planning duties. This way, they’re not responsible for all the details and can take their time getting comfortable in the situation.
In many cases, people with social anxiety have an intense need to feel that they belong, whether it’s in a romantic relationship or a group of coworkers. They are attracted to the feeling of connection and are willing to put up with their fears in order to achieve this.
This is why it’s important for the non-anxious partner to understand their needs. It’s also important to avoid using harsh language that can be perceived as dismissive of the person’s feelings or their anxiety. This type of language can lead to an increase in negativity and a deterioration of the relationship.4 It’s a good idea to communicate regularly about these issues.
4. They’re attracted to your personality
Social anxiety can make it difficult to build or maintain relationships. However, many people with social anxiety still form close romantic relationships.
Unfortunately, this means that a person with social anxiety may become overly reliant on their partner to meet their basic needs for belonging, inclusion, and support. This can lead to toxic behavior, resentment, and anger.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this from happening in your relationship. One way is to be open and honest about your anxieties and to communicate them to your partner. It is also important to seek out other sources of belonging, such as family and friends, in addition to your partner. Finally, it is important to avoid using harsh language when communicating with your partner about their anxiety. This can come across as dismissive and will not help them to cope with their feelings. Instead, try to find a balance between being supportive and challenging. Try to “de-catastrophize” your fears by experimenting with feared situations and outcomes, such as saying something embarrassing or going on a date without a friend.