View Full Version : Afraid of other people.

28 Aug 13, 20:44

I am fairly new to Buddhism and it is only recently that I have started actually pursuing it. I've been struggling with being afraid of people for a while now, not afraid in the sense I cannot leave my house or anything but just in unfamiliar social situations. I find it difficult to make eye contact or hold it, I am very introverted I suppose and dread meeting new people. I do love others, but I don't trust people. It takes me a painfully long time to be comfortable around someone new. Often times people think I am stuck up or snotty, which is sad for me as its not at all how I feel. If anyone has any advice on how to be more openly loving, or how I should confront the fear of others I would be most grateful. I have dealing with this myself for so long, I just think that getting outside opinions might be helpful. ;D Thanks !

28 Aug 13, 21:25
Hello and welcome, Azurewoodland :wave:

I understand what you mean about feeling anxious about new social situations but I think sometimes we don't always appreciate the fact that those other people might be feeling just as uncertain and shy as we are!

Perhaps doing some meditation practice regularly might help you to relax more? You only need do about 10 mins each session to begin with and we have a "meditation room" here with a timer you can use.


This is a nice little beginners meditation guide "Finding the Missing Peace" by Ajahn Amaro (who's the abbot of a monastery here in the UK) which you might like to browse:


I hope that helps a little.

With metta,

Aloka :hands:

28 Aug 13, 21:59
Hello! :up2:

All of these are irrational fears, that if we continue judging will only increase. Let's say that in psychology and such they can be called ocd, social anxiety, and many others. I have learned myself after having anxiety, to instruct through the dharma and through mindfulness and compassion (for others but also for yourself) you can identify and surpass this fear.

Don't try to erase it from your life, simply don't let it be an obstacle. For example, meet new people in an environment you like! Be mindfull and so you'll be able to contemplate when the fear and anxiety arise. DO NOT JUDGE IT. Don't participate in it. Just be spontaneous, keep talking to the people and shortly the fear will start decreasing more and more. That's how all fears disappear :)

Of course, meditation will speed up the process!


29 Aug 13, 04:00
I do love others, but I don't trust people. It takes me a painfully long time to be comfortable around someone new. Often times people think I am stuck up or snotty, which is sad for me as its not at all how I feel.
Welcome AzureWL

In my opinion, there is nothing inherently wrong with being cautious around people we do not know well.

This link (http://www.budsir.org/Part2_3.htm#16), titled 'The company one keeps', summarises some teachings from the Buddhist scriptures about friendship (found here (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/dn/dn.31.0.nara.html)).

Kind regards

Element ;D

29 Aug 13, 04:02
I definitely agree that meditation will help. I also think that in conjunction with that you need to make a big effort to be friendly around new people. Maybe go places and/or do activities in which you will meet a lot of people. If in fact of course you really want to be much more friendly and sociable when first meeting someone.

I've struggled with the same issue. I can still be shy. Meditation helped this a lot but I also took a job working at an environmental nonprofit in which I canvass door to door. So I was basically forced to learn how to be friendly with strangers. This helped me just as much as the meditation I think if not more.

You can definitely overcome your fear you just need to find the motivation to do it. Since you're asking for advice I'd say you definitely have motivation.

30 Aug 13, 19:44
I agree that working with people has helped me open up. I'd suggest finding a job that forces you to speak to people, as Trilaksana suggested. I've also found that putting on an accent has helped me talk to people. When talking to strangers I'll often add a drawl to my voice. And for whatever reason (perhaps its allows me more time to think of what to say since there's a drawl) it really helps. Best of luck =-)

30 Aug 13, 21:16
I have dealing with this myself for so long, I just think that getting outside opinions might be helpful.
Hi Azurewoodland

I too found it difficult, as most people do. We can examine our mind when we are uncertain in regard to eye contact, and what caused it.

The Buddha taught IIRC there are four causes of 'self-certainty':

1. Knowing one's state or condition in regard to what ignorance is still left in the mind.
2. Knowing one's state or condition in regard to what wisdom is in the mind.
3. Knowing the five hindrances.
4. Knowing the Dhamma.

Often times people think I am stuck up or snotty

Icarus Hawk
14 Sep 13, 16:19
Hello Azure,
I feel for your challenge. I went through a long period of this myself. A couple of things that helped me allot.

