If you are asking yourself the question ‘could I have Social Anxiety Disorder,’ then maybe you should read through this article and see if you see yourself in any of the examples given below.
Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, and it affects around 6.8 million adults in the U.S. So there are many people struggling with this condition, and some don’t even know it. They are not officially diagnosed by a mental health care provider, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Could I Have Social Anxiety Disorder?
Let’s look at some classic examples of Social Anxiety Disorder.
NIMH states that this anxiety disorder can be mild to moderate and sometimes only last several hours. It can also be long-lasting, preventing you from participating in everyday activities and forming relationships with others.
Social Anxiety Disorder can be defined as excessive worry and nervousness about social situations and interactions with other people that impact an individual’s ability to function.
Although this condition may seem common, many people don’t understand what it means to have social anxiety or how it manifests itself in day-to-day life.
Let’s look at some classic examples of Social Anxiety Disorder. You can maybe gain some knowledge from these and shed more light on this topic.
Speaking In Public
Public speaking is a common fear, and it’s not surprising that it can cause social anxiety. Many people fear public speaking and feel
because they don’t want to be judged and scrutinized by an audience.
These feelings often lead to physical symptoms like increased heart rate and sweaty palms. Speaking in front of a small group or an individual may seem less daunting than presenting something in front of hundreds of people.
It’s important for those with this fear to realize that most audiences have members who feel anxious before making their presentations. Also realize that there are coping mechanisms that one can employ to help you through this ordeal.
- Make sure you know your topic inside out.
- Practice a lot in front of a mirror or family member before you do it.
- Enter the podium with a confident demeanor.
- Use positive visualization.
- If all else fails, picture the audience in front of you as totally naked.
Going Out With Friends
Going out with friends is an event that can trigger social anxiety. However, this experience doesn’t have to be a terrible one. With the right mindset, you can make it a positive experience. Below are a few ways to help manage this anxiety:
- Make your expectations realistic.
- Plan and know what to expect.
- Practice what you’ll say beforehand to feel more confident when meeting new people.
- Bring a friend or someone you know who’s been there before to help introduce you.
- Arrive early so you don’t feel flustered.
Talking On The Phone
Phone conversations are one of the most common triggers for people with social anxiety. Feeling anxious about talking on the phone typically stems from a fear that the person on the other end will be judging you.
It’s important to remember that this is not always the case and that they may have a similar experience or understanding of what you are going through.
Think about why it might bother you to talk on the phone:
- What does it mean if someone calls?
- What are you afraid might happen when someone calls?
- Why do those thoughts make you feel uneasy?
- How does it make your body feel when these thoughts come up?
- What would need to happen for those thoughts to stop bothering you?
Meeting New People
When meeting new people, it is important to be able to start a conversation confidently.
If you are too anxious to do so, or feel you don’t know what to say, try one of these techniques:
- Ask the person their name and tell them yours.
- Compliment the person on their appearance, but it must be sincere.
- Tell them how much you enjoy their work.
- Bring up an interest in common that you share with the person, such as sports or music.
- The next time you see this person, remember what you talked about so you can pick up where your last conversation left off.
Ordering Food At Restaurants
If ordering food at a restaurant, you may feel intimidated and scared. Why? You’re not sure what to say or how to act. Maybe you want the person taking your order to like you, and you’re terrified they won’t.
You could worry that the way your voice sounds is unattractive, that you don’t sound smart enough, or that they’ll think your voice is annoying.
Eating in public can be stressful for someone with social anxiety. It’s hard to eat while ensuring no one looks, talks too much, or is too quiet.
Social anxiety can make a person feel self-conscious, embarrassed, and even experience panic. It is important to remember that social anxiety is a common condition that many people experience at one time or another.
While it is not easy to deal with, there are ways to overcome social anxiety and improve your quality of life. I hope that these tips above help you to better deal with it in the future.
Thank you for sharing this post. I know several people who actually are being treated for social anxiety in therapy, and I have a degree in psychology, so I know a bit about human behavior. I love that you are taking this seriously.
One thing people need to understand, and myself included being more extraverted in nature, is that social anxiety is not the same as being introverted or shy. The anxiety that is caused by being in a social setting is literally so strong that the person cannot be in those settings without intense psychological and even physical things happening to that person that makes them feel uncomfortable.
We need to learn that, like depression, we can’t just tell people to suck it up and go out and try. That’s not going to help with social anxiety.
Thank you for your words of wisdom Jessie. I think it is easy for people who have never suffered from these conditions to say things like that, as they don’t realize how the person is actually feeling. Thanks for clarifying that Social Anxiety Disorder is not the same as being introverted, although an introverted person may also suffer from this disorder, it is not always the case.
This is a very useful blog because only today my daughter asked me to help her overcome her fear of speaking in class. She says she has a very important task for next week and she should present it in front of the class. She knows well what to say but she gets confused when all students are staring at her.
I am so happy I came across your blog so I can give her those tips and help her. She is a very intelligent person and it would be a shame not to show off her knowledge.
Thank you so much for sharing the ideas.
I wish your daughter best of luck. It can be daunting, but being well prepared is the first step in the right direction. Know it so well that you don’t need to think about what you are going to say.
There are many ways to overcome Social Anxiety Disorder, the first is to recognize it for what it is. Most people will have a mild case of this periodically. To understand what your triggers are you will have to know yourself intimately and be on the lookout for those triggers. Once, you understand your triggers, you can take steps to avoid those triggers and lead a more productive life. Take a positive approach to each situation as it arises and put the triggers to sleep once they start to manifest.
Thank you for your helpful advice Jerry. It is actually amazing how many people do suffer from this at least once in their lifetimes.
Having spent a lifetime in sales, it would be easy for people to think that those with “the gift of the gab” never suffer from this condition. I beg to disagree! In my twenties, I often sat outside a potential client’s office thinking about all the awful scenarios that could happen once I stepped inside the doors. The reality was that these scary things that I imagined, never happened. It took me a while to understand this, but as time passed my confidence grew and grew. I had people mention to me that they wished they had my confidence. If only they knew that everybody has nervous moments when placed in alien situations. But they should also learn to know that thousands of other people are also suffering from the same condition. By accepting this, you will overcome your social anxiety disorder.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, and congrats on overcoming your fears. That is one thing I would also battle with – sales in a live fashion. I think people who can do this are very brave.