Have you ever walked into a crowded room full of strangers and felt hyper aware of your every move? I imagine that’s what social anxiety feels like, only on a much smaller scale. It's the constant paranoia that someone might catch you tripping over your words, that your inability to keep up with a conversation makes you come off as unintelligent; a constant fear that someone, somewhere is judging you, no matter how hard you try to present yourself without a flaw. The thing is, humans are believed to be naturally social beings, so does social anxiety ever go away if it's something you aren't born with, but rather something you can develop overtime?
According to the Social Anxiety Institute, the fear of being judged and/or negatively evaluated by other people has been ranked the third largest mental health care problem in the United States, with 7 percent of the population currently experiencing some form of the psychological disorder. The term "social anxiety" the organization explains, is a generalized disorder that refers to people who feel uncomfortable in social situations, but there are more specific kinds of social anxiety like the fear of public speaking, or eating in front of others.
Being socially anxious has nothing to do with your persona; you can be an extrovert and still be socially anxious. The reason why you might be so concerned with the opinions of others, Australian depression and anxiety resource Beyond Blue explains, could be because as a child you were shy and wanted other's acceptance, social phobia could run in the family, or it could be that you were embarrassed publicly and have never fully recovered from the trauma.
It sounds pretty crummy, I know, but the good news is social anxiety is not something you are born with, therefore it is something you can work through and overcome. Depending on how intense someone's fear of social interaction is, it could take time, and it definitely takes a decent amount of effort, but social anxiety can go away, and here are some of the ways experts suggest working through it.