Social anxiety and having no work friends?

Nurses Stress 101


Hi all! I know there is another post about social anxiety but my situation seems quite different so that's why I'm just posting my own. I know that I've had social anxiety since I was a child. I've also struggled with depression as well. All my life I've tried pushing through it but in truth seeking out conversation with my peers is really hard for me because I am so nervous about saying the wrong thing or acting awkward that I tend to well... say the wrong thing or act awkward. Sometimes when it gets too overwhelming for me I can zone out and get into my own world and stop contributing to group conversations, so I can see them seeing me as disinterested. My social anxiety and depression got so bad last year when I first started my nursing career that I gained 20 pounds and even started having thoughts that the world would be better off without me. Needless to say I sought out therapy. So far my depression has mostly lifted but my anxiety is still a major issue with work. I see my therapist every other week but truth be told, some weeks are better than others in terms of my confidence. When I walk into a room only a handful of other nurses will acknowledge me, I always have to say hello first. I put on my best friendly face but it really feels to me at times that everyone I work with dislikes me. I of course know that isn't true because some people do talk to me. I'm a people pleaser so when I believe that a person doesn't have a good impression of me I go out of my way to try to talk to them. I try to strike up conversation with certain people and only get one worded answers and they never ask about me. It's just so hard because I know that I am a good person. When my coworkers gossip I don't engage and I'm helpful whenever I see an opportunity to be. I honestly don't know what to do. Mentally I'm doing so much better than last year, but I fear that because when I first started and had such bad depression and anxiety that even though I'm better now, I've sealed my fate. Should I quit and start with a new slate somewhere else? Is it possible to dig myself out of a social grave?

Have Nurse, ADN, RN

3 Articles; 719 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg/Infection Control/Geriatrics.

No. Don't quit. It sounds like you are doing fine with how you approach others and your work. It's hard to be new anywhere so some anxiety is really pretty normal. I do not mean to diminish your battle that guided you to seek out help. Just want to say that having "work friends" isn't the end-all be-all. You are there for the patients first. Be polite, and helpful when you can to your colleagues, but don't expect too much from them. They have their own stress.

Keep on your healing path! Best to you!!!

Sending a hug your way!


3 Posts

There are different things to talk to with different coworkers. Some cook and will bring food to share at work or talk about food all the time. Others (dear Jesus) talk about their kids in the break room during lunch every time and will show you their kids on their phone every time you walk past them. Then there's the ones that will joke and think everything about them is the most important thing going on right now. That's probably me. But I'm probably cursing and in a bad mood because nothing in the place is working, we're short staffed, I didn't sleep, and I helped a coworker earlier and now I'm seriously behind and no one is around to help me in return. Lol. But that's what team work is. When you get the hang of the job, your coworkers will start talking to you more and asking for your help "hey where is this? How do you do this? Who is that guy? What would you do if you were in this situation? Hey can you help me? Can you cover me while I eat breakfast?" "...You get BREAKFAST?!" Yep. Be super friendly to the newcomers that come behind you and build on their friendship and find one or two oldies whose work ethic and pull you like the most on the floor and friend them with goodies (candies, coffee - don't be spending too much money and time on it!) and the rest will come around. But you can't win everyone. Some people just come to work, face forward, and get out to avoid the drama. Don't sweat it. It's not you.


29 Posts

I know I'm late to the party, and I don't have much to add other than the fact that you are not alone. I feel the same way every time I walk into a room. I get tunnel vision and overthink others perception of me. It is debilitating-had it all my life. I guess it never goes away, but we get better and managing it.


163 Posts

Specializes in Peds.

The only way I can see managing my social anxiety is through working one on one private duty


2 Posts

I know this post is older, but I was searching out if anyone else was having this problem. I've had a long history with depression and anxiety, but I've been able to deal with it. I recently did a complete change to what I was doing. I was a nursing supervisor, night shift at a small acute care hospital. Now I'm working as clinic RN, day time at several different clinics being floated around. I been there more than 6 months now and it's been so stressful keeping up with everyone. Night shift, I only interacted with 16 staff tops and most patients are asleep. Now I have to deal with a lot of patients, more co workers, management, Drs etc. My social anxiety is through the roof. It feels like it's my first day over and over. I keep thinking no one likes me because I'm awkward, the Dr's hate me and none of them hardly remember my name because I hardly conversate. I feel bad watching everyone socialize and I try to, but it doesn't last long. I do the tunnel vision, try to concentrate on what I'm doing and when I do that people think there's something wrong with me. Another co worker is awkward and everyone gossips about how she's on drugs. Which I know she's not, were all just going through personay things. People tell me to loosen up and I try, but it's so hard. I even started taking my old anxiety medicine, but it was such a bad idea because it's been giving me brain fog and I been feeling even worse because of that. Some of the Dr's question me to my co workers since I don't talk a lot and they can tell I'm timid and I feel even more horrible. I know I'm a great nurse and I worked my way up to be a supervisor at my other job. I did great at my other job, but it was getting boring and night shift was getting too hard on my body. I hope everything gets better for everyone dealing with social anxiety because it really, really sucks! 


+ Add a Comment

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X