Social anxiety is the worst! Here are five struggles that every person with social anxiety (and most shy people in general) experience:
1. Talking on the phone is like climbing Mount Everest
Ugh, why is it like this? You would think that talking on the phone would not be so bad since you can’t even see the other person. It’s just so awkward.
This is how the conversation probably starts:
You: Hi, how are you?
Them: Great, how are you?
You: I’m fine, how are you? *facepalm*
Then you get through the agonizing middle part of the phone call and arrive at the dreaded conclusion. This consists of you and the person on the other end going through awkward variations of “great talking to you” and “good bye” until one of you finally hangs up. Then you sit there thinking about how big of an idiot you probably sounded like.
2. The nerves when you have to speak in public are almost unbearable.
The actual speaking part is terrible. You are shaky and sweaty, and you wonder if the audience realizes it. However, the worst part often comes beforehand.
When you find out that you are going to have to engage in some form of public speaking, your life from now until then is shattered. Even if it is not directly on your mind, there is always a place in the back of your brain that is constantly reminding you about your impending doom.
The rest of your life is suddenly condensed into two parts: everything between now and the public speaking, and everything after it. Nothing during the in-between part matters because you are consciously or subconsciously worrying about the speech.
The one redeeming quality of public speaking is experiencing that wave of relief that comes over you right when you sit down after speaking. If it didn’t go so well, you are just glad that it is over. If it went well, you are still just glad that the damn speech is over.
Whatever you do afterwards feels so much better than normal, because for the first time since you found out you had to give a speech, your mind is at ease.
3. Sitting in a class in which you could be randomly called on at any time is like walking through a minefield.
It doesn’t matter if you are at the top, middle, or bottom of your class. You might know the answer to literally anything that the teacher could ask you. However, at the moment you hear your name roll out of the teacher’s mouth, you might as well be the dumbest person in the world. Your mind goes blank and you try to spit out the correct answer, or at least something to get the attention off of you.
After this short ordeal passes, it takes some time to recover from the shock of nerves. If you answered correctly, you know that you bought yourself at least a few minutes of peace. Then, as more and more people are called on, you realize that your name is back in the running. You sit in terror.
Then, the bell rings and you are instantly liberated from the prison of your mind.
There’s just one small problem: you realize that you learned literally nothing from the class because you spent the entire time being worried about getting called on.
4. Acting on a crush that you have is probably not going to happen unless the stars are perfectly aligned
You can tell that the two of you would make the perfect couple. You are pretty sure that he/she is interested in you. If you could just talk to him or her, it would be so much easier.
But alas, your crush just remains your crush unless one of two things happen:
One: you somehow manage to work up the courage to talk to the person and things evolve from there.
Two: by some stroke of luck, you are forced into a position where you have to talk to that person. For example, maybe you end up being assigned to work with the person on a group project. If this is the case, lucky you, but things are still uphill from here.
You start to overanalyze all of your words and actions. You say things to try to sound interesting, but you realize that you just sound lame. If you do manage to hit it off with the person, you then have to take the next step to try to ask him or her out.
If you can get over the hill and develop a level of comfort with the person, you can have a great relationship. Until then, though, the struggle is real.
5. Job interviews are just big, long torture sessions
If you have already entered the workforce, you and this struggle have probably met many times already. If you are still a student, you try not to think about this giant barrier in your future.
You know that you are the best person for the job. On paper, you could perfectly explain why the company needs to hire you. There’s just one problem: there is a massive concrete wall standing between you and the job, and that wall is called a job interview.
You know that when you are in that room and you are put on the spot, you are not going to be able to fully articulate the best answer. You also know that the interviewer is going to notice your shaky voice and sweaty hands.
After the interview, you are sure that it was a disaster.
Then, you get a call: you got the job! It turns out that those nerves forced you to prepare more than anyone else and you actually aced the interview. Maybe social anxiety has some benefits.