How Can I Get Over My Fear Of Going Out By Myself?

Anonymous asks, quote:

How do I get over fear of going out in public alone? I use crutches and people harass me kind of a lot, either in a mean way or in a look‐how‐nice‐I‐am‐being‐to / yelling‐about‐religion‐to‐a‐cripple kind of way. One time, an old guy yelled god bless you at me maybe five times. It sounds lame, but I was terrified because I feel like I have to be nice when I want to yell.

end quote.

I had to sit and think about this one. I can offer straight‐forward advice on this issue. But, a lot of that advice hinges on the fact that I’m male and masculine‐presenting and I want to offer advice that works for everyone. So instead of focusing on the harassment, I’ll focus on your original question: how do I get over my fear?

Headphones

Get yourself a good pair of headphones. Something with good sound that can block out the city noises. I live in Seattle and headphones are as required for going out as a pants and a bus pass. Though, I’m sure I’ve seen at least one dude rocking nothing but a pair of Beats.

Your headphones will keep you focused on your goals and from feeling overwhelmed. Plus, it’s hard to hear someone scream Jesus loves you! over loud music.

Travel Along Familiar Routes

Go to stores by yourself that you’ve already visited with friends. Sure, new things are more interesting, but the goal is to remove anything that might cause anxiety. By going where you’ve already been, you’re reducing the amount of things you have to worry about.

Move With Confidence

You already know where you’re going and you know how to get there. The next step is to move from point A to point B with confidence. A steady gate and fluid movements will help you feel more in control of the situation as you travel.

Keep it Fun

Don’t only go out when you need to run an errand or complete some task. Overcoming your fears takes time and practice; the more you do it the easier it’ll become. Do you have a favorite coffee shop you go to with friends? Take the time to go there by yourself a few times a week. Get used to the feeling of being out by yourself and being comfortable in a space without someone with you. And when you get to there, put on your headphones and pull out a good book (or something). Don’t focus on who may or my not be looking at you.

Keep it Consistent

Create a routine and stick to it, even on the days you don’t feel like it. The days where your fear of going out are the strongest are the best days to actually go. Let the momentum of heading out the door carry you through that fear and uncertainty.

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