To the Kid In High School With Social Anxiety: Here’s What Got Me Through

When I was in high school, I was so shy that it took effort to look someone in the eye. There were lunch periods I spent by the lockers or in a bathroom stall because, in the cafeteria, it felt like there were so many eyes on me. With close friends and family, I was actually funny, but I could barely muster a smile when I passed acquaintances in the hall. Some called me shy. Some called me a snob. But what I remember most is how suffocating high school felt. I felt squeezed with the expectations of others — some real, some in my own mind. But the pressure around me was so suffocating that I could barely be in my own skin, let alone figure out who I really was. I felt like one person at home — brave, funny, genuine — and a shell of a person at school.

At the end of my sophomore year, I learned from a psychologist that what I had was called “social anxiety.” In some ways, the label made it easier to cope. But, in many ways, I didn’t gain the perspective and confidence I needed to live confidently with the condition until I was in my late 20s.

You will have your own story. Your condition might not look exactly like mine. But my heart is full of so many truths I wish I’d known during the long days of high school. Can I share them with you?

1. Muster a smile and eye contact.

That might feel like a lot. For me, it was. But people want to feel like you like them. A smile can go a long way in making a positive connection with another person. And I mean, what bad thing can they say? “Dude, that guy totally smiled at me!” If they did say something like that, well then, they really need to get a life.

Lindsay Hausch
Lindsay has been married to her hunky pastor husband for almost 8 years. They have two beautiful girls and a weiner dog. She’s a coffee drinking & cupcake loving wordsmith. She loves leading, speaking and inspiring others to love well. Visit her corner of the world at her blog (, or on Facebook (

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