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to think everyone feels shy and has social phobia to one extent or another

(31 Posts)
NewDawnNewDayNewLifeForMe Wed 26-Mar-14 15:05:53

just some are better at hiding it or managing it than others

of course i get for some people it can be horrendous

but i do feel shyness etc is something everyone feels?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 26-Mar-14 15:48:42

YABU. Some people feel nervous in social settings and hide/manage it well but others positively relish meeting new people and derive a lot of personal energy from it. There will be other things that make them nervous instead. Everyone's different.

NurseyWursey Wed 26-Mar-14 15:52:53

I do feel you're right in a way, but I don't think it's a 'social phobia' if it's so easy to hide.

I've always struggled so I adopted this outgoing bubbly personality that isn't the real me, but it's how I coped.

But when I had my breakdown (sorry I bet people are sick of hearing this) I literally couldn't go out of my front door.

I thought I was better, went to Tesco and ended up crying my eyes out in the biscuit aisle because it was all too much, just people being there and the bright lights. My DP helped me out whilst I was muttering about the price of custard creams to hide my embarrassment.

It's different for everyone, and we can't tell what people are feeling inside. I just give a big well done to those trying to cope

AMumInScotland Wed 26-Mar-14 15:54:06

Things are only a phobia if they are excessive, unreasonable, and get in the way of you living a 'normal' life. So, no, I don't think most people could be said to suffer from social phobia, really.

Shyness? Most people to some extent in new situations, I suppose, but not everyone. I certainly know people who genuinely don't 'get' why anyone would feel uncomfortable about meeting new people, making presentations at work, etc.

fuzzpig Wed 26-Mar-14 15:54:19

Maybe everyone has some anxiety or shyness but the point of a phobia is that it significantly impacts your life so no I don't think everyone has social phobia to some extent smile

Dahlen Wed 26-Mar-14 15:56:43

I'm an extrovert and love meeting new people, so no I don't think everyone has social phobia to some extent. However, I think everyone has something that bothers them, ranging from mild worry to crippling anxiety.

pointythings Wed 26-Mar-14 16:02:15

YABU, and there is a huge difference between being shy and having social phobia as well.

I have neither, I'm the person who strikes up conversations with random strangers wherever I am even though I will never see them again and enjoys it. I enjoy public speaking too. I'm probably extreme in my extroversion (though I most definitely have filters!).

Of course everyone has things that they are anxious about, and some worry more than others.

MammaTJ Wed 26-Mar-14 16:12:03

I am very outgoing and chatty to all I meet.

I do still get knots in my stomach at the thought of meeting a load of new people though.

SaskiaRembrandtWasFramed Wed 26-Mar-14 16:19:12


LRDtheFeministDragon Wed 26-Mar-14 16:36:42

I agree with others that your misusing the term 'phobia' there.

I do think everyone feels shy from time to time, including those who generally love meeting new people - why, are you worried about? If so, I'd say if you want reassurance it's normal to feel awkward, then you should have it - it is! But if you feel that probably everyone's response to social situations is essential the same, or on the same spectrum, I'm not so sure.

WorraLiberty Wed 26-Mar-14 16:40:57

God yes, please let's not turn the word 'shyness' into 'social phobia' as I imagine that does nothing for truly socially phobic people.

CailinDana Wed 26-Mar-14 16:41:05

I find the prospect of meeting new people thrilling so much so that I am already excited about a work thing in the middle of April where I will meet about 10 new people. I run a playgroup and my job is to chat to new people - I love it, though it is tiring/frustrating at times.

AgentProvocateur Wed 26-Mar-14 16:43:26

I don't think that shyness is universal at all. I wouldn't relish presenting to a roomful of strangers, but that wouldn't be due to shyness.

My belief is that shy children turn into shy adults, and I do feel that shy adults are at a disadvantage in the workplace and elsewhere. I think resilience and confidence are really important skills for our children to learn (I don't believe they're inherent qualities). That's why I despair of the "I don't want my 14 year old to get a train alone" type posts here.

eightandthreequarters Wed 26-Mar-14 16:44:44

I love meeting new people and being in new situations. Sure, some social situations make me nervous, but I would never describe myself as shy in any way. My mum finds new people draining and difficult - she prefers the company of longtime friends or family, or herself. She would describe herself as shy. It is a hugely different way of being (not a worse one).

