Social Anxiety and Neighborly Dilemma

By Amy Dickinson | October 24th, 2022

Welcoming newcomers without interacting

concerned woman Justlight Dreamstime. A woman with social anxiety wants to welcome new neighbors while discouraging in-person interactions. See what “Ask Amy” advises.

A woman with social anxiety wants to welcome new neighbors while discouraging in-person interactions. See what Amy Dickinson advises in this installment of “Ask Amy.”

Dear Amy:

I have severe social anxiety, especially since the pandemic.

I am extremely uncomfortable around anyone except my family.

My husband is very outgoing and enjoys meeting people.

New neighbors moved in next door (our driveways are right next to each other) and I’d like to welcome them with baked goods, but I don’t want them to come over to my house to thank me.

My thought was to send my husband over with the gift and attach a note saying something like this: “Welcome to the neighborhood. I have severe social anxiety, so cannot interact with you in person, but would love to meet you on the phone. My number is 123-123-1234.”

Do you think that would be too weird?


Dear Anxious:

Because you’ve asked, I’ll say that first – I think it’s great that you want to acknowledge and welcome these neighbors, even though the thought of it is triggering some rumination and worry for you.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to do anything at all to welcome these new neighbors, so this is a generous impulse. Surely your husband will greet and interact with them personally across the driveway.

Second – the way you’ve phrased your note is slightly weird (as you put it).

I’d suggest: “Welcome to the neighborhood. I have some health issues and am not interacting much outside of my immediate household, but I’m available by text or phone if you have any questions or just want to say ‘hi.’ Here’s our number: …”

Want to get even more life tips from Amy? Read more of her advice columns here!

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart – ranging from social anxiety to DNA surprises. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2022 by Amy Dickinson

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