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Discussion in 'Social Anxiety Disorder' started by hades_leae, Aug 4, 2016.
My friends used to think I was just shy or introverted and I never went up to talk to anyone before college so I made friends when they attempted to talk to me and we dive into meaningful conversation. I don't ever tell anyone I have social anxiety unless we're really close already because from experience it just creates more awkward energy.
No, I would not openly speak about my problems with unknown people, because we are all different. Someone will understand you well, while others may misunderstand what you want to say. Someone will even think that something is seriously wrong with you, while a few of them might think that you are just joking with them. As you can see from this, it is very important to whom you speak. Is it your close friend, family member, or just a stranger you have met yesterday? Be cautious with unknown people, because they can often harm much more than they can help. At least, it has been like that in my case.
It is better for people to at least have an idea of what you are going through. This helps in preventing them from doing things that make you more uncomfortable and you are assured of comfort in times of need.
My social anxiety embarrasses me. I was invited to a wedding recently and I battled for the weeks leading up to it. I had no idea what to say to the groom who had invited me. In the end, I got them a gift and openly told him that I get agoraphobic. He was really understanding and said that was when social anxiety happens so he knew that it wasn't because I was avoiding going. He knew that my reason was genuine. I was afraid of offending him and his bride. I didn't think that they would understand but I was wrong.
You definitely have to exercise your own judgment on this one.
It could be a smart move. Or it could backfire. Totally depends on how understanding the other person is.
In my case, family members may not be wise to share this with. They tend to use the negative parts of you against you and make fun of you for it, ignoring their own defects.
However, I have a supportive group of friends who hear this and help. They listen without judgment. They care. They attempt to understand. They don't always understand. But they try. And they offer useful feedback to help me improve.
They're good people.
Beyond those close to you, it gets difficult. I had a friend tell his employer about his social anxiety disorder (he worked customer service), and they were understanding and accommodating.
Past employers I worked for were blatantly abusive and unconcerned with anyone but themselves. It would be a mistake to tell them about social anxiety disorder.
You have to read their character as best you can. Float out small bits and pieces casually to see how they respond. For example,"I get scared in situations with large groups of people."
If they respond by dismissing or putting that statement down, keep your social anxiety to yourself. You'll never get the understand and help you want.
If they respond positively, with understanding and concern for you, consider sharing more.
You gotta be careful. You're taking a risk. It could backfire. Or it could work out.
I agree that it is probably not the best move to come out and tell people you have just met that you have social anxiety. You can actually use the lack of knowledge to your own benefit to try and practice not being so anxious to talk with strangers. I try to be outgoing in an effort to get my fears to go away. I was very shy as a child and have hard to work extremely hard to shake it. I am much better at talking to people now that I am older. The best way to get rid of a fear is to conquer it.
As far as people who you know well, I say to tell them, if they have not already figured it out. They will probably feel more connected to you knowing that you took the leap of faith to confide in them about something so personal.
No, I don't think it's a good idea to tell people you hardly know that you are suffering from social anxiety. Not every one understands what social anxiety means but they can jump off right away and judge you for being different. I wouldn't risk that. In fact, I wouldn't want to call attention to myself that way. I'd rather carry on 'normally' and let things be. For all I know, there are people at the party who have it worse and are just going with the flow and doing their own thing.
Nope. I don't think it is a good idea. None of there business.
I don't really admit to people that I have social phobia, but I do catch myself saying things to them like, "I hate going to events like these." Or "I can't stand weddings, no matter how much I know and love the couple getting married, I still wish I could skip the wedding altogether." Now that I think about it, I guess in a way I am admitting it to people, but instead of sounding afraid of events, they just think I hate them. But it's true, I do hate the events. But it's only because I'm afraid of them. As long as I sleep okay the night before the actual event, then I don't mind it so much. An event on 0-1 hrs. of sleep, well, that spells disaster. And I always take my own car, no matter what. Easy escape - if necessary. Going with my parents would mean staying even longer than I have to, they're never in a big hurry to get home like I am. I learned this a long time ago. So you can tell people you have social phobia, or just tell them you hate events in general, and in my experience (and to my surprise,) many of them will agree with me. Maybe deep down, everyone wishes they could just stay home rather than attend the event. Except for those die-hard party people who just live for events so they can talk your ear off and dance the night away without a care in the world. I guess I just don't understand these people. Maybe I'm even a little jealous.
Just spurting out 'hey I have a mental disorder' is, strictly speaking, sort of uncouth. So just coming out with it in a group of strangers will probably do more harm than good, probably just making it awkward for everyone involved. A lot of extroverts don't even seem to get the idea of introversion, much less an actual condition that inhibits socialization.
That said, friends and family that you're close with, it might make sense to bring it up. Explaining that you simply have trouble with strangers or crowds or whatever should make them put a bit more thought into it than 'Oh, that's just how s/he is, quiet'. Of course this varies from relationship to relationship, so you should excercise your own judgement on a case-by-case with that.