Ahh… You know the drill. People around you are talking, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company, but you… You just can’t force yourself to participate – you have social anxiety. While you may feel alone, you should know that this condition is more common than you think! It’s estimated that about 7% of the population suffers with some form of social anxiety. Nevertheless, you have specific challenges, and here are the most common things only people with social anxiety will understand!
Number 1 – You Prefer Virtual Communication
You seem to be able to communicate just fine via text or social media, but in person, you just can’t find the words. It’s so easy to communicate when you don’t have to do it face-to-face, and you don’t understand why this happens.
Number 2 – You Only Have 1 Or 2 Friends, And Don’t Really Want More
You are fine if you don’t see those couple of friends often, even though you do enjoy their company. They invite you to social gatherings, but you usually don’t go and instead invent excuses for not being able to attend. You only want to be with them when it’s just the few of you.
Number 3 – You Take Your Lunch To Work
Not because it’s cheaper, but because you need an excuse not to go out to lunch with your co-workers. When you are invited to happy hour, you find an excuse not to be able to attend, and eventually they stop inviting you. People come to view you as anti-social when, in fact, you’re really just fearful, and you cannot explain why.
Number 4 – You Are Unable To Contribute To Conversations
Even when you might have something good to add to the discussion, you opt not to, because you’re afraid that someone will criticize your contribution or think it’s unworthy.
Number 5 – You Experience Rapid Heartbeat, Sweating, And Heavy Breathing
These are physical reactions to your anxiety and you cannot control them. You are certain that everyone around you notices these physical responses, and that makes you want to remove yourself from a situation even more.
Number 6 – You’re Overwhelmed When There Are Too Many People Around
Every noise, light, smell, and action is taken in, and you cannot process it all or filter things out. It is as if you are being bombarded by too much at once, and the result is that you go into “flight” mode and find any way to remove yourself from the situation.
Number 7 – You Tune Out When Several People Are Speaking
You go into your comfort zone in which you are at least temporarily safe. You shut everything out, and people around you are confused by your behavior. Sometimes, they may think of you as aloof or rude, even though you have a strong desire to be a part of the social experience.
Number 8 – You Are Overly Concerned About Your Look In General
You always feel that everyone is judging and evaluating you on the way you look. When in fact, most people really do have their own issues, their own priorities, and their minds are not on you. It’s impossible for you to accept this, even though you actually realize that your thinking is irrational at that moment.
Number 9 – You Build Your Social Life Around Family Members
They know you, and because you’ve grown up among them, you can actually converse. If a sister brings a boyfriend however, you will avoid him and spend more time in the kitchen with your mom or other siblings.
Number 10 – You Tend To Have A Pet, Usually A Dog Or A Cat
You can safely care for that animal, talk to it, cuddle it, and have an emotional attachment that you’re unable to have with people.
Number 11 – You May Intentionally Avoid People
For example, you may see an acquaintance from a distance, but you go out of your way not to be seen. If you are seen however, and that person comes up to you, you have a very short conversation and indicate that you have an appointment and need to go.
Number 12 – You Imagine The Worst Possible Scenarios
Even though you understand that those things will probably never happen. This activity only serves to increase your anxiety level and your continued need to isolate yourself. Again, you understand that your thinking is negative, but you don’t have the tools to turn it off and think of the positive things in your life.
Number 13 – You Panic When You Hear A Knock Or The Phone Rings
You panic when your phone rings at odd hours. The same goes when there is a knock on your door and you’re not yet dressed for the day. While others would just laugh such a thing off, you go into a tailspin because you’re certain that you’re being judged for the way you look or for being so lazy that you’re
not “prepared” for your day yet.
Number 14 – You Seem To Be Tired All The Time
This is not because you have engaged in any strenuous activity, but rather, it’s a result of living in a continued state of stress. Chronic anxiety is exhausting, and you see sleep as an escape.
Number 15 – You Want Others To Understand, But Can’t Explain
You don’t want to show this kind of weakness for fear that you’ll be judged or quietly criticized. In fact, most people are empathetic and understanding… if you would only give them the chance, but your fear always seems to get in the way.