1. We aren’t ignoring you or being rude—we’re just shy.
Since we tend to keep to ourselves, most people think we are brushing them off or ignoring them. We really aren’t; we’re just too anxious to involve ourselves in conversations with people we don’t know.
2. Alcohol does not always help.
Surprisingly, even getting our buzz on can’t save us from ourselves. Unless we are blackout drunk, the anxious thoughts remain.
3. We overanalyze everything…
We scrutinize everything people do around us: body language, what they say, their tones while saying it, the way they look at us…everything. We also think about everything we say and carefully note each person’s reaction to it.
4. …especially after hanging out.
For hours or even days after the social interaction, we play back conversations in our head. That way, we can pinpoint exactly what we said or did to elicit negative reactions.
5. FOMO is the one fear we don’t have.
FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a term coined by millennials who feel the need to attend every social event within their social group for fear of missing something great. For those of us with social anxiety, attending a social event causes way more anxiety than anything else—we fear not missing out.
6. We’re able to have friends…
Contrary to popular belief, the socially anxious do have friends. We have a few close friends whom we trust, have known for years, and are aware of our situation.
7. …as well as significant others.
In some cases, those with social anxiety are able to flirt and talk with members of the opposite sex.
8. We drop subtle hints…
In the event that we make conversation with an acquaintance, we’ll say things such as, “Text me when you’re free! I always am!” or “We should grab lunch this week!” in the hopes that you will reach out to us.
9. …but we never ask first.
It’s not that we don’t want to; we just don’t want to put you in a position where you feel obligated to see us.
10. We assume that you don’t like us.
Social anxiety revolves around the idea that people reject us. If we seem emotionally needy, it’s because we are. Unless people constantly give us praise and affection, we assume you don’t like us and we try will avoid you.
11. We are in a constant state of hyper-awareness.
Even losing focus for a moment can trigger mild panic. Few things are worse than being forced to make small talk with an acquaintance or running into an ex. By always being aware, we can hopefully see these people before they see us and avoid them.
12. We put the happiness of others over our own.
We do this even with people we don’t know very well. We always want to make sure others are enjoying themselves, even if we’re not. That way, no one can blame us for ruining their fun and give them yet another reason to reject us.
13. We are extremely caring toward our friends.
No one should ever have to go through the emotional stress that we do. Because of this, we always make sure our friends know how loved and appreciated they are. If you take the time to befriend someone with social anxiety, they could be the best friend you’ve ever had.