How to Know if you Have Social Anxiety (And What to Do About It)
I talk a lot about the difference with shyness, social anxiety and everything else in between so how do you know if you have social anxiety (and far more importantly – what can you do about it)?
The main thing to remember is everyone can be shy at different stages. There is no such thing as a shy person – there is only being shy in different situations. Think of it this way – are you shy around your parents or siblings? How about an attractive member of the opposite sex or a large crowd of strangers?
Totally different scenario. The key is how badly it affects you and the extent of the triggers.
But before we start looking at if you have social anxiety I want to show you what to do about it. Because the truth is we get ourselves so bogged down in putting a name on everything. Giving it a label. But, does it really matter? Either way, the answer is the same.
I’ve been writing and coaching on shyness and social anxiety for years now. I’ve seen a lot of different solutions being offered and not only is this the absolute best (I’ve literally seen it change lives) – but it’s entirely free.
It takes a simple premise ‘how to talk to anyone’ and shows you how to do it. Once you can talk to people it gets a lot easier to get social exposure and that’s the real key to dealing with social anxiety. Cut the root of the problem away and the rest just evaporates.
The best part is Amazon gives you the ‘how to talk to anyone’ audiobook free when you sign up to a trial with Audible. Even if you cancel, you keep the whole book for free. So not only is it honestly the best answer I can give you – it doesn’t cost you anything. You can download it for yourself here and tell me in the contact page tomorrow how fired up you are to try it out.
But if you’re really determined to put a label on it (or maybe you’re just not sure if you’re dealing with a problem at all) let’s look at it.
Does any of this sound familiar?
- You Fear Social Interactions
- People Often Label you as Shy, Quiet, or Withdrawn
- You Experience Situational Distress
- Your Fear is Accompanied by Physical and Emotional Symptoms
- You Avoid Typical Social Situations
The Social Anxiety Institute has an interesting way of putting it:
Everyone can get nervous or be anxious in certain social settings, like public speaking or job interviews. But people with social anxiety have a chronic pattern of behavioral or emotional symptoms, which sometimes are accompanied by physical symptoms.
Those symptoms can be reflected in negative thoughts, such as fearing judgment by others simply for speaking, intense fear when entering a room with other people. Negative self-thoughts, over-analyzing your performance in front of others and anxiety over upcoming social settings can occur. Along with these, physical symptoms, like blushing, trembling and sweating can happen. The person with Social Anxiety Disorder can also view these physical symptoms as embarrassing, which can add to their social distress.
Feelings of constant, intense anxiety are very common. These can be severe and may cause the individual to avoid normal activities.
For example, making eye contact with others or entering a room where people are seated, dating, using a public restroom, starting conversations, or even going to work or school, can all be so uncomfortable to the person with Social Anxiety Disorder, that he or she will avoid these. The disorder can interfere with the individual’s daily life and normal functioning.
The only way to tell if you have Social Anxiety Disorder is to talk to a qualified therapist or a medical doctor, as sometimes, certain medical conditions can trigger these events. Trained professionals can ask questions to discover the situations that make you anxious and help provide therapy to work through this disorder. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been found to be very beneficial in helping people with Social Anxiety Disorder.
It can be paralyzing and to feel anxiety and fearful in normal social settings, but with therapy and support, the disorder can be treated. There are several resources here that you can look at, too.
Do I have Social Anxiety or Am I Just Shy?
I’ve got this question and here’s the thing – there is no social anxiety definition. Not a real one. Not one that actually distinguishes it from shyness although, my god, are people militant about it sometimes. They’ll argue otherwise but ask them to point to an actual source for any of this and they’ll stumble.
The truth is it doesn’t really matter what you want to call it at the end of the day. When I get asked (and I have been) do I have social anxiety? I don’t have a yes or no answer for them. If you feel like you have a problem in that area the answer is going to be the same either way and the quicker you start worrying about what you’re doing to do about it instead of what you label it – the happier you’ll be.