Saturday, 19 October 2013

'Safe' people and what that means

As requested by Matt79. As it turns out this is harder to describe than I thought it would be, I think the easiest simple explanation is that safe people are to me what a favourite blanket or particular stuffed toy is to a child-security. I can go pretty much anywhere and do what I need to if I have a safe person with me, I don't need them glued by my side just the knowledge they're there and I can find them if I need to is enough. Examples of things I can do comfortably with safe people but freak me out on my own:
Going to a movie
Going to any sports/social event (although even with a safe person crowds freak me out a bit)
Going out to eat
Catching public transport

Actually the list is pretty hugely long, the only things I don't do with a safe person are at home (another safe place)-I quiet often spend most of my time alone at home. It's a bit like giving yourself a needle, nearly everyone is capable of doing it, nobody wants to do it and if you don't have to you avoid it as best you can, that's what doing stuff without my safe person is like. Of course if I can catch the train with a safe person it stands to reason I can do it by myself, but its an anxiety inducing thought so I avoid doing so. Worst still is the fact that even if I force myself to do it a few times it doesn't seem to make it all that much better, I'm apparently hard to desensitise. And then theres the fact that in social situations if I was as confident as I am with a safe person it'd go just as well as when I had my safe person, unfortunately I'm not so I get all nervous and say stupid things and sweat. A safe person is basically someone I trust implicitly to back me up, for example my friend K is like half a safe person, I don't trust her to back me up implicitly and sometimes she'll make a bit of fun or not want to leave when I'm uncomfortable, therefore most of our outings (few and far between) have an undercurrent of anxiety and tension from me. So it's very hard for me to imagine doing everyday things that a lot of people take for granted, I've found a lot of info on social anxiety on the net but not such a lot of info on 'safe' people-I'm assuming it's either not all that common or most people with anxiety don't have the luxury of having safe people. I think safe people might actually be a section of agoraphobia-instead of a safe place you have a safe person. I'm not entirely sure.
Hopefully that makes things a bit clearer,


  1. Thanks for writing this post - it's cool that you're happy to take post requests! I'm curious about something though: how does someone become a safe person for you? I understand that they need to build that trust with you, but is it always about knowing them for a certain length of time, or just establishing a certain connection with them? For example, if you tried online dating and found someone who seemed cool and spent a while emailing with them, could they become a safe person before you met? Or if you were looking for a travel partner, how much would they need to do to become a safe person (and hence someone you could travel with)?

  2. LOL I feel like a musician taking requests ;) Basically I'm not sure outside of family how I make these connections.........but I've never made one without at least spending some time with someone first. Knowing someone online would give me the confidence to meet and see if we clicked I guess. Here's an example of how I could form a safe person:
    Meet briefly at ,say, a horse show, chat a bit, make a time to go look at this persons horses, feel the click and then form a stronger attachment over a few weeks. I really can't even remember how I met any of my friends, which is probably a bit weird.I'd say to travel with someone I'd need to know them at least a few months and be confident of their character. Ideally I'd like to get rid of my need for a safe person altogether-it's too restrictive.

  3. Hi. Fellow older virgin and former anxiety-suffer here. I've been reading your blog for a little while and decided to comment. Anyway, I think I kind of get what you mean about having safe people. When my anxiety was at its worst, I would find myself feeling terrified in certain situations, if I was alone. But if I was in that situation with someone that I was close to and trusted, then the situation wasn't so terrifying. I could get through it. Sometimes I could even enjoy it. Maybe that's similar to what you experience? I have a feeling other people who experience anxiety have "safe people" as well, even if they don't call them that.

    Anyway, just wanted to say hello and that I'm enjoying reading your blog! :-)

    1. That's exactly it :) I'm glad your enjoying the blog, feel free to just say hello anytime :))