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.
However, 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.