Characteristics Of Social Anxiety
Common characteristics of social anxiety include:
- Persistent fear about embarrassing yourself in front of others
- Avoiding situations where you worry about being judged
- Fearing that others will notice your anxiety
- Avoiding situations where you may be the center of attention
- Expecting to fail or be humiliated in social interactions
- Excessively analyzing your performance after a social interaction
Remind Yourself You Don’t Have To Tell Anyone
Telling someone is often helpful, but in the end it’s your decision. Even if some people are asking why you’ve been so quiet or flakey lately, you’re not obligated to give them an explanation. Even if your anxiety is really bad and many of your friends have already guessed what’s going on, there’s no law that says you have to say anything. Just knowing it’s still your choice may make you more comfortable delivering the news.
You Avoid Situations Even If You’ll Miss Out On Opportunities
When missing out on a social situation means missing out on a particularly fulfilling professional or personal opportunity, introverts are generally able to find the motivation to participate. Social anxiety, however, may be a roadblock.
” required to give a speech for a class or your work, but you find a way not to do it, even though it sets you back,” Rodebaugh says. “Many people dislike speeches and find them difficult, but if you are getting in your own way by avoiding them, it might be time to consider working on your social anxiety.” If you find you’ve skipped networking events, dinners, or other opportunities out of fear, then you may want to check in with a professional.
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What Can I Do About Social Anxiety Disorder
If your social anxiety keeps you from doing things you want or need to do, or from making or keeping friends, you may need treatment.
Talk about your fears and worries with a doctor or therapist who has experience treating social anxiety disorder. They will be able to tell if you have normal social anxiety or if you need treatment.
Only Saying Something If You Have To
You can use this one on a situation-by-situation basis. Go into the interaction with the intent to only tell people about your anxiety if your nerves get out of hand. If you turn out to be calmer than you expect, you don’t have to bring it up. But you know if the anxiety gets to be too much you can explain yourself, which should take away some of the pressure to hold it together. For example, “Ughh… sorry… I just gotta say I’m feeling a bit shy right now… I can be like that at first… but what were you telling me?…”
Similarly, you may decide to only talk about your anxiety if someone else comments on it:
- “You’re not saying much” – “Yeah, I can be shy in groups until I get to know everyone better.”
- “Whoa, you’re turning beet red” – “Ha ha, my face does that sometimes. I guess I’m feeling on the spot because everyone turned to listen to me tell my joke.”
- “You’re shaking”, “Yeah, to be honest I’m kind of nervous right now. Hopefully it’ll pass soon.”
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You Want To Go Out But Feel Unable To
While an introvert may avoid social situations in order to relax and recharge, a person dealing with social anxiety may do the same thing out of fear.
“Introverted individuals are often able to go out into social settings, however they are unable to maintain the socialization for an extended period of time,” licensed clinical social worker Ginger Poag, MSW, CEMDR, tells Bustle. On the other hand, Poag notes, those with social anxiety may want to go out, but feel they can’t, even for an hour or two. If you feel that fear may be keeping you out of social situations, talking to a friend or professional may help.
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider
If youre experiencing signs or symptoms of social anxiety disorder, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider. Getting treatment for social anxiety is crucial to feeling better and reaching your full potential.
If youve already been diagnosed with social anxiety disorder, be sure to see your healthcare provider regularly. If youre experiencing worsening or concerning symptoms, or think your treatment isnt working, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Dont discontinue medications on your own without discussing it with your healthcare provider first.
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When Should I See My Doctor
If you think you may have social anxiety disorder you should seek help from your general practitioner or a mental health professional. There are psychological treatments and coping strategies that can help, as well as medication.
If you find it difficult to interact with a medical professional, ask a friend or family member to help book an appointment for you. It may help if they go with you to the appointment.
If you cant cope with seeking professional help yet, there are many online resources for coping with anxiety, including those for mindfulness and meditation, and peer support groups and helplines, where you can chat to other people who feel the same way.
Signs And Symptoms Of Social Anxiety Disorder
Just because you occasionally get nervous in social situations doesnt mean you have social anxiety disorder or social phobia. Many people feel shy or self-conscious on occasion, yet it doesnt get in the way of their everyday functioning. Social anxiety disorder, on the other hand, does interfere with your normal routine and causes tremendous distress.
For example, its perfectly normal to get the jitters before giving a speech. But if you have social anxiety, you might worry for weeks ahead of time, call in sick to get out of it, or start shaking so bad during the speech that you can hardly speak.
Emotional signs and symptoms of social anxiety disorder:
- Excessive self-consciousness and anxiety in everyday social situations
- Intense worry for days, weeks, or even months before an upcoming social situation
- Extreme fear of being watched or judged by others, especially people you dont know
- Fear that youll act in ways that will embarrass or humiliate yourself
- Fear that others will notice that youre nervous
Physical signs and symptoms:
- Avoiding social situations to a degree that limits your activities or disrupts your life
- Staying quiet or hiding in the background in order to escape notice and embarrassment
- A need to always bring a buddy along with you wherever you go
- Drinking before social situations in order to soothe your nerves
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If You’re Nervous About Telling People Build Up To It
You don’t have to begin with a full confession to your closest friends and family. Start with sharing the news under circumstances you feel comfortable with, then work your way up. Here are some easier ways to do it:
- Make an anonymous post about your situation on a social anxiety forum
- Talk about your anxiety with a volunteer on an anonymous mental health support line
- If you can access one, tell a therapist, doctor, or school counselor
- Attend a drop-in anxiety support group and tell some of the other attendees
- Briefly mention your anxiety to someone you’ve just met, but who seems like they’d be supportive
- Briefly mention your anxiety to a casual acquaintance who you guess would be supportive – someone you’re friendly with, but who you don’t see all the time
If you hope to tell someone quite a bit about your anxiety, but aren’t sure how they’ll react, you don’t to give them all the details right off the bat. You can test the waters and ease into it by sharing a few tidbits, or by generally mentioning that you’re shy or stressed out, and seeing how they react. If you get a positive or neutral response you can share a bit more.
