How to Deal with Social Anxiety

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This is a guest post by the brilliant Justin Mazza of Mazzastick.com.

Social fears are often a result of an unconscious fear of rejection. In place of prudently making social connections with other people for either business or personal reasons, people with social fears often hold themselves back.

There may be a number of reasons for why someone holds back, but it usually equates to unconscious fears caused by limiting beliefs about meeting new people, starting conversations with strangers, and expressing your views and opinions.

Many of the self-imposed limiting beliefs about connecting with other people are associated with low self-esteem. Identifying and removing the negative beliefs about yourself is one way to correct the problem.

As for beliefs about other people, the primary issue there is an over-generalization about people. Everybody has different standards for when and who they choose to interact with. It usually has nothing to do with you.

From time to time people will feel social and would be more than happy to socialize with almost any person. At different times though, people turn inward and like more isolation in their lives.

One example I often see is the insinuating limiting belief that if you approach someone who does not wish to connect with you at the moment, and you get rejected, then you made a blunder and never should have initiated contact in the first place.

After all there isn’t actually any real danger in trying to start-up a conversation with another person, but that doesn’t make the hurt any less real. The fear may be based in false beliefs and inaccurate assumptions; however it still could control one’s conduct.

Most of you reading this have or have had difficulty approaching members of the opposite sex. When I was in grade school I was terribly shy with girls. Even though I had lots of girls express interest in me I was too scared to allow them into my lives.

On some level of my being I believed if they got to know the real me, they might reject me, which would equal a massive amount of pain in my mind. The limiting belief I had at the time was, “I’m not good enough.”

Where I got these beliefs from really didn’t matter, but removing them did matter to me, and I figured out what I needed to do. I had to face my fear.

Quick Story about facing my fear

Back when I was in the tenth grade my best friend Kevin and I were staying down Ocean City with his parents. Kevin was much more outgoing than I was, so one day he decided we should try to pick up girls on the boardwalk.

At first, I was a little hesitant about Kevin’s suggestion, but I decided to let Kevin take the lead with his idea.

So, we sat down on the bench at the boardwalk and waited for some attractive girls to walk by. Soon enough, two pretty girls walked by and Kevin approached them and started a conversation.

Feeling unsure at the moment, I stood idly by not really adding much to the conversation. After a few minutes of talking to the two pretty girls, Kevin ended the chat so he could do it again.

Next, a group of four pretty girls walked by and Kevin got their attention with his usual charm, but this time I did a lot more talking then I had before.

After doing this a few times I wanted to “pull up” some girls as we called it back then.

We sat back down on the bench and my eyes caught two more hot girls walking our way. I walked over to them and began talking. This time though, I was the one doing all the talking with the girls as Kevin just stood there and watched.

Kevin and I “pulled girls” at least a dozen more times that night, and it actually became almost effortless to do as my personal beliefs subsided.

For every one group of girls that we were rejected by that night, at least five or more groups of girls were more than happy to talk with us. Whether we were rejected or not didn’t matter, because the limiting belief of “not being good enough” was no longer present in my belief system, because I had actual “real life” examples to prove otherwise.

This exercise can be used in any area of your life. Just go out and do the thing you are afraid to do, and do it a lot.

Takeaway

Limiting beliefs are an obstacle to your goals that make it seem impossible to get to where you want to be. The experience is similar to being up against a brick wall that you just can’t seem to get over. This is why it appears so difficult to make the changes in yourself that you want to. Remember, the wall is not physical, it exists only in your mind as a thought you think is real.

As the old saying goes, “Change your beliefs and change your life.”

Over to you:

Have you experienced social anxiety?

What did you do to overcome this?

Please share your valuable thoughts, views and experiences in the comments box below.

Please also share this post on your favourite social networks.

About the Author:

Justin Mazza writes for Mazzastick Personal Growth blog. Be sure to go to his blog and read the Secret of Deliberate Creation to learn how to manifest your reality. Justin is a husband, father, and blogger who has committed himself to being a life-long student and teacher of personal and spiritual growth. He began his personal development journey back in 1997 reading over 700 books about personal development, spiritual growth, psychology, health and nutrition and metaphysical studies.

 

Photo Credit: Diamond Farah

 

34 Comments
  1. Yes I have experienced social anxiety. I remember a young New York director wanted me to star in his film. Clearly something about me was already appealing or he wouldn’t have stalked me in Manhattan until I agreed. However I found every excuse not to go for the film test as I was convinced I would be a massive disappointment once seen through a camera lens. Ridiculous, but a rite of passage it seems for most of us – even those who are outwardly very confident. Nice post from Mr Mazzastick. He is always a good choice Dr Hiten. 🙂

    1. Thanks Pea. I’ve been there too. It seems sometimes the best thing to do in those cases is to just go for it and do our best.

