Someone with social anxiety worries about what other people think. They fear being judged in a bad way. They might avoid other people, especially big groups of people or parties. Even confident people can get nervous before a presentation, but with social anxiety the feelings are much more intense. Even imagining a situation where there might be pressure to talk to lots of people, or new people, can cause panic.
Situations that can cause distress include:
- being the centre of attention
- meeting new people
- talking in front of people
- parties or social gatherings
- being watched while eating or drinking.
Someone with social anxiety might:
- try not to be noticed
- avoid eye contact
- not talk
- fiddle with something
- sit in the corner
- hide behind their hair.
These things might feel like they help, but they can also make you more used to avoiding people. This can make you more anxious. Sometimes, doing small things that make you feel a little anxious can be a good thing. You might do something a few times and find out that it’s not as bad as you thought. Find out more about controlling feelings of panic.