Most of us have experienced times when we felt nervous in a social situation. It could be meeting someone new and not knowing what to say, being with a group of people we don’t know very well, or having to speak in front of a group. Social anxiety arises in these situations, because of the fear that we’ll say or do something stupid or that others will judge us in a negative way.
Social anxiety helps us to be sensitive to the feelings and needs of others and in itself is not a bad thing. However, when our worries that others will think badly of us become so intense that we dread being in certain social situations or start to avoid them, it’s time to learn how to manage these feelings.
Social anxiety is becoming a problem when it interferes in your daily routine, affects your relationships with other people, hinders your work or school performance, or prevents you from doing the things you want to do.
Over time, high levels of socially anxiety can leave a person feeling lonely and isolated. Fortunately, there are strategies that you can learn to help cope with the fears and worries so you can enjoy life.
To learn about thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms, and other experiences that are common to social anxiety see What to Look For.