Social anxiety


So today I had an appointment to get my hair done as I am going to a festival next week. I had already paid the deposit. I love getting my hair done but never do it because it makes me too anxious. The thought of a hairdressers sends me into a compete panic, so much so that I haven’t went in 6 years. Which has resulted in many bad, personally inflicted, dye jobs and haircuts over the years, that i’ll spare you the details of.  

I stand outside the door ready to go in, the salon is packed. I find myself doing a lap around the block, giving myself more time to mentally prepare what i’m going to say and the route I will take to the front desk.  I try to hype myself up to go in, but to no avail. No matter what I do I can genuinely not bring myself to walk in and get my hair done. 

I have so many thoughts. I’m worried I’ll ask for the wrong thing, that I won’t be able to make conversation, that they won’t be able to do what I want, that I have my appointment mixed up. I can not make it through the door. I am in full fight or flight mode with my adrenaline feeling like it is about to bust out of every pore in my body. After 10-15 minutes (and therefore becoming 10-15 minutes late for the appointment, which only adds to my anxiety) I give up and get the bus home instead. On top of the disappointment I am feeling for letting myself down I am also guilty about wasting an appointment for the hairdresser, who will have lost a profit as a result of this.

The thing is, it wasn’t the salon being packed that I was really that worried about, it was the one to one talking that would take up around an hour that most terrified me. The thought of talking to a stranger for that long makes me feel so incredibly anxious, the fear of not knowing what to say, or how to say it, of talking too much or too little. 

A hair appointment may seem insignificant, it’s not a necessity.  I understand that. However, this is just an example and it is not just hair appointments that make me feel this way but all one to one encounters. This can be anything as unimportant as a hairdressing appointment to an important doctors appointment or a one on one session with a teacher. People mostly think social anxiety just has to do with big crowds and is to some extent, but it is also to do with just talking to people one on one, in fact I feel like that brings me more pressure and anxiety. 

So anyway, today I have missed a hair appointment, last week I missed an exercise class (that I really enjoy) because I just couldn’t face the thought of people that day. It is a continuous uphill battle; some days are good, and some days are bad. Today wasn’t good, but hopefully tomorrow can be better. 


  1. Between Two Poles says:

    I’m so sorry you had that experience. Social anxiety is rough. I have some anxiety around people, but I prefer one-on-one interactions. Sometimes what helps me is to “script” how I think an interaction will go. “I’ll open with this, and they’ll probably say x or y, and I’ll say this.” I do it for a few iterations, and it really helps me prepare. The only down side is the other person rarely follows the script, and I sometimes struggle with communicating extemporaneously. The thing that has helped me most has been exposing myself to anxiety-provoking situations and slowly working on becoming more comfortable in those situations. If there are people with whom you are comfortable, you can ask them to help you practice or prepare. It’d be very brave and vulnerable, but you could also try writing a short letter to your future hairdresser explaining how social anxiety affects you. Hairdressers are some of the kindest and understanding people (they have to be or they’d never keep any clients). Just some ideas. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aoife says:

      I also work out a “script” in my head before I go into one on one situations where I feel uncomfortable, but as you mentioned I also know that the conversation rarely goes the way I’ve intended which makes me anxious! I completely agree with what you said about exposing myself to anxiety provoking situations in order to improve my anxious feelings. I try my best to not shy away from these things although as it is evident in this post sometimes I let my anxiety get the better of me! I like the idea of writing a letter before hand, my mother has had the same hairdresser for years that we have grown up with and I’m sure she would be understanding of a letter if I wrote one! Thanks for your advice, I really appreciate it!😊


  2. dharkanein says:

    Hey I am sorry to hear that. But I am in with you. Today I finally made it to the salon. After making up my mind from last 15 days. I get anxious of the strangers too. In salon particularly I get stuck from the thought of facing many people, talking to them and presenting myself in front of them, The posh the salon the greater my anxiety. But some how broke the ice and hope next appointment goes well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aoife says:

      It’s good to know I’m no the only one who experiences this! For some reason the salon is one of the places I get the most anxiety over visiting! I’m so glad to hear that you made it to the salon and managed to go in and do it, well done! I hope your next appointment is the same!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. dharkanein says:

    I hope so too. And believe me places with new people is such a pain in the neck. Some ti,es due to this I disappoint my children. Even a visit for PTM at the school is nerve wrecking. Oh Gosh! We need ea ch other’s support ’cause ‘normals’ do not understand. Even talking on the phone first time with anyone is also a great set back for me. Hope that is not strange.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aoife says:

      This is definitely not strange, in fact I can relate to you even more now! I also have a daughter and the thought of collecting her from play group every day is nerve wrecking for me as I never know what to say to her teachers! Also i can not even so much as make a food delivery over the phone without breaking a sweat! So I 100% relate to what you’re talking about!


      • dharkanein says:

        Oh then I am surely not alone in it. It is so relieving or I started believing I am cray…all weierd things happen with me. Thank you so much to say such nice words.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. hdfreyer70 says:

    I know how you feel – I usually keep very short hair and should get it cut like every 6 weeks and I ended up cancelling the day of and like you said not fair to the stylist – I told her about my anxiety and she gets it – she even offered to come to my house and cut it which I was floored – i also kinda have agoraphobia- which makes a lot of appointments hard —- I know how you feel and I so feel your pain and wish there was something I could say or do – except keep trying keep trying —- that’s what we need more support and to keep trying !!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aoife says:

      I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with this too, but it is always good to hear another persons story and experience, helps me feel like I’m not the only one! That was so nice of your hairdresser! I agree the best thing to do is just keep trying and not giving in to the anxiety, although it’s easier said than done! Wishing you all the best!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Johnzelle says:

    Thanks for sharing! I commend you for trying! Making small talk is the annoying part of going to the salon. Your post helped me to better understand social anxiety. Take care

    Liked by 1 person

  6. nataliewilde says:

    I just want to thank you for sharing this. I’ve suffered with extreme anxiety about going to the hairdressers and I thought I was the only one. Reading this has helped me accept myself and how I feel sometimes, so thanks 🙂


  7. Mike Ross says:

    What I do is get there 15 minutes before they open and try to be the first one in and out. Getting my hair cuts has stressed me out since I was a teenager and for decades I used to go there very drunk. Its not unusual to be out of your mind anxious in a place like that with mirrors and smiling, friendly people and “stuck” in a chair. I’m 60 now with much less hair and can almost manage it without it being a huge event but it still bothers me.


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