UriGeller Wed 26-Mar-14 16:44:57

My son has social anxiety and its crippling. Much much worse than the reticence for social situations I imagine most people get.

He's had help, and it has helped him "fake it til he makes it" sort of thing but by the end of a normal day, dealing with the outside world, he is exhausted. He's basically battling his ego all the time, poor thing.

I don't have it. I quite like social situations but I've made a fool of myself in enough of them over the years to now not give a hoot what anyone thinks of me.

neolara Wed 26-Mar-14 16:47:45

I used to have massive social anxiety, to the point that at one point as a teenager I didn't have a conversation with anyone for 6 months. At the ripe old age of 44, I virtually never feel shy. I can walk into a room of complete strangers and feel absolutely fine.

SlowlorisIncognito Wed 26-Mar-14 16:53:17

I think everyone has things they feel insecure/awkward about. I think meeting new people and making conversation is quite a common one, but I don't think everyone is shy/socially awkward. Some people do genuinely enjoy meeting new people and being around lots of others.

There are lots of social things I enjoy that make others feel nervous, although there are some social situations I don't like.

I think if you are nervous/shy it must be hard to understand how others are socially confident and assume they are just faking it. A lot of them probably are. However, to some people it just comes naturally, or the enjoyment they get from talking to someone new is greater than their anxiety about it.

ShoeWhore Wed 26-Mar-14 16:57:06

I'm generally fairly confident but can feel a little shy sometimes. I'm not very good at small talk if the other person isn't giving anything back. It doesn't stop me doing anything but I don't really enjoy it.

Dh on the other hand - I don't think he ever feels shy. He's in his element meeting new people. He goes to industry events where he might know 1 person and ends the evening having had a whale of a time with a whole load new people. He doesn't worry at all about doing this, in fact, he looks forward to it.

UriGeller Wed 26-Mar-14 17:01:57

neolara, that's sad, makes me think of my lad, his head down willing himself invisible.. He's a gorgeous looking guy too. The funny thing is, when he was little he was really adventurous, if a little sensitive, he's told me that it came as a shock to him when he got older that people aren't always as nice as he tries to be.

SelectAUserName Wed 26-Mar-14 17:08:38

I'm quite shy in social settings and even worse at the social side of work but if I know my subject and am well prepared, I enjoy giving presentations. Different things bother different people.

I think more people are putting on some sort of 'persona' in certain situations than you'd perhaps guess from their behaviour, but YABU to extrapolate from that an assumption that everyone has a degree of social phobia.

mangohedgehog Wed 26-Mar-14 17:15:17

I think yes of course there are people who are very confident socially, but I think they are outweighed by those who feel SOME anxiety.

Most people have some social issues however low-level - isn't there a theory about today's society being vastly bigger and more hectic than what humans ever had to deal with in pre-modern society? I think there's something in that - we have to be so bloody social these days and meet so many new people, it can be very disorientating.

We're a bit like intensively farmed barn reared chickens - forced to socialise with thousands when we are naturally inclined to a maximum social group of 150 or so.

NewDawnNewDayNewLifeForMe Wed 26-Mar-14 17:16:29

Neo, what changed things for you then?

Ok social phobia was badly worded very badly,I guess I just mean shyness
And that everyone suffers from shyness
To some extent or other

Suppose because I feel shy sometimes I think, well everyone must be the same

bobot Wed 26-Mar-14 17:34:48

My dh never feels shy, and doesn't understand shyness.

LaQueenOfTheSpring Wed 26-Mar-14 17:39:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PodPerson Wed 26-Mar-14 18:38:28

Everyone has different levels of shyness and some can fake it, but extreme shyness or social phobia really is something else, and I do think those who haven't suffered from it don't always understand it's something that can't just be shrugged off.

I've been in social situations where someone has been talking to me, and I've not been able to answer at all.

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