Introvert and social anxiety

I am an introvert born in a family of extroverts. As a society, we don’t really understand introverts. Ever since I was a kid, I always preferred to play by myself. I remember wanting to always stay in my room and read, or even sleep rather than come outside and socialise.

Not all introverts are prone to social anxieties and those who have, don’t realise it, till it takes a toll and causes mental havoc.

Felt I am a weirdo because of anxiety

Growing up, I have always felt I was abnormal while others thought I was just shy and would grow out of it. Today I am almost thirty years old and never “grew out of it” because I was never “shy” in the first place.

I am an introvert with social anxiety and I am going to tell you the difference between both, in the hope that it would benefit others.

My life might look quite normal on the surface but there is a myriad of thoughts that generate in my mind and it happens all the time. If you have social anxiety, you will feel people are constantly judging you, ridiculing or even laughing at you.

Now picture yourself walking alone on the road. I will show you the contrast.


When You walk – just walk and probably appreciate nature while walking
When I walk – trying to just walk and suddenly it strikes me, Am I walking weirdly? Are my arms swinging too much? Do I look crazy? Are those two people standing at the end of the road (who don’t even know I exist) laughing at me?

See the difference? This is what anxiety does to a person.

Cafeteria and classroom is a nightmare for someone with social anxiety. Attendance was the most dreaded time during school and college. It was an ordeal.

Why? Picture this. The teacher calls out my name,

ME: Present Ma’m (Did anyone notice my double chin and Should I say Yes madam or is it present, and was I loud enough? And what if the teacher didn’t hear me and marks me absent!)

Picking up phone call is another ordeal. Now you can guess why my phone is on silent mode all the time. It is overwhelming to talk, that’s why most people with social anxieties prefer messaging compared to calling.

Self conscious and awkward

I feel so comfortable being around my family and relatives. Maybe one or two closest friends, but when it comes to anyone else, I feel so awkward. I feel self-conscious, its easier to just stay at home than meet people. It is draining and exhausting being around people.

I used to feel sick when people advised me that I must fit in and not become a recluse. Though I try to be polite and listen, honestly I just want to run from there.

Difference between introversion and social anxiety

If you are an introvert, you may avoid large crowds and social gatherings as you will find it draining. You embrace solitude, but if you have social anxiety, not only you will find socialising overwhelming but it will cause distress and may take hours or days to recover and feel normal again.

Introverts are not afraid of meeting people. They don’t go out much because they simply don’t want to. If the thought of going out unnerves you and you try to stay away from possible interactions that come with everyday task and normal activities like shopping and going to gym induces fear, then it is not just introversion.

Basically, introversion is an inborn personality trait whereas social anxiety is a form of psychological illness.

In my next post, I will be telling you how you can overcome your social anxiety and lead a peaceful life. Drop-in your comments if you found this article helpful.

Published by

Sneha

Sneha is an award-winning blogger and has also been featured in Deccan Chronicle newspaper. She left her job at IBM India to venture into blogging in 2018. This blog is India's Feminist and Personal Development blog for women and focuses on self-improvement and self-acceptance.

18 thoughts on “Introvert and social anxiety”

  1. I was never an introvert. As a child I loved playing with friends. When I became a teenager, I lost my friends and was bullied. It caused me to develop social anxiety which turned me into an introvert. I now donโ€™t like being around people anymore. I got special permission in high school to be late to class

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What is that which makes you an introvert? Is it a born quality or bringing up makes you one. Pl analyse after speaking to various person. It might help if you find some ans

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Introverts get their energy by focusing inside themselves and need alone time to recharge themselves.

      Extroverts, on the other side, seek stimulation outside themselves and prefer to be with others to get their energy

      Both are different personalities but social anxiety takes place due to primary caretaker’s parenting (Criticising, comparing) and social environment example, bullying.

      Anxiety takes place due to intense fear of being judged, ridiculed, and criticised.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I used to think I am neither. But now I want to read more on this. I donโ€™t think there is anything wrong with an introvert or a socially anxious person. Itโ€™s a trait and one ought to embrace it. So whatever I discover now about myself will be a new page in my lifeโ€™s book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jyoti, Some people are introverts, whereas some are extroverts.

      Some feel recharged staying at home, while some derive their energy by socialising and meeting people.

      There is nothing wrong with both, they are personality traits.

      Social Anxiety is not a personality trait, it is a psychological illness and takes a toll on mental health.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I am an introvert too. I try to avoid going to social gatherings or functions. Such things makes me anxious. If I have to go some function, I try to find a corner and avoid people. People don’t understand introverts.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sneha ur articles are always beneficial for others..i really enjoy reading urs…
    Looking fwd to next article eagerly…
    Now coming to me..i was also kind of person who always thought..people r talking about me ..they might be laughing at me ..i m not gud looking..why will someone choose me…i m stupid..i was in hostel so i always thought myself as nerd n geek…i was very low confidence girl..nobody likes me n blah blah..list is too long to write..but i just want to add something that i really found helpful in this recovery process…
    I was thinking like this coz i believed so
    But the day i stopped beliveing it dint effect me anymore..
    I started taking stupidity as my plus point…
    If a person says to me
    I m intelligent n u r stupid..so i started giving it back like..
    Nobody will give value to intelligent people if there are no stupid people..
    So you shud appreciate my stupidity n uniqueness….hahaha..
    .and Fortunately I got gud frens at office who din’t judge me…so i got confidence n i stopped thinking that way…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so helpful. I have both conditions. Won’t go for walks during the day for fear of what people think of me as they drive by. (roll eyes)

    Like

  7. This is so helpful. I have both conditions. Won’t even go for a walk during the day for fear of what other will think of me as they drive by. (roll eyes)

    Like

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