The 4 differences between shyness and social phobia

We meet a person who does not dare to speak or speak in public and who keeps the expression of his thoughts inhibited. This person suffers from it and finds it difficult to understand and defend his position. Why is it costing you so much? Some people interpret this person as extremely shy, while others see him as a social phobia. But what are the differences between one thing and another?

To this end, we will make a brief definition of each of the two concepts, and then focus on the differences between shyness and social phobia.

    What do we mean by shyness?

    shyness it’s a personality trait present in a large number of people in whom the subject who possesses it has difficulty expressing himself in public and creating links with his peers, which involves effort and generally generates anxiety.

    These people tend to be silent not because they have nothing to say, but because they are afraid to do so because of the possibility of being judged negatively.

    It is not about the shy person being introverted (in fact, shy people can actually be very extroverted), but out of fear they have to be extremely careful about what they say and to whom, and not dare speak out. firmly. These people can feel insecure and uncomfortable in social situations and usually don’t deal with large groups of strangers.

    A shy person you can suffer from this shyness by causing some isolation and limitation of social life. However, shyness is not considered a pathology unless it is taken to extremes and social situations are actively avoided or symptoms such as anxiety attacks are generated.

    Social phobia

    Social phobia or social anxiety disorder it’s an anxiety disorder in which the subject who suffers from it has an irrational and persistent fear of exposing himself in social situations or in front of certain people, for fear of being judged or of performing an action which makes them ridiculous.

    The person tries as much as possible avoid social situations and experience a high level of anxiety if you are forced to participate in these situations and you might have anxiety attacks. The person recognizes that their fear is irrational and is not the cause of other disorders or of substance use.

    This disorder can occur generally or by limiting panic to specific situations such as exposure or some type of activity in public.

    Differences between shyness and social phobia

    As we can see from the definitions of shyness and social phobia, the two concepts are similar at the core of the concept: in both cases, the person is afraid of being judged socially by their actions or words, inhibiting to a certain extent their interaction with their peers and causing a more or less severe limitation of expression and social bond.

    In fact, it is sometimes considered that social phobia is the pathological end of shyness, And it’s no surprise that personalities with a high level of shyness in childhood may develop social phobia in the future (although this shouldn’t happen).

    Despite the similarities mentioned above, we can find several differences between shyness and social phobia, some of the main ones being as follows.

    1. Failure to avoid social interactions

    First, shyness is a more or less stable personality trait throughout life, although it may be reduced as the subject’s life experience varies. But although this may produce certain limitations it is not considered a disorder.

    Social phobia involves the presence of a high level of fear of facing social situations that cause them to be avoided continuously and persistently. However the shy person does is able to interact in social situations and although she does not feel safe in these contexts, she does not avoid them so actively. For example, the shy person may go to a party even if they don’t speak much, but the phobic will avoid it if they can.

    2. Generalized fear

    Another point on which the two concepts differ is that while the shy person often feels uncomfortable facing specific situations or people, in the social phobia scared and tends to be more prevalent (Even if we are talking about a circumscribed phobia).

    3. Physiological differences

    A third point of contrast is the presence of symptomatology at the physiological level. A shy person may experience hot flashes, sweating, gastrointestinal upset, and some nervousness when exposed, but usually no major disturbance is generated. However, in the case of social phobia, severe tachycardias, difficulty breathing and anxiety attacks can be experienced not only by facing the situation but also by imagining it in advance.

    4. The intensity of the limitation

    Finally, the shy person may suffer at some point due to the perceived inability to relate or defend their point of view, but in the case of a social phobia, fear and worry they are more continuous and limit their quality of life.

    Thus, a shy person may prefer to cross a street rather than a few meters so as not to meet a certain person, while a person with a social phobia is able not to leave the house knowing that at that time a person is quitting. ‘he likes comes back might find her by chance.

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