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Relationship Anxiety Issues

What to do when you’re feeling anxious about relationships in your life

It is common to see clients that are experiencing some type of relationship anxiety. These relationships are often romantic, but they can also include friends, family, or coworkers. In fact, these anxieties are so common that most people who report regular stress in their life will say there is an issue in their close relationships as well. So if you are experiencing a difficult relationship, or regular anxiety in general, here are three ways to help.

Don’t avoid the anxiety issue

The first point is to be honest and ask yourself what exactly is making you anxious about the relationship. Avoidance and anxiety go hand in hand, so it’s important not to dance around the issue with yourself. Often we have difficulty admitting to ourselves what is bothering us because we feel it is stupid, not important, or makes us look weak in some way. If we’re not direct with ourselves, then the issue will continue to persist!


The next helpful point is communication. If there is anxiety surrounding a relationship, then in most cases communication can be improved as well. Ask yourself:

What do I want from this other person, specifically?

Often we have issues communicating because we do not know what we really want from the other person, which causes yourself and the other person to act defensively.

Are they able to provide me with what I am asking for?

If you do know what you want from them, but they are not able to provide it … well no wonder there’s an issue! In that case either adjust your request to something they can do, or ask to speak to someone that can provide you with what you are asking for.

Am I being absolutely clear and direct in what I am wanting from them?

Lastly, people accidentally make assumptions about what others want because the request is not clear. Think of it as a closing argument. It should be easy for the other person to know what you are wanting.

To have clear communication, a good format to follow is the DEAR approach from Dialectical Behavior Therapy. DEAR is an acronym that stands for: Describe (just the facts), Express (your emotion), Assert (clearly what you want), Reinforce (can be a positive or negative reinforcing sentence. Often “thank you for listening” will do). Each section can be one or two sentences, but it is important to communicate in this order, as others are more likely to hear your ask when it is presented in this way.

Self Care

It should come as no surprise that a poorly rested, lethargic, dehydrated, T.V. binge watching version of yourself is less likely to manage your relationships effectively. In order for you to be able to tolerate and consistently follow through with the two points above, making the time to take care of yourself is a priority.