Students with social anxiety should not feel alone on campus




We are far enough into the school year that most people have found their friend group, but some of us are still lingering around waiting for someone else to pull us into their group of friends.

For people with social anxiety, it can be terrifying to approach new people, even if it is just to say, hello. Many people take this quietness and inability to hold a conversation as rude, but really it is the opposite. We are nice people. We just get nervous when people talk to us unexpectedly.

According to, social anxiety causes “the fear of interaction with other people that brings on self-consciousness, feelings of being negatively judged and evaluated, and, as a result, leads to avoidance.” The website goes on to state how social anxiety disorder is the third largest psychological problem in the U.S..


The Anxiety and Depression Association of America estimates about 15 million adults in the U.S. have social anxiety disorder and  the onset of social anxiety may begin around the age of 13 and last for 10 or more years, meaning that college-age adults are particularly vunerable.

On a daily basis I see students sitting alone in the dining hall, rushing to eat and get out of there. I’m not one to judge because I am guilty of this. I even make it a point to sit in a corner away from the majority of the people.

Not only does social anxiety hold people back from making friends, it can have other significant negative implications. It can be so severe that students begin skipping class to avoid social interaction, leading to a decrease in grades and an increase in dropout rates, according to

As one of these people, I can assure you we aren’t opposed to making friends. We just don’t know how. We would rather have people approach us than have to approach them. We may be awkward and quiet at first, but we need someone else to pull us out of our shell. You could be sitting alone in dining halls on campus because all your friends are busy, but it could also be a sign that you are suffering from a real disorder.

Speaking from experience, I don’t enjoy sitting alone. I would like for others to push me to leave my comfort zone. If they can get past the initial shyness and awkwardness, they would realize I’m really fun and outgoing. I am not a quiet person, but I may come off that way at first. I’m the loudest person ever, according to my best friend from high school, but only when I’m with people I’m comfortable with.

So, if you are one of these people who sits alone, I know it may be difficult and nerve-wracking to put yourself out there and ask to sit with a group of people, but chances are they will gladly let you join them. And if you are someone who sees another person sitting alone in the dining hall, ask them to come sit with you.