Shyness is a personality trait. Shy people take a while longer to open up and feel comfortable in strange environments or with strangers. They feel nervous and insecure around new people. Imagine a block of ice in the summers vs that same block of ice in the winters. Shy people are like blocks of ice in the winters- it takes longer for them to warm up, but once they do, they go with the flow and become comfortable with the social aspect of the environment.
Introversion is another personality trait. It is a preference wherein people prefer being alone and living inside their heads with their own company. Occasionally, and on their own terms, they may even want to socialize, but social interactions drain their energy. They prefer socializing individually or in small groups. They are intrinsically motivated and gain energy from solitude. Imagine a block of ice in sub-zero temperatures. The ice is content in its own iciness- it’s chilling.
Social Anxiety is a disorder. Social situations cause immense anxiety and stress for individuals with this disorder. There’s an overwhelming fear of humiliation and even though socially anxious people want to socialize, the accompanying negative effects render them unable to do so. They either avoid social situations or endure them with great difficulty. Physical symptoms like sweating, palpitations and nausea (among others) are common for socially anxious people. Imagine a block of ice that wants to melt but is fatally afraid of warmer temperatures and the mere idea of warmth freezes them even further.
What Causes Social Anxiety?
How to Manage Social Anxiety?
Social Anxiety shows differently in different people and also in different stages of one’s life. Children may scream and shout where adults go quiet and sweaty. To deal with social anxiety, it is integral to understand how it manifests in one’s life and the reasons for its manifestation – your reasons. Thinking about them and writing them down is helpful. Accurately assessing situations and our ability to deal with them is also helpful. Learning how to take feedback and drawing healthier boundaries also help curb social anxiety.