Shyness and Social Anxiety

Many people experience some degree of discomfort or anxiousness in new situations or with unfamiliar people. Social anxiety can be troublesome for many, especially in college, where students must develop friendships and communicate with professors, administrators and classmates for their overall success and well-being. Social anxiety is often characterized by intense self-consciousness and embarrassment in social situations, along with fears of being judged by others. It often involves physical symptoms as well, such as blushing, perspiring, and rapid heartbeat. People with social anxiety disorder will often avoid social situations for fear of experiencing these symptoms. The essence of social anxiety has been said to be an expectation of negative evaluation by others. One theory is that social anxiety occurs when the motivation to make a desired impression is paired with the doubt about having the ability to do so. Many people have learned to overcome their social anxiety by working with the fears to develop healthy and satisfying relationships.

Signs of Social Anxiety:

  • Intense worry for days, weeks, or even months before an upcoming social situation
  • Extreme fear of being watched or judged by others, especially people you don’t know
  • Fear that you’ll act in ways that that will embarrass or humiliate yourself
  • Fear that others will notice that you’re nervous
  • Avoidance of social situations to a degree that limits your activities or disrupts your life
  • Exhibiting physical symptoms of social anxiety, such as a pounding heart or tight chest, shaky voice, rapid breathing, sweating, nausea, dry mouth, shaking, muscle tension, dizziness, blushing, sweaty hands, or feeling faint

Things You Can Do:

  • Adjust your attitude by working to change your unrealistic expectations that others will judge you for not being perfect; practice replacing your self-criticism with positive thoughts.
  • Make small changes, such as nodding hi to someone new, making a brief comment to a classmate, and practice responses to teachers.
  • Share your fears with others you trust. You may be surprised how many other people share similar concerns or may have advice for how they worked with their own shyness.  
  • Join a therapy group. Research has proven that group therapy is one of the most beneficial forms of treatment, especially for those struggling with social anxiety.  Therapy groups are safe and helpful places to explore our relationships with others.

Help is Available

It may benefit you to talk to someone at the Counseling Center. Stop by during our Initial Consultation hours Monday-Friday 8:30-11:00 a.m. & 1:00-4:00 p.m., or call (828) 262-3180. We can talk with you about your concerns. You may also learn more by checking our other links, or completing an online screening.

Crisis Services

If you or another AppState student is experiencing suicidal and/or homicidal thoughts or experiencing trauma in regard to a sexual assault, you may contact us after hours by calling the Counseling Center at (828) 262-3180 and select the option to speak with the counselor on call.

Emergency Services

The Counseling Center offers after-hours emergency coverage for urgent mental health concerns such as suicidal thoughts, sexual assault, and other trauma.  Call the Counseling Center at 828-262-3180 and select the option to speak with the counselor on-call.

During operating hours, students in crisis can walk in any time.

Prevent Suicide Block