As others have mentioned Meditating/ mindfulness regularly will help to create some space around the anxious thoughts. If it is your intention to connect with life now soon you will catch the anxious thinking pattern before it even gets started. There are many books on mindfulness and meditation you can read. "Stamp out hesitation before it grows into fear."

Taking a compassionate approach towards yourself and your mind is a must. To see these thinking patterns and the energies that accompany them as simply expressions of life that come and go rather than forces that must be cut out of your mind is the path of non-harming. In other words this experience is human, it is ok to feel this way. When you begin to hold yourself and your mind in this compassionate way peace begins to spring up in you and soon you offer this same compassion and non harming to others. "The nature of fear is that it feeds itself. Under proper conditions, it feeds itself incredibly quickly. Reason is not fast enough to stamp out fear. That is the mistake most of us make. Do not argue with fear. Wipe it from your mind the instant you recognize it. Practice. Become skilled at recognizing the earliest symptoms. The only way to deal with fear is by reflex. Stop it. Wipe it out. Shoot first, ask questions later."

After practicing with mindfulness and compassion I think there will begin to be some room for something else, a different approach. Most people in this technological age don't know how to carry a conversation and most people aren't taught great social skills. So, that being said there are some great books out there for becoming more skillful at relating and conversation. I highly recommend How to Win Friends and Influence People. I know the name sounds funny but it offers some keystones to relating effectively. Here is a free version of the book, and if pdf versions arent your thing you can find the book for cheap at a website called Alibris.

Best of luck, and know that you're not alone


13 Aug 15, 09:56
Hi Icarus,

I read your response and this has made me gain a new perspective.

You are right, fear feeds itself and it's very fast. Reason doesn't help most of the times.

However, what if you feel that it's justified? That the fear is very much necessary? Who is saying this? Me or the fear or the ego? I would like to know your perspective.

17 Aug 15, 15:39
Hi Harmony,

If you look at the dates on the posts you will see that post #8 from Icarus Hawk was written two years ago and he hasn't been here since 2013,, so you may not get a reply.

With kind wishes,

Aloka :hands:

Happy Frog
18 Aug 15, 22:39
;D Hello Aloka and everyone else.

It's been about two years (2013) since I also joined a Buddhist forum in order to find answers and alleviate my suffering, exactly like Azurewoodland.

So although it seems Azurewoodland may not be around to read this, I'll post this just for relevance and see if anyone will "salute it", and also in the off chance Azurewoodland may stop by from time to time. I posted the following in that particular forum a short while ago (2015) after about two years after the first post (2013) I mentioned above:

"In order to help seekers find a way to eliminate suffering we must offer, if not concrete solutions (which disappoints so many), then hope. And, yes, I've found hope can cause pain, but when understood the pain is a sweet understanding that it is part of a spectacular journey."

In various posts (in 2015) I attempted to relay my experiences since my first post in 2013 (describing my pain), followed by some learning and insights I'd had in the subsequent two years. Primarily however, I tried to transmit what I'd learned at www.wrongplanet.net, a site created and populated by people with Asperger's Syndrome (and associated disabilities). I'd spent pretty much my entire life as Azurewoodland had described. I'd followed an unhappy poster (at the mentioned Buddhist site) looking for surcease of sorrow (to a mentioned "wrong planet" online site) and found something I never expected: My strong introversion was also part of my Asperger's Syndrome ;D; (which I'd never known about). What a relief to know what had been "dogging" me my entire life.

And now I'd found the source of the frustration and pain; what a release. I post this with the hope this understanding and "release" were available to all people seeking less pain.

:hands: Namaste all.

So I offer a partial answer to others who may arrive with the same pain and questions such as those brought here by Azurewoodland.

18 Aug 15, 23:07
Hi Happy Frog,

Thank you for your comments. However, I doubt that Azurewoodland's one post, which was written at the beginning of this topic two years ago, describing his anxiety when in unfamiliar social situations, was necessarily an indication of Aspergers Syndrome or Autism. If it had been, I would have suggested he seek professional help.

There are likely to be a variety of reasons why people might develop difficulties in these circumstances, but its not my function here to try to psychoanalyse the members of the group, nor should it be anyone else's.

We also have a clause in our Code of Conduct for the website (no 22) which relates to people who may need help because they are suffering from mental health issues.

I am really glad that you have resolved your own difficulties, Happy Frog, and I wish you all the very best.

I think its time this thread was closed now.

With kind wishes,

Aloka :hands: