People with social anxiety fear being negatively judged by others when observed in social situations. Sufferers fear they will do something embarrassing or humiliating and that others will think badly of them as a result. They try to interpret others behaviours or expressions and what it may say about what others think about them, leaving them feeling highly anxious. This leads them to either avoid social situations or endure them the best way they can by using a range of coping strategies.
Physical reactions include blushing, sweating and trembling and beliefs around 'not fitting in', 'being different', 'not being as good as others/not likeable'. This leaves the person feeling self-conscious and embarrassed during conversations and doing things in front of others, such as eating, drinking, speaking or presenting in meetings, parties and other social situations.
Although we can all feel socially anxious at times, social anxiety can make everyday situations extremely difficult and uncomfortable, restricting and interfering with people's lives.