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Social Anxiety

The Hidden Costs of Social Anxiety

Plug these leaks and keep the money for better things 

Social anxiety costs you money, and you might unaware of it.


This is why I’m here. To bring this amazing awareness into your life so you feel worse about it!

No, I’m kidding, of course. Awareness is the first step in making adjustments and approaching the struggle from another angle, which I hope to shine a light on today.

In this article, we’ll talk about the 4 ways social anxiety costs you money (although I’m sure more will come to light) and how you can make sure you don’t fall for its trap anymore and keep your dinero to yourself-uh.

As a disclaimer, there’s the other side of the coin where spending money on helping your social anxiety is a just cause – seeking therapy, medication, and coaching. 

Your money is well spent in those areas.

Here are the 4 ways social anxiety costs you money:

1. The reluctance to return an item

The first way is the low-hanging fruit of returns, where you feel uncomfortable going back to a store to return an item that, you know, the sales clerk spent quite a lot of time trying to sell to you.

I’m sure you’ve experienced this: you’re at a store, you try on a million different shoes in never the correct sizes, and then instead of handing over a million boxes, saying thank you, and walking out of the store, you end up buying the shoes, but with the thought in the back of your mind that you’ll eventually return them.

And then you never do, well, because of social anxiety. What if “gasp” the same sales clerk is behind the counter when you do the return?! 

And they, of course, remember your nonsense! The horror!

This is the most common way social anxiety costs you money. Here’s how you can avoid getting stuck with a product you don’t want:

The best thing to do is, of course, to prevent this from happening. 

Don’t leave the store with a product you don’t want! You don’t have to lie say, “You’ve given me a lot to think about, and so I’ll take some time before I make a decision.” 

Or you can be honest and say, “I’m sorry, but none of these fit me as much as I’d love them too! Thank you so much for your guidance and support. 

The other way to get more comfortable returning items you don’t want (and haven’t used, of course) is to practice doing so. 

Bring someone along with you. Go when there’s no one in the store. See if you can return it via mail (although that will also cost you money). 

If you like the store, potentially ask for credit so you can spend it on something else – that way, you don’t feel bad for not supporting them.

2. The inability to negotiate fees/prices

Especially on products or services, you know you’re being overcharged. Or even worse, accepting an added fee or an upsell because you’re too timid to refuse the person. 

What will they think when you decline personal insurance on your child, who could technically wreak havoc in someone’s home?!

If you decline it, they might think you’re naive about life or a rich person who doesn’t care about replacing tv after tv after tv.

True story: here in the Netherlands, they ask if you want to add personal insurance when you open a bank account.

But you can probably relate to adding insurance on your tv, your couch, your carpet, etc., to avoid having that judgmental stare from the store employee, even though they couldn’t care less because they’re auto-mode going through their checklist when you check out.

They’re probably thinking about what they want to have for lunch, while you’re thinking that they’re thinking you’re an idiot for not insuring your toilet.

Also, in this same context, a mistake may have been made on a receipt.

You were charged more, or you were charged an overdraft fee (which you can always call to have overturned, but you won’t because you justify it that it’s your fault and you don’t want anyone to point that out to you, so you miss out on getting that money back).

Listen, my husband, the extrovert, will call for every little thing. He will negotiate fees, have them removed, and somehow turn any mistake into a reward. I….not so much. 

So I’m glad I have him in my corner to teach me the ways.

Here’s how you can avoid getting stuck with a product you don’t want:

Marry someone who loves handling these situations. 

Okay, no, but it’s about seeing it this way: it’s YOUR money. YOURS. Why are you giving it away for free? You worked for it, so you know what you want to spend it on. 

When your inner radar goes off and tells you NO, DON’T ADD INSURANCE. 

Say, “thanks, I’ll pass today.” Or “I’ll think about it.” But then you never think about it. You move on.

5 quick ways to manage social anxiety

5 Quick Ways To Manage Your Social Anxiety

There’s no substitute for effort, but you can speed up the process if you understand and take these 5 ways seriously. This is your starter pack; what you do with it is up to you.

3. Avoid calling to cancel a subscription/membership or appointment

This is the most inconspicuous way social anxiety costs you money. 

And this one can bite us in the butt in the long run. I know this all too well because this is the one I fall prey to the most.

A few months ago, I decided to see a physical therapist because of severe back pain. I needed to see if there was something they could do to help me because everything I had tried up to that point had failed.

So I made the appointment and showed up for the first session. Nothing happened other than being asked questions about my issue and overall health. 

They told me this was just the intake before we could get started, so you can imagine that I couldn’t judge the quality of the therapy.

So anyway, they charged me 80 bucks, which was a lot, but they told me the second appointment would be less. I said okay, let’s schedule the second one and see what happens.

A week later, I went for my second appointment. That’s when I realized the quality was pretty bad. I’ve done a lot of physical therapy in my life, so I know what physical therapy does and the different tools available.

And this was just, just pretty bad. In my mind, I was like, I’m just going to Google this and do it at home. I know I’m not going to get anything out of this, but I didn’t want to say that to her.

