People with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) typically experience their relationships with others with a high level of trepidation and bring their anxieties into their work with professionals. We have written this paper to describe experiences of working with people with diagnoses of OCD and the impression that we have formed about the kinds of relationship that builds up in the early stages of this work. We believe that it is important to consider the quality of these professional relationships because of their impact on the patient's ability to benefit from whatever intervention we propose. Here, we place particular attention on the roles of magical thinking, disturbed relationships and the fear of rejection. The perspective presented here is designed to complement those of other approaches to OCD – including the neurological, behavioural and cognitive-behavioural. The following themes relating to the social and interpersonal experiences of people with OCD are examined here: (a) their general tentativeness and uncertainty in social interactions, (b) their fear of being damaged by others in social interactions, (c) their magical thinking relating to damaging others.