How Social Anxiety Impacts People

The essential feature of social anxiety (shyness) is a persistent fear and avoidance of situations in which others expose a person to possible negative scrutiny. In addition, people with social anxiety are afraid of acting in a way that is potentially humiliating or embarrassing.

Fear that they will be criticized or embarrassed makes some people avoid certain ordinary social situations.

People with social anxiety experience avoidance, anxious anticipation or distress in the feared situations, which can interfere significantly with their ability to maintain a normal routine, function well in workplace or educational settings, enjoy social activities or develop fulfilling relationships.

In addition, there is generally a marked distress about having the disorder itself, and the individual frequently realizes that their fear is excessive or unreasonable, compounding their frustrations and discomfort. People with social anxiety feel so threatened by certain social and performance situations that they either avoid them completely, or suffer torment when they can’t avoid them.

  • Public speaking
  • Performing
  • Going to parties
  • Eating in restaurants
  • Writing in front of others
  • Going on job interviews
  • Using public restrooms

Social Anxiety Self-Assessment Quick Quiz

Take a moment to answer these quick questions and see if you’re at risk for—or currently suffering from—social anxiety:

  • Do you experience an intense and persistent fear of social situations where others may judge you in a negative way?
  • Are you afraid of being embarrassed or humiliated by your actions?
  • Do you fear people will notice you are blushing, sweating, trembling or showing other symptoms of anxiety?
  • Are you afraid to do things in front of people, such as public speaking, eating, performing or teaching?
  • During the past month, did you either avoid—or feel very uncomfortable in—situations involving people, such as parties, weddings, dates and other social events?
  • Does being nervous or uncomfortable around other people keep you from doing things you want to do?
  • Does your fear of public speaking or talking to teachers get in the way at work and/or school?
  • Is being embarrassed or looking stupid one of your worst fears?
  • Do you limit how involved you become with people because you are afraid of letting them get to know you? Do you worry that if people really knew you, they wouldn’t like you?
  • Do you find yourself turning down invitations to social events because you know you would feel uncomfortable if you went?
  • Does being the center of attention make you feel very uncomfortable and self-conscious?
  • Do you worry about blushing or looking nervous in front of other people?
  • Do you have trouble stating your opinion or asking for something you deserve because you worry about what others will think of you?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, there’s a chance you’re suffering from social anxiety. To learn how the Panic/Anxiety/Recovery Center can help you, or to schedule a consultation, please call us at (312) 543-4793