Make a Friend, Bond Over Social Anxiety

Research suggests that making a new friend doesn't have to be anxiety-inducing, just bond over your shared social anxiety.

Finding friends can be tough after college, but research led by Eliane M. Boucher of Providence College has found bonding over shared social anxiety can help build a foundation of platonic companionship. So, forgo trying to break the ice by finding a common interest in Battlestar Galactica or a fondness over Revolutionary War reenactments, and talk about how comfortable or uncomfortable you feel about social interactions.


Melissa Dahl from NYMag writes on the study, published in the journal Personal Relationships, that investigated how 56 same-sex friendships took off when people were paired with similar and dissimilar levels of levels of social anxiety. The participants were paired off randomly, it was only until after four weeks had passed that Boucher determined their levels of social anxiety through a questionnaire, plus an additional survey to assess how close they felt to their new buddy.

After an additional six weeks had passed, Boucher and her team interviewed the participants again, asking how close they felt to their friend. As suspected, those with similar levels of social anxiety (whether high or low) tended to be more closely bonded that those with dissimilar levels.

The researchers wrote:

“...friends matched on [social anxiety] experienced increased closeness and decreased uncertainty over the six weeks, suggesting [social anxiety] similarity may become increasingly important as friendships develop.”

It's nice to know that those of us who feel anxious about meeting people aren't doomed to become just another Forever Alone meme.

Read more at NYMag.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

How KGB founder Iron Felix justified terror and mass executions

The legacy of Felix Dzerzhinsky, who led Soviet secret police in the "Red Terror," still confounds Russia.

Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Felix Dzerzhinsky led the Cheka, Soviet Union's first secret police.
  • The Cheka was infamous for executing thousands during the Red Terror of 1918.
  • The Cheka later became the KGB, the spy organization where Russia's President Putin served for years.
Keep reading Show less