Millions of people around the world experience symptoms of anxiety in social situations. In this Spotlight feature, we offer some tips and tricks on how to cope with social anxiety to make your life easier and more fulfilling.
Of these, around 15 million have social anxiety, which manifests as an intense fear of being judged or rejected by others in a social context.
“It’s like…a very, very heavy umbrella closing around my head.”
“An intense fear of being in a situation where I don’t know anyone. Worried about judgment from others; for example, I worry that people might view me as standoffish.”
“It makes me feel like I don’t want to go out and talk to anyone. I would always rather stay at home and curl up on the sofa, or bury myself in jobs around the house to distract myself from any social demands.”
This is how three people that Medical News Today spoke with described their own experiences of social anxiety.
For some people, dealing with social anxiety means avoiding a variety of social events, including those that would typically be a source of fun and joy, such as parties, or graduation ceremonies.
Social anxiety can lead to isolation and reduced confidence. As someone told us:
“[Social anxiety] makes me feel as if I am the only one suffering in that way, and everyone else is just fine with going out and having a good time together. It makes me feel that no one likes me, so why would they want to talk to me? When they do talk to me, I always feel they are trying to find an excuse to get away and go and talk to someone else.”