Real Talk: Social Anxiety, Infidelity and Creepy Coworkers

How does one make friends when they have social anxiety? I’m a sophomore and I haven’t seemed to find my ‘group’ yet. Every time I try to go to clubs and campus events to meet new people, I either can’t bring myself to go in, or am so shy I struggle to converse with people.

I completely understand this situation! I struggled with this for a large chunk of time when I started college – especially since everything was virtual for the first year (yay 2020 grad!). I also grew up in a small village where everyone knew each other since we had been together since kindergarten, so I had no idea how to make new friends in a completely new environment. 

I admire your bravery to take the first step to try and attend campus social events. It’s so easy to RSVP or plan for an event, and then cancel at the last minute from nerves (I used to do that a lot). 

In my experience, I found that changing my mindset has made a huge difference to my personal social climate at college. It took a lot of work (and a lot of stress), but I’ve been trying my best to have the most positive and open mindset each day, internally and externally. Oddly enough, this has led me to making a lot of connections and friends throughout the semester! The best part was, I didn’t have to put in the effort and go out of my way to make these connections – they just kind of “happened” because I wanted them to! This really helped me get out and stay out of my shell and has made my social experience on campus much better. 

Something else to consider, as well – if you don’t have one already, getting an on-campus job could also help you feel more comfortable with the social climate at college. It could be something as simple as being a receptionist for one of the student offices – you’ll interact with people in a work setting, and since you have an “agenda” you have to follow, it won’t be as intimidating as standing in a room of people and trying to make conversation. This helped me out a lot too! 

Finally – don’t give up! It takes much longer than it seems to find your place and your people in college, but when you do, it’s incredibly rewarding! Keep putting yourself out there as much as you can and stay positive! 

Advice on infidelity in a serious relationship? Recently, my boyfriend went on vacation with his friends and cheated on me. He and his friends claim he was drunk and he didn’t remember anything. He immediately confessed to me and was deeply sorry. He does seem genuine, so I want to forgive him (even if it’s hard), but my friends are telling me otherwise. 

I’m sorry to hear that this happened to you – I can’t imagine the emotions you’re experiencing right now. This is a very complicated situation, and it’s difficult to know what the right thing to do for you is, especially with so many people telling you different solutions. 

In my opinion, being drunk/under the influence doesn’t justify an act of cheating. He made a decision to get that drunk in the first place and put himself in a situation in which he could cheat on you. No matter how sorry he may be, he still made those choices and has to deal with the consequences. 

My concern with staying in this relationship is that it will be very difficult for you both to move forward from this. In my own experience and in experiences from friends, that reminder of cheating doesn’t ever totally go away. It will take a lot of time to rebuild that trust, and it could lead to a lot of paranoia and stress for you when you are apart. You also may build resentment against him, which will strain the relationship as well. He may also struggle in the relationship in dealing with guilt from what he did, especially if he doesn’t remember it happening. 

However, none of this doesn’t mean you can’t forgive him. Forgiving doesn’t mean having to stick out the relationship (if that isn’t of interest to you) – it means providing yourself closure so you can move on from the situation. I think it’s possible to forgive someone of something like that… but it doesn’t mean you should push it under the rug and forget it. 

I recommend taking some space away from him (if you aren’t already), and processing what the best decision to make for yourself is. Maybe write about it or talk to your parents about it if you’re comfortable. Your friends are trying to look out for you, but they don’t know what’s truly best for you. And that may take some time and trial error for you to figure out as well. I hope these considerations help, and I hope that you’re able to move forward with this in a way that is healthiest for you! 

How to deal with a creepy coworker? This guy I currently work with is always making inappropriate comments about my appearance. I brought it up to my manager, and she said she would speak with him, but his behavior hasn’t changed. I’m fed up at this point. 

It’s so frustrating and discouraging when a coworker can tamper with an entire work experience in a negative way. I admire your courage to speak to your manager – that can be an intimidating thing to do. However, if his behavior hasn’t changed, I would check in with her and bring up the situation again – has she had the chance to talk to him? Does she know his behavior hasn’t changed?

If your manager still isn’t doing anything about it, this would be an appropriate time to contact HR. I know it can be intimidating, but remember you have the right to a safe work environment, and they should absolutely be sticking up for you in this situation. In fact, they may even appreciate you being proactive and stepping in before this individual has a chance to harm others.

A final tip: *don’t* confront this coworker directly, especially if you’re alone in a space with him. If he’s already stepping over boundaries, he may lash out at you if you bring it up with him, and your safety should come first. I know it can be tempting, especially if tensions are high, but it can cause more harm than good for you.