Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety vs Shyness: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Hi all!

I realize that social anxiety can be mistaken for or thought of as extreme shyness or introversion, which is completely wrong- it’s actually even possible for someone with social anxiety to be not shy or extroverted. I thought that I’d cover some of the main differences between the two, since they’re so often confused.

  1. Socially anxious people aren’t happy being quiet- Many introverts or shy people like being quiet; they choose to be quiet and are happy to be quiet. We aren’t. I want to talk, so badly, but it feels as if I CAN’T talk.
  2. Physical sensations- We experience physical sensations as a result of anxiety, which include a racing heartbeat (that I can hear in my ears and makes me feel like a reverberating drum), difficulty breathing, nausea, lightheadedness, and panic attacks. Just horrible in general.
  3. Self-Esteem- What is that? Think I can buy some? 😂 People with social anxiety often lack self-esteem. Shy people for the most part have intact self-esteem, as do introverts.
  4. Thoughts- When I talk to someone, I’m always thinking if I sound or look stupid or if they don’t like me or think I’m weird or blah blah blah. Shy people, on the other hand, are just scared of getting out there, and don’t have all these irrational thoughts. The socially anxious care a lot about how other people perceive them, shy people don’t as much. Or at least, they don’t have this constant flow of negative thoughts in their heads.
  5. Emotions – Chances are that the socially anxious have a hell of a lot more awful emotions than do shy people. Actually, that’s a fact. There is mental ANGUISH in being socially anxious. A shy person doesn’t come close to feeling this way; they’re perfectly “normal”.  There is a lot of fear and worry and stress in being socially anxious.
  6. Shy people often have a lot to say– Ever try talking to that one shy person and discovering that they have an amazing personality with their own unique views? I’ve found that a lot of shy people are so interesting and easy to have conversations with. I, on the other hand, find it hard to think of even small talk. Of course, I’m terrified that the other person will think my talking about the weather as shallow.

Well, that’s it. Social anxiety IS NOT being shy. Socially anxious people can actually be not shy- many actually want to talk to other people, but are held back by social anxiety. Another major thing with social anxiety is that people with it know that their thoughts are incredibly irrational and unproportional, but simply can’t help it. It’s very difficult having social anxiety, because everyday human life is structured around human interaction- speaking is something critical.

I hope that made things clearer:) this post is something that I’ve been meaning to write for a while. Social anxiety doesn’t get talked about as often as its cousin, depression. We need to talk about it! Talking about it will help eliminate the stigma around it and around so many other mental health issues as well.

I hope you have a fantastic day, all of you:) and if you have social anxiety like me, much love. Let’s all keep trying together!

❤, c.


p.s. I always just almost write my real name, then I have to stop myself😂


Image result for social anxiety and shyness

Image Credit: Beyond Anxiety and Depression

I can relate. 

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20 thoughts on “Social Anxiety vs Shyness: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW”

    1. I’m glad that you liked it:) Yes, one of the main problems with mental health issues is that people tend to feel as if they are alone, when in reality they are not. Mental health blogs help others realize how there are so many others with the same struggles as them, which helps to alleviate the pain.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. For #1, I feel I have a combination of both social anxiety and actual shyness. I’m shy and do sometimes enjoy being quiet, however, I’m even quieter because of the fact I have social anxiety and I do have a million things I want to say to people but find it hard to do because I’m already afraid of criticism or being judged negatively for what I want to say.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel you. I actually used to be very very very shy, but it wore off after a while and was replaced with social anxiety. Yes! I have so many words trapped in my mouth but I can never get them out. I do worry a lot about sounding stupid and attracting attention, which really is awful. Best of luck with everything ❤ by the way, I read your post about trying to find a job which is extremely difficult with your social anxiety. I really hope you are able to get a job that you are happy with soon:)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’d say it was the opposite for me with shyness and social anxiety. I actually remember times in my childhood where I was kinda shy but I could talk my head off if I was in the presence of someone I was comfortable with. However, I also recall I had a distinct sense of discomfort at times with verbally expressing certain things, out of fear of being made fun of or being socially rejected. I don’t know for sure where this fear sprouted from. It could be linked to my family environment because there were things my parents never talked to me about. One thing I believe I was affected by was being a child and getting to that stage of curiosity about everything around me, and always asking my parents “why is ___ that way?” And they never seemed enthusiastic about answering me. They wouldn’t like yell at me or rebuke me for asking, but they would keep their answers brief, almost like they had no interest in being detailed. It’s probably not their fault because they didn’t knowingly act that way knowing I would perceive their reactions as negative, but I did. Similarly, there were times as a child I tried conversing with them and felt quite disappointed if they did not “react”, in that their expressions didn’t look angry but stayed very neutral and flat. Or I’d tell them something I felt excited about and their response would be to not even say anything in response or just be like, “ok”. Sorry if I went into too much detail.

        Thanks for the kind words regarding my job hunt. At this point, yes, I’d prefer a job that makes me happy, even if it doesn’t pay well, because I don’t think career advancement is the most important thing for me now.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I’m glad that you liked it:) social anxiety is intense fear in social interactions, and some people with it also have panic attacks. It makes it really hard to interact with people in daily life. If you think you have it, you could search online for a reliable website (a government website would be best) to check your symptoms. Thanks so much for commenting!! ❤ C.

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  2. I honestly have periods of huge social anxiety, but then also I’m shy around particular people…I guess the difference for me personally is a) I am SHY around people I do not know and b) I get social anxiety being around others I’m not comfortable with or social situations that just kinda stress me out. Idk, that’s probably confusing but basically I have either at different times…but I’d much rather feel shy than experience social anxiety. Social anxiety is the worse 😦

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, it definitely is easier to deal with than social anxiety…not to say shyness is all around an easy personality attribute, but its much more manageable than social anxiety.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve always thought of myself as a shy person, but I’ve read so much posts like these explaining anxiety and social anxiety and I’ve found my self relating to it all so much. I’m starting to think I’m not just shy, and it’s so much more than that. Thank you for writing this post😊

    Liked by 1 person

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