    2. Hi Pea,

      It’s great to see you here, my friend!

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences about the movie director. Indeed, most of us have experienced similar emotions. It’s great when we learn from them through experience. When we improve our responses to similar situations in the future, it just shows how much we have grown internally and matured too.

      I agree it’s a very nice post from Mr Mazza! Thanks very much for leaving your comment, Pea!

      1. You are very welcome. It’s good to be out and about again. I have missed hanging on blogs such as your own and Justin’s.

        1. Hi Pea,

          It’s great to see you out and about again!

          I’ll be over at your blog shortly…

  2. Nice to see you here Justin at Hiten’s blog!

    Well written indeed 🙂 Well, I haven’t exactly faced social anxiety because I’ve been more of an extrovert when it comes to talking to people or interacting with them, perhaps because I am from an army background. However, there was a time when I wasn’t all that open and had my own reservations. It took my parents lots of time to push me in the same direction by taking me to parties or making me mingle with a group of people so that I would come out of my shyness (this was way back when I was in school I think).

    You are absolutely right – once the ice is broken and you are given that push – the ball starts rolling. Thus, once I started attending these parties and get together and met people, I became much better with my socializing skills. It’s something I started my kid’s with when they were young, though only one of them is really an out-going one compared to the other. Ah…the quote is so aptly used here – “Change your beliefs and change your life.” 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this with us. 🙂

    1. Hi Harleena. It’s so true about inertia and once we break the ice we get into alignment with who we really are. We are all social creatures and we do benefit greatly by interacting with others. I still do enjoy and need my “me time” though.

      Take Care.

    2. Hi Harleena,

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences around this topic!

      What your parents did by taking you into parties and getting you to mingle with people is absolutely amazing. They knew exactly what you were experiencing and what would help you come out of the shyness. Brilliant!

      And as you say, once we get started, there’s no stopping us. I love to look at this as skill, which you also mentioned in your comment. Skills are something we can all learn and get better at.

      Thanks very much for leaving your fantastic comment.

      I agree the quote at the end of Justin’s post is just so true. I feel like climbing to the top of a mountain and shouting this out!

  3. Thanks Hiten for allowing me to write a guest post for your blog. I truly appreciate it my friend. 🙂

    1. Hi Justin,

      You are very welcome, my friend. It is a pleasure and a real honour to ‘have you over’. 🙂

      I’m just thrilled that we can all learn so much from your experience and knowledge, which you have shared in your fabulous guest post. 🙂

  4. Hi Justin,

    Well written article 🙂 It’s true that once we break the ice then the ball start rolling. When I was young, I experienced social anxiety. It was my aunt who helped me break that ice.

    My aunt who stores immense energy in her always pushed me to parties and took me along with her for vacations. She always made sure that I mingle with people rather sticking around her or my parents.

    Now I really do reap the benefit of socializing with people around me. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Justin:) and thank you too Dr. Hiten:)

    1. Hi Sareena,

      I’m really glad you liked Justin’s article!

      Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with social anxiety and what you did to help you overcome it.

      Hats off to your aunt! She sounds like an amazing lazy lady for helping you like that. It’s fantastic how a person can go from being one who used to avoid social situations to someone who embraces them and enjoys them.

      Great stuff!

      Thanks for leaving your brilliant comment. 🙂

      1. I like what you said here Sareena. Breaking the ice and getting the ball rolling definitely eases the pressure within. Take Care.

  5. HI Hiten, Justin

    Great post!

    I use to be a patient of social anxiety. I was introvert since I was more inclined towards studies and believed in not wasting time on any social activities. But it was when I was in my first job, I realized that being introvert won’t lead me anywhere. So decided to give up this weak part of my personality, but it took me years to come out of the shell.

    Thank you Hiten for inviting Justin as your Guest, he is a great writer we all know.

    Thanks for sharing this great post.

    Sapna

    1. Hi Sapna,

      I’m really glad you enjoyed Justin’s guest post. I agree he is a great writer!

      Thank you very much for sharing your experiences with social anxiety. I can definitely relate to being an introvert and learning to become more of an extrovert. Indeed, as you shared through your experiences, such changes can happen, even if they might take a long time.

      Many thanks for leaving your comment, Sapna. It’s great to see you here.

    2. So true Sapna. I was very social when I was a kid, the when I got into the working world I put socializing on the back-burner. Now I realize as you did that socializing is necessary in our world.

  6. Hello Hiten, great post my friend, This is a great topic because most people have trouble relating with others in the real world. I think it’s because people are so predicable you can almost bet on their behavior. I sometimes don’t understand why people act the way they do.

    Thanks so much for a great Article Hiten very interesting. Have a great day

    1. Hi Rob,

      It’s great to see you here, my friend!

      I’m really glad you enjoyed Justin’s guest post! Indeed, I find that people can become more predictable the better we get to know them.

