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Social anxiety

Social anxiety is explained really well on the RO fact sheet, and it's actually the most common anxiety disorder. It's something that affects different people in different ways, even though the main theme is feeling anxious about a social situation. Some people have different triggers to other people, so what one person finds difficult, another person might not have a problem with. The important thing is that a person suffering from social anxiety needs to work on the things that are difficult for them.



Does anyone have any experiences with social anxiety that they'd like to share?

Re: Social anxiety

Yes I have social anxiety. With mine, I get really insecure that people think I'm really boring, they don't really want to hang out with me, I can get nervous before going out with friends and I am always really afraid that I'm bothering people. Public speaking used to be harder than it is now, but it's not so bad any more. Just last week I gave a 3.5 min speech in my lecture.

I try not to let my social anxiety get in the way though and most of the time it doesn't- I try to make myself do things like make a phone call or go out with friends even if it does scare me.


People do overcome social anxiety and different things will work for different people- some try exposure therapy, some do CBT, there are therapy groups for social anxiety, in some cases medication...

Re: Social anxiety

Cassie - That's awesome that you're not letting it get in the way. Thanks for sharing that, and congrats on doing that speech! Smiley Happy

I have social anxiety as well, and my main problem is not wanting to be judged. It particularly comes up in employment situations, like looking for work and everything that comes with that, and on-the-job stuff. But it's also meant that I don't have experience with a lot of things like going shopping on my own, hairdressers, making appointments etc.

At the moment, I think I need to do more to try and overcome it.

Re: Social anxiety

This is a great topic.

It might sound funny but I don't like going into shops without knowing what to expect. I think I'm worried that I'll end up bothering the salespeople or interrupting someone or something. I like to be able to see into a shop and know what to expect when I step through the doors.
That's proving more difficult here in Canada where shops are designed to resist the cold in winter, so many have closed heavy doors, recessed doorways, and a minimum of window space (to help keep the heat in).

It's even stranger for me because I worked in retail stores for 12 years. I know what it's like in there and I remember complaining about customers. "This sales job would be so much better if it wasn't for all the darn customers!" Smiley Wink
I think I worry that they'll complain about me, too.

In terms of dealing with social anxiety, I'm reminded of a scene in that recent US TV show 'GIRLS' in which the main character Hannah talks to herself in a mirror before meeting a bunch of old high school classmates: "The worst stuff that you say sounds better than the best stuff that some other people say." (see the attachment below)

Re: Social anxiety

i think that this can be helped through exposing yourself to more of these situations and perhaps get into public speaking groups etc, i was worried as a public speaker that i was boring so i went over the top to get an audience response and its just the greatest thrill Smiley Happy


Inspire All Smiley Happy

Re: Social anxiety

I also have plenty of trouble with social anxiety. My best friend always wants me to come and watch her play hockey and its not that I don't want to (because I really do!) its that I feel uncomfortable and like everyone is watching me/ looking at me and judging me. 


I can't go anywhere without feeling like people are judging me. I hate it so much because when someone looks at me or I begin to feel uncomfortable I start to feel like I have to get out straight away and if I don't I begin to freak out and have mini panic attacks. 


Its especially hard because I want to go out and do new things but don't have the confidence to do so. 


Social anxiety is definitely hard and doesn't just affect me, it makes it hard for my friends and family as well. 

Re: Social anxiety

Owwww I hate social anxiety. Apparently I have 'social phobia'.

Just this morning I had a small family morning tea, and although it was all family that I get on with well, I had so much trouble being happy, and participating in the conversation. I just really didn't want to be there. It's like that every time, since forever. I'm the observer, but at other times I love chatting to people and stuff. At the end, people reflect and say "that was nice, wasn't it?" "Yeah it really was". All I can think is.. thank goodness it's over... please can I go hide in my bed now?


I. Hate. It.

Re: Social anxiety

Oh yes, I can DEFINITELY relate to everything on this thread.

For me, I worry that people will think I'm stupid or that I look like a 'freak.' I get really self-conscious of my voice (because I worry others will think it's 'stupid', even though I sound perfectly normal) so that makes it harder to talk during conversations. At the moment my anxiety's so bad I haven't actually been able to go to school in months, but my psychologist and I are doing CBT and she wants me to start exposure therapy. Things like going into shops and appointments and talking on the phone are really hard, as well as talking to people I don't know. It's a horrible thing to have to deal with on a daily basis, but I'm confident I will get better though - I just have to keep trying. Smiley Happy

No human being, however great or powerful, was ever so free as a fish

Re: Social anxiety

But the really ironic thing is that I'm basically fine with public speaking. I was on the school debating team (& won 'best speaker' award quite a few times Smiley Tongue) and I got up and spoke at my Grandpa's funeral on my own where there was like 100 people... I can speak in front of one hundred people without breaking a sweat but as soon as I have to make conversation with just one or two people I completely freak out... Smiley Frustrated

No human being, however great or powerful, was ever so free as a fish

Re: Social anxiety



I have a similar feeling to yours. I think we both, and all have to realise not everyone (all people) is out to get you. Mindset is really difficult to change I know. I often try and shut my thoughts up (which is REAL hard) because thoughts often lead to negativity, a negativity which often does not exist. But you can imagine, one bad thought leads to another, and another AND ANOTHER and it all goes downhill from then. So when you catch yourself with a mild or great panic attack in a social situation, just breathe, try and clear your mind for a moment and remind yourself that you are worthy. Much worthier than what you cast yourself to be.