Although anxiety disorders aren’t uncommon, they’re often misdiagnosed.
When it comes to social anxiety, it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms so you can get the help you need to manage it.
There’s more to social anxiety than just being shy or awkward around people. It can be a debilitating and scary situation for those who struggle with it.
Instead of ignoring some of the most common symptoms, listen to what your body is telling you. The sooner you recognize the problem the better.
If you have issues being around people, you could be dealing with social anxiety. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable signs of this disorder.
You Avoid Social Events, Even If You’re Interested
People with social anxiety can still be interested in going out and doing exciting things, whether it’s trivia night, dancing, or dinner at a new place. Unfortunately, anxious thoughts can take over your mind before you actually have a chance to do those things.
You might find yourself plagued by worries about how awkward you’ll be or that something bad will happen while you’re out. This is especially true if the event requires you to do something that may draw attention to yourself, like dancing, engaging in a sport, etc.
If the desire to go out and do something is there but you get too nervous about possible outcomes, you could be struggling with social anxiety.
You Avoid Going Out after a Change to your Appearance
Many people are happy to show off a new haircut. And, they don’t care much about a sudden blemish on their face.
However, people with social anxiety can feel a crippling sense of embarrassment when it comes to physical changes.
If you avoid spending time with people because you feel like everyone will notice those changes, it could be a sign of a more serious problem.
You Persistently Think People Judge You
One of the most common signs of social anxiety is the feeling that everyone is judging you.
Actually, one of the most common thoughts is assuming that your friends think they’re better than you. Chances are that isn’t true. But for someone with social anxiety, these types of thoughts can plague them all day long.
Because of this worry, it’s easy to lose existing friendships and relationships. And this unfounded worry makes it even harder to develop new ones. People experiencing social anxiety avoid trying to create new friendships because being with a new person feels too scary or uncomfortable.
You Obsess over Your Social Media Posts
Social media is meant to be fun and lighthearted, not crippling. But do you find yourself endlessly editing and “fixing” what you share online before you post it?
If you obsess over what people might think about what you have to say or a photo you want to post, think about what’s behind that obsession.
Wanting to come across well or look your best is one thing. Feeling scared or overly worried about what people might think of you is another issue altogether and may be a clue that you are suffering from social anxiety.
You Worry that Others will Notice Your Anxiety
Another sign of social anxiety is the fear that others will see that you are anxious. You imagine that you may blush, sweat, tremble or have a shaky voice and that you will be deeply embarrassed or humiliated. This will cause you a great deal of pre-event nerves and may even cause you to avoiding doing things or speaking to people for fear of embarrassment.
These fears keep you from engaging in social events. Or if you do muster the courage to show up, after the event you find yourself endlessly analyzing your interactions and identifying flaws in your performance.
What Can You Do About Social Anxiety?
Many people with social anxiety have dealt with these types of fears for a long time. If this is true for you, you may even have grown up thinking it was normal to feel nervous in social settings or constantly judged by others. Unfortunately, social anxiety functions much like a trap, making you believe judgment is standard. Not so.
The good news? You can absolutely live a life of more social confidence. You can escape the chronic state of feeling crippled when it comes to social situations. Treatment for social anxiety is readily available through counseling and therapy.
With the right treatment and time, you can overcome your social fears and break through the paralysis of social anxiety. If you or a loved one is suffering from social anxiety, please feel free to call me for a free 30-minute consultation.