      Hope you’re having a good weekend. 🙂

    2. That is true Rob. I think its best to find people that will help you strive to become a better you.

  7. When I face social anxiety I find myself taking frequent trips to the bathroom or outside or on my “cell phone” (though not really on it) to get a little relief.

    Great article. First time on your blog..I look forward to reading more of your posts.

    1. Hi Jessica,

      Welcome to The Empower Blog and thanks for sharing your experiences with social anxiety.

      I’m glad you liked Justin’s guest post!

      It really is amazing how getting outside, breathing and getting some fresh air can help to bring our anxiety levels down.

      Thanks for leaving your comment. It’s much appreciated.

    2. I know socializing can seem overwhelming but once you see the benefits of it you will be more inclined to put yourself in social situations.

  8. I’m quite outgoing and make friends rather easily or so I thought, until I moved to a new city at 41 and found myself with out any friends. A series of bad experiences with old friends thereafter caused me to put my social life on hold. It was only last year that I managed to face my new found social anxiety and make new friends and form good connections. Like you very rightly said, Justin our beliefs can either limit us or help us to push the boundaries and move out of our comfort zone!
    Thanks for a great article Justin and Hiten.

    1. Hi Corinne,

      Thanks very much leaving your comment. It was very interesting.

      As I was reading your comment, it made me realise how we can create social anxiety for ourselves when we stop socialising for a while. As you experienced yourself, the best way to get over this is to get out and start making new friends again.

      It’s great to see you here, Corinne!

    2. Love what you said here Corinne. We all been burnt by some our relationships but I just use them as a tool to let me know what I don’t want in future relationships.

  9. Great job, Justin! So many people need this advice. I do myself sometimes. It depends on my mood. Sometimes I like to hide myself away and other times, I feel real confident. Maybe it is about being tired. It’s funny to witness this about myself! Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Jodi,

      It’s great to see you and I’m really glad you enjoyed Justin’s post.

      You made some great points in your comment and I could resonate with what you wrote about feeling confident and other times not so. Confidence is like that. It fluctuates and sometimes we’re confident and other times we’re not. And this is perfectly ok. We can always work on our confidence. As you mentioned tiredness can be a factor.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences and for leaving your great comment.

    2. Thanks Jodi. 🙂 Your physical energy levels definitely influence how social you are. I am like you, sometimes I am so tired I just want to put a wall around me until I recharge my batteries.

  10. Hi Justin,

    I cant believe this my story is almost same like you ,i also use to be very shy with not only girl but with friends any new person whom i meet.But in front of some girl i was really very shy ,that what she will think of me ,what if i made some wrong mistake and she will laugh at me.LOL i was really stupid at that time.
    I want to share some experiences, when i was in my junior school ,girls use to like me in my school.So one day this happened to me that a girl ,(very beautiful) came to me and i know her as every guy has crush on her.she came and proposed to as she was there with my dance reherseals of function.Now you know what i did, i was so nervous that without saying anything i just left. And for one week i didnt came to school because of it lolz.I was so shy you can imagine.

    There are lot many experiences but it will take time so i want to end here with how came out of this shyness.The only reason i came out of this is i actually initiated slowly slowly and started believing that i am something that girls come to me start taking to making.The slowly slowly i build confidence and now i really don’t care what that girl will think or do ,if i want to talk to her i ill straight away go to her and talk to her.

    Thank You
    Shorya Bist
    From Youthofest

    1. Hi Shorya,

      I’m really glad you could relate to Justin’s post. When he first sent his post over to me and I looked at it, it was like I was also reading about myself when I was younger.

      I really appreciate you sharing your experiences of shyness and how you overcame it. From what you wrote, it is clear that you also began to see yourself differently and more positively, and by combining this with action, you changed self-image with regards to yourself and your ability to interact with girls.

      This is brilliant, Shorya.

      Thank you very much for leaving your fantastic comment. 🙂

    2. Hi Shorya. Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂 A lot of people deal with shyness and it is not anything to be ashamed of. Sometimes, its just a matter of approach and not being attached to outcomes.

      It takes the pressure off of us and allows us to enjoy the experience.

  11. I used to have social anxiety, so I started drinking before and on these social settings, which is not the way to deal with it, but you guys probably know that.
    Anyway I bought a book ( From fear to power) and a program by Lucinda Bassette which helped my to conquer this issue in my life.

    Great post!
    Akos

  12. Justin, I love your take on being cognizant of limited beliefs. When social anxiety was at its worst for me, I didn’t see the illusion of this negative mindset and it forces you to feel helpless. It’s hard to pull yourself out of that perspective when you’re in the moment.

    Also, it’s great how you use your example of rejection and how the rejection isn’t what people should focus on, but the premise of moving forward. I’m new to this site, but I already feel right at home. Thanks!

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