Introverts are finally being more accepted in our social world. Enjoying staying in on a Saturday night because that’s how you unwind from a hectic week is embracing your introverted nature. But what if you don’t go out because of fear and worry? Maybe that you’ll do or say something wrong or that people will think you are lame?
Those kinds of issues signal an issue with social anxiety rather than plain old introversion. While it’s true you can be both an introvert and someone who has social anxiety, it’s easier to discuss the differences by separating. You may have a problem with social anxiety if you experience some of the following traits.
Believing Something is Wrong with You
If you decide to skip every party or social event you are invited to because you feel like you are different from everyone else or won’t fit in, you may have social anxiety. Introverts chose to stay home instead of attending some functions, not out of fear, but because they enjoy being home alone.
On the other side, someone with social anxiety may feel bummed out all night because they were too scared to attend the party but really wanted to go.
Being Afraid You’ll Be Exposed
Because people with social anxiety feel like there is something wrong with them when they do attend a social function, they stand in the corner, trying not to give any eye contact. The reason? They are scared that someone will magically be able to tell what’s wrong with them and they’ll be “outed.” They worry they will somehow announce their inadequacies if they mingle and talk with people.
Introverts, though, may hang back because they have to warm up to their environment. After that, they may begin a fascinating conversation with someone they just met. A person with social anxiety wouldn’t take the risk of doing that.
Being a Perfectionist
Those with social anxiety expect too much from themselves. They demand perfection from themselves, and when they feel they can’t be perfect, they will often not even try. They feel since they can’t be charming and witty like outgoing people are, they are social outcasts or failures. Once perceived misstep and the person with social anxiety beats themselves up.
They can’t just have fun – they have to perform as the perfect party-goer. Introverts though can have a good time and be themselves, even if they aren’t in their natural element in a larger group.
Being Hard On Yourself
As mentioned above, those with social anxiety beat themselves up, no matter what they do. They dwell on the way they stumbled over their words when talking to someone graceful. Or they worry all night about how they hurt their friend’s feelings because they were too scared to go out with them.
Introverts find it easier to live with what they have said or if they chose not to go to the party. They understand they are just being who they are.