Extroverts thrive on interacting with others. Classically, they’re seen as outgoing people who are less likely to hang back when compared to their introverted counterparts. But, what if the social opportunities and events that invigorate and recharge you also bring feelings of nervousness, anxiety, or excessive worry? What if the fear holds you back from engaging with others, and as a result, you feel stuck? Can extroverts have social anxiety, and if so, what can be done about it? Today, we will answer those questions and talk about how to find help if you’re struggling.
Can You Have Social Anxiety as An Extrovert?
Something most people get wrong about social anxiety disorder is that it’s synonymous with being shy or introverted. However, the truth is that sign of social anxiety disorder symptoms is a mental health condition that can impact anyone – including those currently or formerly identifying as an extrovert.
Social anxiety disorder impacts around 15 million adults in the United States alone, and it’s considered a very common mental health condition. It can affect people of all ages, including kids and teens, and symptoms often start by the time someone reaches their teenage years.
Social anxiety disorder is characterized by marked, ongoing, and disproportionate fear or anxiety surrounding one or more social events where a person could be scrutinized by others. For example, introducing oneself to new people, going through the checkout line, eating in front of others, one-on-one conversations with an unfamiliar person, group settings, and more.
Although social anxiety impacts everyone uniquely, someone with social anxiety may:
- Avoid social situations or events, especially those they anticipate may lead to judgment or embarrassment
- Worry excessively about how they came off after social interactions
- Worry excessively leading up to social interactions
- Experience trouble sleeping due to worry surrounding social situations, events, or interactions
- Face physical symptoms such as sweating, blushing, shaking, headaches, or nausea
- Worry about appearing nervous or anxious to others in social situations
Social anxiety disorder is also sometimes referred to as social phobia. Social anxiety disorder is diagnosed when it causes clinically significant distress or impacts your ability to function and engage in daily tasks or obligations, such as those related to work, school, and other important areas of life. It’s not the same as occasional shyness, and it can be debilitating. So, how can you navigate social anxiety and get to a better place?
How To Navigate Social Anxiety as An Extrovert?
Extrovert or not, social relationships are a crucial part of our mental and physical health. Healthy social connections are affiliated with lower levels of stress, depression, improved sleep, and a number of other advantages. Here are some things you can do to navigate social anxiety as an extrovert or as someone who simply wants to put themselves out there more:
- Utilize your support system. If you are anxious about meeting new people, you might decide to enter those spaces with an existing friend who makes you feel more comfortable.
- Use coping skills. When you’re feeling anxious, coping skills like breathing exercises and thought reframe can be incredibly beneficial. Say that you’re thinking about or are about to engage in a social situation that makes you anxious and you notice yourself experiencing symptoms of anxiety. Having a tool kit to help calm your nervous system can help.
- Start small. If social anxiety has impacted your life for a while, you might not have been able to connect socially recently. Taking small steps by engaging in social activities that are a little bit less challenging for you – for example, a one-on-one hang-out or a low-key meet-up rather than a large party – is a great place to start.
The most crucial thing to do? If you have social anxiety disorder or think that you might, it’s imperative to reach out to a medical or mental health provider who can help. This is true whether you’re an extrovert, introvert, or neither. The good news about social anxiety disorder is that it’s a highly treatable mental health condition.
Therapy is the leading treatment for social anxiety disorder and a number of other mental health conditions, and with support, research shows that symptoms can improve. You don’t have to face social anxiety disorder on your own, and it is possible to get to a better place.
Find A Therapist
Whether you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder, another mental health condition, or something else that’s impacting your life, a therapist or counselor can help. Therapy is a confidential space for you to talk about what’s on your mind in a non-judgmental environment. To find a therapist, you can contact your insurance company to see who they cover, ask your doctor for a referral, search the web, or sign up for a reputable online therapy platform with licensed providers like BetterHelp. Online therapy is a convenient way to get the support that you need from a provider who is licensed to practice in your state, and it’s often more affordable than traditional in-person therapy is without insurance. Regardless of how you find a therapist, you deserve to get the support you need, so don’t hesitate to start your search today.
Author Marie Miguel Biography:
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.