Anxiety is the feeling of fear or uneasiness about something with an uncertain outcome. When a person particularly gets anxious in social situations that involve interaction with other people it is known as social anxiety. Social anxiety constitutes of the fear of being judged or negatively evaluated by people. People with social anxiety face inferiority, embarrassment, humiliation and inadequacy which can even lead to depression. In cases like this, people try to minimize social interaction which often leads to them being seen as shy, aloof, quiet, nervous, unfriendly and disinterested. The truth is that people with social anxiety want to mingle, be friendly, and want to be a part of a social group but it is the fear that restricts them. This also negatively affects their relationship with people.
Some of the situations that trigger social anxiety
Making eye contact with other people
Meeting an important person or one in authority
Being the center of a conversation
Making a public announcement or giving a speech
Being introduced to new people
Being noticed, criticized or teased
Walking into a room full of unknown people
Eating, writing or even making a phone call in the presence of other people
These are some of the most common situations in which one experiences social anxiety. However, different people have different situations that can trigger it. People also experience a range of different emotional and behavioural changes like sweating, shivering, blushing, racing of the heart and breathlessness. If social anxiety persists to an extent that it starts affecting one’s daily functioning to a large extent then it is classified as a disorder. Social anxiety can be treated through Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which involves modifying an individual’s outlook and behaviour when they are in public places and in social situations. It aims at making people feel less anxious by taking one step at a time.