How to tell it apart: Introversion vs. Social Anxiety

Social Anxiety Disorder also called “social phobia” is the third largest mental health care problem in the world today and US-studies have shown that it affects over 7% of the population. The definition of social anxiety is the fear of social situations which involves interaction with other people, that may or may not judge you negatively for the things you say or do (or not).

Social Anxiety is a chronic disorder. It doesn’t go away on its own and it stays as long as you don’t treat it for example through therapy, that helps you to learn how to overcome it.

How does Social Anxiety look like?

Some of the most common symptoms of Social Anxiety are for example…

  1. Excessive sweating & a dry throat
  2. Trembling of your muscles
  3. Racing heart High level of fear
  4. extreme self-consciousness
  5. extreme nervousness

Those symptoms can be triggered by nearly any social situation.
Example:You’re sitting in school or university and the teacher/professor is asking you to answer a question in front of everyone sitting in that room. If you have social anxiety, this will trigger you – very intensely. Your heart will start to racing, your muscles will begin to tremble and your mouth will get so dry, that you feel like you’re unable to speak. You will start sweating a lot and all you can think of is that everyone around will laugh at you – no matter what you say right now. Or especially because you’re not saying anything!

Why you are most likely not having Social Anxiety

If you are an introvert like me – this won’t look or seem very unfamiliar to you. You’re maybe thinking that this totally resonates with your experience in your past what ultimately will make you ask yourself one thing: Do I suffer from Social Anxiety?Don’t get me wrong, I really understand where this is coming from since I happened to feel very insecure when I was younger as well. Situations like the mentioned above definitely happened to me like this many times in my past, but does that really mean that I suffer from social anxiety?
In my opinion, there are just a handful of introverts that actually suffer from social anxiety and I’m quite sure that this doesn’t apply to you either.

Let me explain the difference between Social Anxiety & Introversion:

Social Anxiety is a disorder. It’s nothing someone is born with and it’s not a personality trait that comes along with being an introvert. People are made socially anxious for example through previous experience with social rejection or bullying or any other traumatic experience that involved other people.

That’s why people with this Social Anxiety disorder are often perceived as very shy, quiet, aloof and inhibited. What is very similar to how introverts are perceived, but the “cause” is different.

People with social anxiety often want to be involved with other people. They want to be included in groups and they often have a need for social interactions that they can’t fulfill, because they fear being rejected. The fear is so strong it’s holding them back from being socially active whereas an introvert chooses to be alone over being socially active.
Introversion is a personality trait, that can’t be “fixed”.Social Anxiety is a disorder, that can be treated.
Conclusion: Being introverted will not also make you have social anxiety & social anxiety will not make you become an introvert. (Even though it could appear to be like this sometimes)

If you are still wondering if you have Social Anxiety, I prepared four questions for you to give you an idea on how to tell them apart and see if this is something you should get professional help for:(I recommend seeking a therapist if you genuinely worry about having this disorder!)

  1. Do you seek solitude because it helps you to feel less anxious and afraid?
  2. Is it very important to you what other people think of you? (About the way you talk, the way you walk or do things? But supersized?)
  3. Does the fear of being negatively judged by other people make you want to reach a level of perfectionism that is impossible for you to achieve in reality?
  4. Do you panic physically and/ or emotionally in nearly every social situation?

If you answer all those questions with a big YES: I encourage you to seek help and let a professional help you to overcome your social anxiety, as it can turn into a huge problem in the long run when remaining untreated.
And if you answered every question with a NO: it’s pretty unlikely that you are suffering from Social Anxiety.

It’s completely normal to not feel 100 % comfortable with people you just met and feeling insecure sometimes is something we all struggle with daily. As long as it doesn’t turn into extreme fear every time you get into a social situation, you really don’t have to worry about this at all. But, if you still have that little feeling that something is making your day to day life very difficult you should definitely seek professional help!

Social Anxiety is a huge topic and even after giving you all this information, I’m sure there is still a lot that I haven’t touched on. I’m going to link down below the informational articles I used to provide the information on this topic in case you want to research this yourself!

Sources & Articles:

Check out my Podcast:

5 thoughts on “How to tell it apart: Introversion vs. Social Anxiety”

  1. hmm ich glaube schon, dass es sehr viele Menschen gibt die beides habe.
    Wenn man bedenkt, dass ja doch gut 25-30% der Menschen introvertiert sind und die Sozialphobie eine sehr häufige Störung ist.
    Ich jedenfalls hab bei beidem HIER geschrien. Viele Symptome sind ähnelich, manche überschneiden sich aber ich kann sehr gut auseinanderhalten ob ich grad keinen Menschen um mich haben will (weil zu erschöpft) oder weil ich Angst davor habe. Oft zeigt sich die Angst ja in anderen Symptomen (zittern-auch innerliches usw) weährend die Introversion sich eher durch Gereiztheit, redefaules, und starker Müdigkeit, Desinteresse am anderen usw. zeigt.

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    1. Hallo! Ja, genau darum geht es ja. Ich möchte mit dem Artikel zeigen, dass es Möglichkeiten gibt auseinander zu halten ob an introvertiert ist oder soziale Angst / Phobie hat oder entwickelt. Ich möchte nicht damit sagen, dass introvrtierte Menschen keine Tendenz haben soziale Angst zu haben. Ich habe nur durch meine Arbeit auf Instagram bemerkt, dass sehr viele das nicht klar unterscheiden können und sich selber schnell “soziale Angst” diagnostizieren, obwohl sie keine haben. Ich hab ja angemerkt, dass der Gang zum Therapeuten beim Verdacht auf soziale Angst wirklich wichtig ist und notwendig. Ausschließen kann man das mit meinen Fragen natürlich nicht, sondern sollen nur eine Richtung vorgeben. Sozialphobie ist ein ernstzunehmendes Problem und wenn man glaubt, dass man es hat, soll man wirklich in Behandlung gehen, da es den persönlichen und beruflichen Alltag sehr behindern und stören kann. Lieben Dank für deinen Kommentar!

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  2. ja aber ich meinte gelesen zu haben, dass es eher selten ist, dass man beides hat. Darum gings mir.
    Tja wem sagst Du das, beruflicher Alltag gibts bei mir schon gar nicht mehr. Wurde berentet. Meine Soz.phobie (und anderes) hat sich zu sehr verfestigt.
    Die Behandlung dient nur noch dafür, dass es nicht schlimmer wird und ich alleine mein Leben hinbekomme.

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    1. Ich glaube das hast du meinem Beitrag nicht ganz korrekt entnommen. Ich sagte, dass meiner Meinung nach nur wenige Introvertierte wahrscheinlich wirklich unter sozialer Phobie leiden – aber da spreche ich nur aus meiner Erfahrung mit anderen Introvertierten. Das ist auf keinen Fall etwas, dass ich als Fakt hinstelle, da ich wissenschaftliche Erhebungen dazu keine gefunden haben, die ich dazu hätte als Grundlage verwenden können. 🙂
      Ich wünsche dir aber alles Gute für deine Zukunft & hoffe, dass du das gut in den Griff bekommst.💜

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