I’ve heard social anxiety defined as extreme shyness. In most cases, this is true. A child who has always been shy and who has experienced episodes that have caused him or her to withdraw further is likely to develop social anxiety.

Girls spreading rumoursHowever, this doesn’t have to be the case. A child (or adolescent or adult) who is naturally outgoing can develop social anxiety as a result of experiences and a tendency to be sensitive and easily hurt.

So this is my definition: social anxiety is a fear of people. In particular, it’s a fear of what those people think of “the sufferer” (for want of a better word).

I could go on to symptoms, causes, therapies, etc. I could say why most of us fear people to some extent but not everyone has social anxiety. And why, although social anxiety is very common, most people haven’t heard of it. Perhaps I will in the future. But for now, that’s it in a nutshell…

OK, one more thing, because I’m amazed anyone would think otherwise, but I know some do.

noonechoosestohavesa

New from June 4, 2017

I have a new blog (in addition to this one) which is solely about social anxiety and will accompany my new book: Social Anxiety Revealed. That means there probably won’t be any more posts specifically about SA on this blog. Here’s the new one:

Social Anxiety Revealed (the blog of the book)

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2 Responses to “What is social anxiety?”


  1. I’d be interested to read the eventual more detailed definition that you allude to in your final paragraph. It must be a difficult condition if it generally exceeds what most people regard as normal shyness and nerves (although probably one that gives a novelist a lot of insight). Anyway, when you go back to the subject, I’ll be reading!

    1. Miriam Says:

      That’s an incentive to write it – when I have some free time!

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