Social anxiety is the feeling of heightened nervousness, worry or fear before, during or even after engaging in social interactions. It is often made worse by its physiological manifestations such as sweating, blushing and a racing heartbeat. Social anxiety can hamper social interactions in a profound way if it is not dealt with. It is, however, comforting to know that there are ways in which the social experience of a person suffering from social anxiety can be improved and made more enjoyable.
Social anxiety results from the fear of people to be evaluated by others. They fear the harsh judgment of others, and they also fear being evaluated negatively and the possible negative consequences for that (Nichols). Given the crucial part, social interactions play in enhancing the quality of life, socially anxious people risk missing out on an important facet of their lives. The quality of life of people who have social anxiety could be severely compromised.
People with social anxiety, due to their fear of engaging in social interactions, remain isolated and lonely. What makes it worse is that they are not even confident enough to approach anyone for help. People who have social anxiety have a genuine need to engage in social interactions. They truly wish that they could engage in conversations with everybody else, like anybody else. They would wish to face crowds and speak with confidence, and they would wish to be normal in the presence of strangers. However, this disorder makes social interactions a living hell for them. Cultivating a relationship, making a rapport with a stranger and even some careers are close to impossible for people with social anxiety.
Social anxiety not only robs its victims of the luxury of engaging in meaningful contacts with other people, but it also causes them discomfiture and embarrassment, something that may lower their self-esteem later. Socially anxious people may end up being sidelined in their social interactions because they do not have the self-esteem needed to pursue their interests. This may hamper self-development in many ways. People with social anxiety disorder may waste their talent because they may not even have the confidence to pursue their talent. Moreover, they may not have the confidence to approach people who may help them nurture their talents. This is damaging to the ambitions and aspirations of people who have social anxiety.
Socially anxious people have the tendency to avoid crowded places for the fear of people's reaction. People who do not understand them may label them as anti-social, hurting their feelings and making them even less socially active by developing in them fear of being judged by their appearance. This makes life a nightmare for people who are affected by social anxiety. They do not even make an attempt to engage in social interactions of any kind not only because they are too self-conscious, but also because they fear the misjudgments they may be subjected to by other people.
Agonizing as it is, socially anxious people may have some advantages over people who are more confident socially, and this depends on quite a lot on the prevailing circumstances (Kashdan, Volkmann and Breen). Since they are more withdrawn, some people may think they are polite and cool, which may give them an advantage over loud and verbose people. Inasmuch as some people hold the view that reserved people lack confidence, other people hold reserved people in high esteem because they are more thoughtful of what they say and they hardly make irrational statements. Therefore, people who have social anxiety, despite the challenges that their condition predisposes them to, have the chance of earning the respect of others.
Social anxiety could present several challenges in the social life of the people with this disorder. It could rob him or her of his confidence, esteem and opportunities. On the other hand, however, they may earn the respect of other people because of their tendency to think before they act.