For the 15 million people in the U.S. who suffer from Social Anxiety Disorder, the fear of embarrassment in social situations can be paralyzing. Afraid of being judged or seen in a negative light by others, sufferers sometimes drop out of school and have difficulty working.
However, milder forms of social anxiety are also common — but still potentially debilitating, especially at work. People who are socially anxious do not speak up in meetings, are terrified of giving a presentation and are at risk for missing opportunities for advancement. If that sounds familiar, these tips might help you to keep your career on track.
1. Understand That Social Anxiety Is Not Introversion
Introverts simply prefer to work quietly on their own. To be introverted is not to be afraid of other people. Social anxiety, however, is a sense of fear or dread that causes sufferers to avoid calling attention to themselves. They are afraid that they will say the wrong thing and become the office laughingstock. The fear is real, but the thinking behind it has flaws.