Coping with Social Phobia

People with social phobia have a strong persistent fear of being with or associating with unfamiliar people or complete strangers. They will go out of their way to try to avoid situations where they might meet new people at business or social events. They would rather not be required to interact wth people they don’t know, don’t know well, or face the scrutiny of strangers. Many peole with social phobia are afraid they may experience an awkward moment or embarrass themselves by revealing how anxious they are.

Complications and Exaggerations

Some people who know in advance that they have to attend social situations experience long periods of feeling anxious beforehand, even though they realize their fear is exaggerated. People with social phobia may also suffer from low self-esteem, adding to their insecurity and feelings of being incompetent.

Social phobia seriously interferes with many aspects of life, including forming meaningful relationships. Many people go through life living within their own particular kind of tunnel vision. Anxious peole feel the slightest possibility of appearing awkward as a full-blown bomb threat, even though the scene is perfecly safe.

From Fear to Coping

People may filter out all but one portion of a situation, and thus focus on one small negative fear while completely ignoring the over-all poisitive reality. These fears are irrational because their importance is exaggerated. The person with social phobia may actually have an enjoyable social experience but will still focus on the possibility of embarrassing themselves.

One strategy would be to focus attention on coping with socializing rather than obsessing about it. Another way to look at it would be to focus on what “will” be gained rather than what “could” be lost. You may gain new friends and meaningful relationships as opposed to missing new opportunities by not showing up.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.
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