Do you ever feel like you’re so painfully shy that it’s disrupting and limiting your day-to-day life? That your shyness is worse than everyone you know and that you get nervous over even small social situations? You may be dealing with social anxiety. While it is common for people to get anxious or self-conscious in certain situations, such as before a big speech, social anxiety is a disorder where even dealing with little things can feel intense, stressful and scary. Here are 12 signs you may be dealing with social anxiety:
1. You feel physical symptoms of nervousness
Your teacher makes everyone contribute an answer in class, and right before your turn, you get so nervous you feel physical discomfort. Your palms get sweaty, and your heart may be pumping so fast you feel thumping in your chest. You may even feel your ears getting hot, or having a shortness of breath. These symptoms also occur leading
2. You are scared of silly things
People with social anxiety fear small mundane activities that are considered normal. It is common for us to dread making a phone call or answering the phone. Some people fear eating alone in a food court full of people, while in severe cases, people with social anxiety may be scared to even leave their house to go grocery shopping.
3. You do strange things to avoid drawing attention to yourself
An example is holding an apple core for 45 minutes during a meeting because you are too anxious to even stand up and go to the bin a few meters away if everyone else is sitting down.
4. You’re in constant fear of embarrassment
You are scared of embarrassing yourself in front of others, and always feel like everyone is judging you. You don’t know what to say or do to stop this feeling and often avoid social situations to prevent potential public humiliation.
5. You avoid social situations
You may choose to avoid social situations completely, like cancelling plans, not going out of your home, or hiding in the bathroom at a party. This may be the result of sign 4.
6. You have difficulty speaking
You find it very hard to speak and tend to stutter when talking to people. Even though you may have felt okay before actually engaging in conversation, you may feel lost for words when you actually try to start talking. Sometimes your fear will get the better of you and your voice fails you, resulting in very quiet or inaudible sounds coming out instead.
7. You are scared of expressing your opinions
Even though you may disagree with what people are saying, you are rarely comfortable with sharing your opinion on something. You may feel as if the person will get angry or reject your idea, or you fear being wrong and would rather avoid the possibility.
You may be scared of having all ears to you in general and you would never contribute to class discussions. Either way, you are always the quiet one in the group, and often just go along with other people’s ideas.
8. You feel a lack of independence
This may only apply in social situations. You often want a friend to accompany you to places, or ask a question for you, because you are too uncomfortable to go/do it yourself.
9. Your anxiety is unpredictable
Sometimes you head to a job interview feeling positive and confident. You tell yourself “alright I’m gonna smash it” or “you can do this. fake it till you make it!” But when you’re actually there, you feel disappointed because for some reason, you don’t know what to say, and nothing seems to come out, even though your insides may be screaming at you to say more. This is all too relatable if you are dealing with social anxiety.
10. You are two different people
You feel like not many people know the real you because you can only be yourself around your family and closest friends. Everyone else just labels you as “the quiet one”. You act like completely different people around your family and friends, and to everyone else.
11. You feel like you can’t live life to the fullest
You feel as though your social phobia is restricting you from living life. It is impacting your ability to do everyday activities, as well as your performance at work and school.
12. You want to change
The difference between being introverted and having social anxiety is that introverted are often fine being quiet and enjoying time by themselves. People with social anxiety however wish they weren’t like this and want to be more social, but just find it daunting to be.