You’d Be Justified In Sharing The Information In A Straightforward No
Your anxiety is a challenge many people face, not a fatal flaw. You can talk about your anxiety in a tone that says as much. Be matter of fact, as if you were telling them about any other kind of obstacle, like how you can’t play sports with friends because you get back spasms.
It’s not mandatory, but you can even go beyond that and seem self-assured and at peace with your anxiety. There’s something endearing and admirable about someone who’s able to be open about their struggles and weak points . It won’t captivate people every time, but it’s generally a trait that gets good responses.
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Try To Examine And Refute Any Fears You Have About How People Will Respond
As you probably already know, being able to objectively examine your nervous thoughts is one of the key ways to handle anxiety. Try to question any worries you have about how people will act when you tell them about your social phobia. Here are a few examples:
“People will reject me if I tell them I have social anxiety” – Most probably won’t, especially if you tell people you believe will be supportive. Your friends and boyfriend/girlfriend like you and want the best for you. That’s often the case with family, co-workers, and strangers as well. Anxiety, stress, and social awkwardness aren’t mysterious concepts to most people. They know how hard it can be, even if they’ve never experienced those problems at the level you have.
Some people may reject you, but even if they do it’s highly unlikely they’ll mock you to your face. In the moment they’ll say something like, “Uh… oh… okay” then change the subject, and pull away in the weeks to come. That’s not the ideal outcome, but if they rejected you for having a common problem like social anxiety, did you really want to be close to them anyway? I know that’s a bog-standard thing to say, but as trite as it sounds there is truth to it.
Examples Of Social Anxiety
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What Are The Symptoms Of Social Anxiety Disorder
Symptoms of social anxiety disorder are both physical and psychological and include:
- feeling anxious in social situations
- feeling self-conscious around other people
- increased heartbeat, sweating, dizziness, and trembling
- blushing or stammering when speaking
- upset stomach diarrhoea or feeling sick
- replaying social situations repeatedly in your mind after they have occurred
The common physical symptoms of anxiety such as excessive sweating, a pounding rapid heartbeat, nausea, shaking, blushing and stammering can be particularly stressful for someone with social anxiety disorder since these symptoms can cause further embarrassment as the person worries that people may notice.
Symptoms of social anxiety disorder may be so intense that they affect your life and prevent you from participating in everyday social events in your personal or work life.
In General The Relief Of Knowing You Don’t Have To Keep Your Struggles With Anxiety Hidden
Many people with social anxiety are embarrassed they have it, and think it makes them weak or unlikable. It can be exhausting to keep it a secret, to gut it out through conversations with friends and family while trying to seem calm on the surface, to have to constantly cook up excuses to get out of plans. When you let people know you take that weight off your shoulders. You still have to deal with the anxiety itself, but at least you don’t have the extra burden of trying to hide it.
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Tip : Make An Effort To Be More Social
Actively seeking out supportive social environments is another effective way of challenging your fears and overcoming social anxiety. The following suggestions are good ways to start interacting with others in positive ways:
Take a social skills class or an assertiveness training class. These classes are often offered at local adult education centers or community colleges.
Volunteer doing something you enjoy, such as walking dogs in a shelter, or stuffing envelopes for a campaignanything that will give you an activity to focus on while you are also engaging with a small number of like-minded people.
Work on your communication skills. Good relationships depend on clear, emotionally-intelligent communication. If you find that you have trouble connecting to others, learning the basic skills of emotional intelligence can help.
How Accurate Is It
This quiz is NOT a diagnostic tool. Mental health disorders can only be diagnosed by licensed healthcare professionals. If youd like to learn more about social anxiety disorder read Psycoms guide to Social Anxiety Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments.
Psycom believes assessments can be a valuable first step toward getting treatment. All too often people stop short of seeking help out of fear their concerns arent legitimate or severe enough to warrant professional intervention.
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Develop Coping Statements To Help You Counter Anxious Thoughts
Its important to identify coping statements you can tell yourself in a compassionate, kind way. These statements can help you tune out any self-critical thoughts and feel more confident, whether youre at an event or about to be. For example, you may tell yourself, Just breathe, Im safe, Im anxious right now, but thats OK Ive done this before and survived, I can do this, and any other ones that may work for you. You can say these in your head or even go recite them privately in the restroom or outside.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Social Anxiety Disorder
When having to perform in front of or be around others, people with social anxiety disorder tend to:
- Blush, sweat, tremble, feel a rapid heart rate, or feel their mind going blank
- Feel nauseous or sick to their stomach
- Show a rigid body posture, make little eye contact, or speak with an overly soft voice
- Find it scary and difficult to be with other people, especially those they dont already know, and have a hard time talking to them even though they wish they could
- Be very self-conscious in front of other people and feel embarrassed and awkward
- Be very afraid that other people will judge them
- Stay away from places where there are other people
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