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“What Will They Think of Me?!” – The Pain of Social Anxiety

You’re sitting in a meeting at work and feeling as though the walls are closing in on you. You’re afraid to say anything for fear of sounding stupid. You quickly glance towards the door knowing that if your anxiety gets too bad you’ll have to escape.

You’ve been invited to a dinner party at the home of your spouse’s boss. You begin to worry that you won’t fit in, that people will judge you, and that they won’t like you. Your mind races to find an excuse not to go.

You’re a high school student who’s afraid that the popular girls are talking about you behind your back. You want to eat lunch with them but you’re afraid they’ll reject you. You start telling yourself that you’re a loser and no one wants to be with you.

Social Anxiety is defined as “fear of interaction with others that brings on self-consciousness, feelings of being negatively judged or evaluated, and consequently it often leads to avoidance of all social events.” It often starts in the teenage years.

It is much more than shyness. Shy people can learn to warm up to others and situations.

AHLways consider: Social Anxiety can be successfully treated with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy which focuses on identifying, understanding, and changing thinking and behavior patterns.

Do you worry about what people are thinking/will think of you? Please leave your comments below!

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Pat Ahl, LPCC, NCC, LLC 2018