Shyness or Social phobia?!

Social phobia or shyness that’s the question.

“Are you suffering from social phobia or are you simply just a shy person? Are you always worried and uncomfortable when it comes to knowing/meeting new people?” Those series of questions rambled around inside my head and pushed me to contact a psychiatrist.

Dear psychiatrist,

I need your help, today one of my friends wondered if I am shy or a social phobia sufferer because I get nervous when it comes to meeting new people. The question struck fear into my heart urging me to contact you. Please help me with an answer as soon as possible.

thanks in advance.

Dear patient,

First of all, in order to answer your question, you need to acknowledge the difference between shyness and social phobia.”Shyness” is a personal trait which is associated with the feeling of being awkward and uncomfortable among strangers. It’s even considered as a barrier making it difficult to communicate with unfamiliar people, however all of this diminish when you get to know the people.

On the other hand,”Social Phobia”is the fear of being the focus of social event or being judged and showing specific anxiety symptoms. They tend to avoid any social events either by not attending at all or by distracting themselves from it by eating, drinking, writing or using their mobile phone to avoid direct contact with others. Simply they avoid any social situation and this comes from their fear of embarrassing themselves publicly.

Secondly, both of them have different signs. For example, socially phobic people suffer from blushing , trembling, excessive sweat, loss of concentration and have a strong desire to escape social gatherings. Furthermore, they experience an increase in heart rate and breathing rate and vomiting. While Shy people suffer from feeling nervous among people for a short time only.

Thirdly, each ofshyness and social phobia has a different effect on their sufferers’ life. However, shy people tend to live a normal life overall. Unfortunately, social phobia sufferers lead to an unhealthy, depressed life as Social phobia cause them to shut people out turning them to alcohol and drugs to deal with their social problems.

Finally, In case you have any of each, you need to recognize how to overcome each of them.

Social Phobia:

In order to recover, “Cognitive Behavior Therapy” is needed.

  • It will help in noticing what’s causing the anxiety and how to control it.
  • It will teach some efficient skills through recreational, alertness and social skills training.

This will help them to face their fears and decrease the apprehension.


  • Set yourself to be curious about others and ask them questions to get to know them. Therefore, this will help to get your focus off yourself.
  • Use fewer personal pronouns while talking to avoid being the center of attention.
  • Always remind yourself that social events are enjoyable and there is nothing to worry about.

If any of the social phobia symptoms applies to you, please don’t hesitate to go for a psychiatrist. If not , don’t worry you are just a shy person no more.

In a nutshell, if you’re a shy person don’t press yourself about it as it’s easy to overcome. Nevertheless, if you’re always avoiding social communication, contact a therapist as soon as possible because life is too short to avoid living.