If you’re searching for social anxiety symptoms online, you are probably wanting to compare what you’re experiencing with regular stress and anxiety symptoms.
Well, you’ve come to the right place! The main thing that differentiates social anxiety symptoms from other symtoms of anxiety is that a social situation (or thought of a social situation) is the trigger.
I define ‘social situation’ as any contact between humans. So while you might not think that eye contact is a social situation, it is (and it’s a HUGE source of social anxiety!!).
So what breaks social anxiety symptoms apart from regular signs and symptoms of anxiety is this: the symptoms are triggered by actual, or threatened, human contact.
Any sort of human contact.
The following situations are quite common for triggering social anxiety:
- Joining in conversations
- Participating in team activities
- Talking to new people or people in authority
- Managing people at work
- Making friends
- Speaking in front of an audience
- Making small-talk
- Reading out loud
- Taking tests and exams
- Writing in front of people
- Eating in front of people
- Inviting people over or going out in groups (especially if there’s a new person there)
- Going to parties and events
- Playing sports
And you can feel any of these symptoms and more:
- Sudden tiredness
- Face goes red
- Mind goes blank
- Mouth goes dry
- Feeling dizzy or faint
- Can’t catch your breath
- Nausea / feeling like you might throw up
Social anxiety symptoms that I personally experienced:
Making a phone call and talking to a person on the end of the line makes you feel physically sick. Even if you somewhat know the person – the idea of introducing yourself and making an inquiry fills you with dread. You avoid making phone calls – resulting in long and tedious email exchanges that leave you open to being misinterpreted or, worse still, ignored.
The idea of going to a party plays on your mind for weeks. Initially excited about what you will wear and who you will see, your thoughts take a dark turn as you wonder if your ex-boyfriend/ex-friend/ex-boss/rude-acquaintance-that-you-don’t-really-like might be there. Suddenly, your mind throws all sorts of weird and wonderful what-ifs at you. So many things could go wrong. What if you make a fool of yourself? What if you arrive on time and you’re the only person there, forced to make small talk with someone you barely know? What if you get there late and everyone you know has already gone home? What if everyone has been talking about you before you get there? What if, what if, what if?
At a party, you feel everyone turn to look at you as you enter the room. You feel like a spotlight has been placed on you. Suddenly, you can hear everyone whispering, “Who is she? What on earth is she wearing?! Why is she here?”
Unexpectedly seeing familiar faces:
A vice-like fear clenches your gut when you see a familiar face out in public. Do you say hello? Will they say hello back? Will they ignore you? You end up putting your head down and looking away, leaving the other person to think you are weird, a snob, or both. This is even more embarrassing when you need to pass a colleague in the hallway. You see them every single day, why is it so hard just to look them in the eye and say hello?!
But the important thing to remember is: life doesn’t need to be like this. Life won’t always be like this. If you are ready to take back control from your social anxiety symptoms, I am here to support you.
Love + light