So, at the end of this second session, she wanted to make another appointment for the following week. She asked me, “When do you wanna come?”

Being the people pleaser I am, you know, on top of the social anxiety, I said I’d be available in two weeks.

Still, in the back of my mind, I’m like, I’m going to cancel it when I get home or tomorrow or whatever.

And then comes the fun part. Because if you’re an introvert or have social anxiety, picking up the phone is horrible. It’s anxiety-inducing. It’s not fun. You put it off; you do it until the last minute (which can also cost you a late cancellation fee).

So I knew I’d run into phone anxiety, yet my present self decided that my future self would have to deal with that struggle instead of simply telling the therapist that I didn’t want to schedule another session. 

Now, would that have been rude to do or the right thing? That’s up for debate.

So, I struggled a lot with calling and canceling. But I eventually did. The interesting part about the situation was that I tried to justify going to a 3rd appointment, even though I knew I wouldn’t get anything out of it. 

I was trying to trick myself into thinking something magical would happen the next time.

Maybe I’ll have this amazing insight, and my back will be fixed—anything to justify it so I wouldn’t have to call to cancel the appointment.

At this point, I realized that I only had two options. Either cancel the appointment or waste my time and money to attend it. 

So again, social anxiety would’ve cost me money because I was trying to get out of having to make that phone call and instead spend money on a 3rd, 4th, 5th, and eternity sessions.

Do you know what the best part of this whole situation is? I STILL ended up losing money. 

While I did end up calling to cancel without reason, I received a letter from my health insurance company telling me they needed the invoice to process the reimbursement. 

I sent them the receipt, not the invoice, which meant I had to call again to have the therapist’s office send me an invoice or make my way to the office in person.

And making my way to the office would have meant running into the therapist and having her ask me, “why aren’t you coming anymore?“. 

Well, at least in my head, I imagine she would have said something like that when probably, in reality, she wouldn’t have mentioned anything.

At this point, I was in limbo. The health insurance wouldn’t reimburse me without the official invoice, so I was out of this money.

 Did I want to risk running into the therapist so that I could potentially be reimbursed? See how social anxiety was costing me money and how it could be costing you.

Here’s how you can avoid ongoing unwanted subscriptions/memberships or appointments you don’t want to go to:

Take ownership of the scheduling for the appointments and put it on you. 

Don’t let someone else control your time or decide what you need. Only you can do that, and it will save you a lot of headaches in the long run. 

It’s better to call to make an appointment than to call and cancel (with the chance they’ll ask you when you want to reschedule, or worse, why you’re cancelling, or WORSE being charged a fee for cancelling, which has also happened to me here).

For the subscriptions/memberships – most of the time, you can cancel online, which is great, but some companies ask you to call (rightfully so because most people won’t). 

If you do have to call, script it out. Don’t allow them to change your mind. Write out what you want to say and be firm with your decision.

 For this, you can always have a handy excuse to give or be honest about why you’re cancelling. Most companies would appreciate the feedback and see it as doing them a service.

4. Lastly, the most impactful way social anxiety costs you money is by making it hard to ask for a raise, a promotion, or change jobs/companies.

This one needs its blog post because there’s a lot to unpack when it comes to social anxiety at work and how it prevents us from reaching our potential but from touching upon this for a second, you can see clearly how not asking for a raise or promotion is costing you money. 

Of course, other factors are involved in this scenario, but if you have the skills-driven social anxiety type, you have a hard time in this area and leave a lot of money on the table.

Here’s how you can minimize your loss: If you’re resentful about your position or salary, then take that as a signal that you’re leaving money on the table. 

If you feel like you’re working a lot and not being compensated fairly, but you’re too scared to ask for more, take it as a sign that you need to find a strategy to do so, and fast. 

The longer you wait to manage your social anxiety, the more money you leave on the table. 

You may not realize it, but fear of social interactions can cost you bigly. As we’ve seen, you might not be able to ask for returns on a product you bought online or call a company to fix fees that have been incorrectly charged to your account. 

Or maybe you’re afraid to ask for a raise at work because you don’t want to come across as needy or aggressive.

It’s as if it’s sneaking around, making holes in our pockets, and we become aware of it too late. And even if we are aware of it, we feel powerless to face it.

As hard as it is in the moment to speak up, remind yourself that it can get out of control fast and will cost you more in the long term.

Be willing to be awkward from the beginning because it will feel like total CRINGE later. I’d love to know if your social anxiety costs you money.

In this post, I talk about the 4 ways social anxiety is costing you.

  • Going for returns
  • Inability to negotiate fees/prices
  • Avoid calling to cancel an appointment
  • Not being able to ask for a raise/promotion

I'm Roxana

I went from being scared to ask a question out loud to hosting summits online. I love coffee, french crepes, and working from home. My mission? Help others build their social confidence to make friends, have conversations, and be comfortable around people!

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5 quick ways to manage social anxiety guide

There’s no substitute for effort, but you can speed up the process if you understand and take these five ways seriously.
5 quick ways manage social anxiety