Social interaction anxiety is becoming more and more common in today’s modern society. Psychologists now encounter it on a daily basis. Below are some reasons why we suffer social anxiety and what we can do to help ourselves and others. Read on to find out more.
Do You Suffer Social Anxiety?
There are many reasons why we are beginning to suffer from social anxiety more frequently, and our virtual lifestyles are partly to blame. However, there are many other reasons as well.
Why do we suffer from social interaction anxiety?
Social interaction is now a big part of many people’s daily lives. We are becoming more and more concerned about talking and interacting with each other. It is happening in big cities on a massive scale, and now it can be seen in smaller communities as well.
Our lives have changed a lot in recent years, and most of the time we don’t even speak to the person next to us in the elevator. Even simple greetings seem to be less common. When someone smiles or greets us, we immediately start to wonder if they have a secondary motive.
When we stop and think about the problem for a minute, it may even make you feel sad. What is happening?
A lot of people have moved away from their home towns to find work. They have become socially isolated and soon realize they have moved away from more than a home town. Many have lost their social support network, and are far away from the nearest family member.
Establishing a new social support network is not easy, and it becomes more difficult when you have a full time job to hold down. A lot of people these days just rush from home to work. We have very little time for each other as financially we are often forced to work long hours.
It can be expensive to make friends and foster social contacts. You may want to try and join a local gym, but often they are very expensive. So you end up doing exercises in front of the TV to a fitness video. You probably have done this if you suffer social anxiety.
Going out to eat can be expensive as well. Cities are expensive places to live in, and many restaurants do charge high prices. When your budget is limited, this may not be an option for you either.
There are ways around the problem. If you enjoy fitness, try to find local walking groups which meet in the park. Going for a walk will allow you to have a conversation at the same time. This could be a much better alternative to joining a gym. Ask yourself how often you talk to the person next to you.
Sometimes you just have to be brave. Bravery these days may mean saying good morning to the person next to you on the bus. When you take the first step, you may be pleasantly surprised to discover you have the start of your new social group. Maybe that individual on the bus could suffer from social anxiety too and would like to communicate also.
Many of us don’t even know our next door neighbor, or the person living across the hall from us. The same thing applies, be brave enough to make the first step. More people than you realise suffer from social anxiety and may not be able to take the first step in getting to know you.
The Social Interaction Anxiety Scale
The Social Interaction Anxiety Scale was established to enable scientists to measure the extent of our social phobias. Included in the scale are many normal every day things such as drinking and eating with others. It also includes a section for calculating the discomfort you may experience when going to a party, calling someone you don’t know and talking on the phone in public.
You may consider these normal every day activities, but a person suffering from social interaction anxiety, would find them very difficult to cope with. Most of the time a person with this disorder would go to great lengths to avoid one or many of these activities.
When a person visits a psychologist, and the psychologist suspects they may suffer social anxiety, they are asked to fill out a questionnaire. This covers at least ten topics which are all associated with social interaction anxiety.
It is not an untreatable condition, and it may seem odd to a person who has never experienced it. Perhaps, we should ask ourselves if we know someone with the condition, and what we can do to help them. It may be as simple as starting a conversation.
What do you think? I would love to hear your opinion in the comments! Why do you think we suffer social anxiety?