At some point in life, you just decide you do not want to interact. Being reclusive can be influenced by many factors from parent loss, economic sabotage to other daily worries. Reclusiveness can be a sign of something more serious, though. Social anxiety is one of the most common mental illnesses, but it’s still poorly understood outside of scientific circles. The good news is that it’s highly treatable, according to Stefan G. Hofmann, the director of the Social Anxiety Program at Boston University, Stefan Hofmann says,
“People are social animals, and we have a strong desire to be part of a group and to be accepted by the group. Social anxiety is a result of the fear of a possibility that we will not be accepted by our peers. It’s the fear of negative evaluation by others, and that is [part of] a very fundamental, biological need to be liked. That’s why we have social anxiety.”
You can be your neighbour’s therapist. However, what you need to happen is tell him/her to face the anxiety. What you do is called cognitive behavioral therapy, a non-medication option which is more effective in the long term than medical treatment. This method helps to identify what kinds of thoughts people have in these situations, what sort of drives the anxiety.
Then you gradually challenge these maladaptive thinking patterns by asking your neighbour to engage in what is called exposure practices, where s/he exposes herself to these situations repeatedly and for a long period of time so that she can realize that nothing bad is happening.