- On 1 Oktober 2018
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This is a long one. If you’re not sure if you have Social Anxiety, take a look at this list. It mentions the typical signs of Social Anxiety. I used to have them all. How many do you have?
1. You feel awkward, nervous, frightened or uncomfortable in social situations: meeting someone, group conversations, parties or events, dating, school, …
2. As a result you avoid social situations as much as possible.
3. You don’t necessarily enjoy avoiding social situations: you’d rather participate, be spontaneous and have a great time. But you just don’t know how to feel that way.
4. If you do attend a social event, you make sure to stay out of the attention. You’d rather be a fly on the wall.
5. When in a group of people, you either feel like all eyes are on you and everybody judges what you are doing, or like nobody notices you or cares about you at all.
6. You worry about your appearance and your behaviour constantly when in social situations. You are sure that everybody is gossiping behind your back and will continue doing so long after you’ve left.
7. You find it incredibly hard to start a conversation, so usually you don’t.
8. When someone else tries to start a conversation with you, you freeze and block completely: you start blushing and sweating uncontrollably, your heart beats like crazy, your mind goes blank and when you do an effort to answer back you stutter and mumble something inaudible.
9. After engaging in social interaction you just can’t stop thinking about how you behaved, what you said and what you should/could have said. You can repeat the (awkward or painful) scenario of a past conversation countless times in your head. It can keep you up all night and you might even think about it for weeks or months on end.
10. To avoid more painful confrontations, you hardly speak at all. You remain silent and in the background unless you’re forced otherwise.
11. You can’t count how many times someone has asked you: “How come you never speak? Why don’t you just say something?”
12. You’re sick and tired of these questions!
13. If you answer them at all, you’ll mumble: “I just don’t know what to say…”
14. You don’t make eye contact.
15. You are jealous of those many other people you know that don’t have the slightest effort speaking and behaving spontaneously. You don’t know how they do it and wish you were more like them.
16. You have only 1-5 friends you feel comfortable around and can talk openly with, without feeling nervous or stressed.
17. However, you dream of having lots of friends, being spontaneous and talkative around them, having fun with them and being able to make new friends easily.
18. Anyhow, you’re most comfortable and relaxed when on your own and prefer being left alone.
19. When there’s no way to be alone and no way to avoid being at an event or in a group of people, you might find your equivalent to solitude in reading, being occupied on your cell phone, or any other way to not socially interact.
20. You are insecure and feel inferior to other people with better social skills. You generally feel like you are judged and criticised by them. You may even allow them to boss you around.
21. You don’t handle criticism well. It really gets to you and paralyses you.
22. You think that all criticism about you is true, so you ‘must be a weird and unpleasant person’.
23. You have a negative self image, and think that others see you this way as well.
24. You are extremely shy.
25. You’re ‘afraid’ of the gender you’re interested in: boys or girls, men or women. You don’t know how to behave around them and avoid contact with them as much as possible.
26. Starting a relationship, dating or telling someone you like/love him or her is excruciatingly hard for you. You think it’s highly unlikely that you meet someone you like who likes you back as you are, and if you do you consider yourself very lucky.
27. When in a social situation or in a public place you might experience panic attacks.
28. If this happened to you, you start being afraid of getting a panic attack, which results in avoiding social situations or public places even more.
29. You are terrified of picking up the phone, or opening the door if you don’t know who it is. You feel like you almost get a heart attack when the phone or the doorbell rings.
30. You experience several physical discomforts because of your Social Anxiety. This can be nausea or sickness, headache, heavy pressure on your chest, hyperventilation or other breathing problems, and more.
31. Job interviews, speaking in public (when asked to do so in meetings or in class), being asked your opinion, or other situations where you’re being pressurised or forced to be in the center of attention freak you out.
32. If you know any of these events is coming up, you’ll worry and stress out about it almost constantly until the due date.
33. Due to major stress and anxiety, the much anticipated event will turn out to be a disaster.
34. You feel lonely and misunderstood.
35. You wish others would know how you feel, and that if you didn’t have this anxiety you wouldn’t act so weird.
36. Probably you don’t even know you have something called Social Anxiety. You do know that your behaviour is not ‘normal’, as most people you know don’t have your issues and fear when dealing with social situations.
37. You know that something’s wrong and wish you could heal, that you could become someone else who has amazing social skills. But you think that is either impossible or highly unlikely.
38. When you’re invited to attend a party or a social event, you are facing a dilemma: “Should I go and make a fool out of myself?” (Cause that’s how you usually feel) “Or should I cancel and stay in my safe place?”
39. When you choose to go and attend the event, you regret it. You feel awkward and worried about your appearance and behaviour all the time. And you’re forced to have conversations with people.
40. When you choose to cancel your invitation and stay at home, you probably regret it as well, feeling guilty and lonely. “Everyone is having a party without me. I’m sure they won’t even miss me.”