Hi. It’s Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today comes to us from Danny in Newark. I have a very hard time understanding social settings. I always freak out when there’s a large social gathering for no reason.
This is completely normal. Actually, it’s more common than you think. Fifteen million people in the U.S. suffer from symptoms of social anxiety disorder. This is when you feel afraid of social situations where there are a lot of people, usually for no reason. You’ll walk into a room filled with people who you may not know too well and think of ways to escape. You may even have to leave to go to the bathroom to cry, for no reason. You may come up with excuses as to why you have to leave or you simply may leave without a “good-bye,” just to get out of that situation. You may subconsciously feel judged or as if you’re not social or fun enough to converse with. You may also feel as if everyone is staring at you or worry that people will notice how nervous you are and think of you differently. You may even feel faint, blush often, feel your heartbeat race, and sweat profusely.
The best way to overcome this feeling is to gradually introduce yourself to these types of scenarios. Invite a friend over and ask them to bring a friend that you haven’t met before. Slowly do this with more friends every few days. Then ask them to bring more friends and so on. Eventually, you’ll find yourself in a larger social situation where you won’t feel as anxious as you had before. And when you’re ready, try hosting a party or a get together and see how you feel.