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Why do I isolate myself and avoid going outside

So for as long as I can remember I have avoided going outside or to public places alone in what I think is fear that I would run into people I know. I think part of the fear is that I worry that I look like a loser being by myself or that others will judge me for doing what i’m doing outside wether its going grocery shopping or going for a jog. I worry about my appearance too worrying that along with looking like a loser I also look ugly and others are judging me for that. I know this is all completely irrational as most people wouldn’t give you a second look or care for what you’re doing in public but I constantly worry about it in public and if I am made to go outside in public, as in my parents ask me to go down and buy some more milk, I feel anxious because I know lots of people who went to my highschool work at the grocery store. I ushually try and suck it up but while i’m in the environment I get aggravated and want to go home as soon as I can. I don’t feel this feeling as much if I’m out in public with a friend but do if i’m out with my mum or dad as I feel it makes me look like I have no friends and that i’m weird being 19 still going out with my parents; which again i know is dumb because I love my parents and rationally I know no one cares if I’m out with them. I’m just wondering if anyone else has similar feelings or if these might be signs of social anxiety

Re: Why do I isolate myself and avoid going outside

Hey @anonymousgirl101

I graduated high school a while ago and I still feel the same way about running into people I went to school with! I have even mastered the whole no eye contact keep moving strategies. For me its just so awkward as high school wasn't the best time for me and I don't want to relive it. Saying that sometimes I will say hi to my old classmates depending on how I am feeling but I never stay and chat.

No one ever judges people for being alone in public, it might feel like it but everyone is too busy in their own minds caring what other people think about them. For me personally I love shopping alone as its really therapeutic and relaxing, I also really enjoy going for walks alone as it means I can focus on myself and the nature around me, but then that's just me.

ReachOut has an article about Social Anxiety here that might be worth checking out. You could also chat to a counselor about how you are feeling and they could give you some strategies on how to handle these feelings.

Whatever it takes I know I can make it through!

Re: Why do I isolate myself and avoid going outside

Hey @anonymousgirl101, I think this is a really important topic to generate some discussion about, so thanks so much for sharing your story! It definitely sounds like a difficult thing you're going through - did it feel like this before you graduated, or is it just mainly wanting to not run into people that you've known in highschool since graduation? I think running into people from highschool after graduation is definitely a situation that some people seek to avoid, especially if they feel like they've changed somewhat since grad and don't want to be associated with the image of themselves from high school. Is this a perspective that you think you can relate to?

Let me know how everything goes Smiley Happy

Re: Why do I isolate myself and avoid going outside

I understand where you’re coming from but really its been like this for as long as I remember. When I’m in public I just continuously think about the way I appear to everyone else around me. Being at school I didn’t worry as much and I think that was because I was made to be there just like all the other kids, and because I was going every day so I got used to it. I also don’t so much worry about any random people seeing me in public, its more so worried that people I know or that know me from school will see me, and I think I’m worried they will judge me in some way.


Re: Why do I isolate myself and avoid going outside

Well i’ve only been out of highschool for about half a year now and I think the problem stems maybe more so on my lack of confidence and maybe self esteem and worry for what other people think of me rather than a worry of reliving highschool or anything like that.
Yeah I also like taking walks by myself, and I feel like I understand thats its not weird to walk by myself on a trail for exercise but I still worry about my looks and generally just being seen by people I know. Its confusing and I wish I knew better why I was so worried and how I can not be so I can just start exercising again.
Thanks for the reply I will check that article out Smiley Happy

Re: Why do I isolate myself and avoid going outside

Hi there @anonymousgirl101


I totally understand what you're going through. I myself hated going outside until recently. I am always terrified of seeing the people I went to high school with, even if I was 'friends' with them back then. I don't know why I get anxious when seeing them, I just pray that they don't see me or approach me to chat. 


I hated going outside because I had no friends, no one to do anything with. However when I was overseas, I loved going out by myself. I thought to myself that I was never going to see these people in my life ever again so who cares. That was the approach I took when I was abroad so I was like why not do it here. I just began going out by myself, I act like a tourist and imagine that I'm going to leave the place soon. 


I guess what I'm saying is try 'tricking' your brain so you're less anxious when going outside. I assume you don't want to be a shut in and never go outside, so practice makes perfect! Go to place where you know 100% your high school people won't ever visit, like a stupid local park. Just go and sit there for a while, get use to the feeling of being outside. And slowly go to places that are more crowded until you have to confidence to go to places like the shopping centre.