Social anxiety is far more common than you think. Many people suffer but manage to hide how they feel. Many people know they are having irrational thoughts & feelings about social events but can’t control the feelings & still dread events coming up weeks in advance.
Socialising should be fun & something to look forward to but with social anxiety, people often feel they will be judged, have a fear of being embarrassed or humiliated & worry that others will notice their anxiety.
Of course, if you are in a room full of people who appear confident & relaxed this will just increase your anxiety. To combat these feelings, people may drink too much thinking it will relax them & give them the confidence that the others in the room appear to have or perhaps will just sneak out & go home.
I have been in this situation many times over the years, but things changed when I recently went to meet 3 other ladies that I had been at school with. I hadn’t seen these people for over 30 years & imagined how they would all have been successful in life & kept their youthful looks.
I walked into the bar shaking & sweating. Once we sat down & started to chat, one lady said how she had been terrified walking into the bar, had worried she would be the first one there & had spent all morning deciding what to wear. This comment actually made us all relax immediately…. we then all realised we had just spent a few hours all feeling exactly the same, all feeling anxious. What a waste of energy. We laughed as we discussed what we had each put ourselves through when there was no need.
Yes, they had been more successful than me career-wise, yes they all looked wonderful for our age but we had all just gone through social anxiety up until that moment.
So, remember although you probably won’t spot it, you will not be the only one feeling nervous & awkward. Just start chatting with someone, tell them you had a nightmare finding something to wear or you hate walking into a bar on your own & I bet you they will say they feel exactly the same.