Engineer with Social Anxiety
anonymous Asks ...
I am a 38 year old engineer. I am reasonably successful at work and I am blessed with a lovely wife and with 3 fantastic children. My wife is great and she is my best friend. I am blessed except I have no real male friends. I don't know why this is but after high school, when I had lots of buddies, I have had a lot of trouble making friends with other men. I can be quite relaxed and joking with my family but when I am with people outside of my family I get really tight and I become this other more serious person.
I can recognize after about 20 years of failures that people don't really like this other guy, my public persona, but even though I know this I cannot really change how I act around people. I am wondering if a psychiatrist could help me I guess. I feel foolish to be writing this even but my wife has convinced me I might be happier if I could get past this in life.
Jill Palmer Says ...
Thank you for the question. It sounds like you have a little social anxiety (without getting more information) which is very common. I have several male engineer clients who have a similar issue that are you describing and it is possible to change. You can absolutely work on overcoming your public persona and start being more genuine in all environments. I agree that working on this issue will bring you more happiness since you will be more you, more of the time. You will also be modeling how to overcome fear and how to be more happy for your children.
You can go to a psychiatrist and try medication or you can go to a licensed counselor, social worker, or psychologist and work on skills for social anxiety. You can also buy a workbook on social anxiety to learn more about it and to start working on concurring it. Good luck!