What does social anxiety look like?
Social anxiety manifests itself in a number of ways, more than common stereotypes of blushing, stuttering, sweating, trembling, heart racing, nausea, quietness, avoidance, etc. It can also come out in unconventional forms such as…
- Speaking too loudly or too fast
- Speaking softly or slowly
- Freezing up, unable to speak or move
- Fidgeting, unable to remain still
- Acting mean, rude, or sassy
- Acting overly generous or too kind
- Being very humorous
- Laughing or giggling a lot
- Being overly serious, no sense of humor
- Promiscuity or lewdness
- Hiding yourself or parts of your face/body
- Disinterest or detachment
- Intense display of emotion
- Avoiding eye-contact
- Staring or too much eye-contact
- Trouble hearing or following conversation
- Inability to focus
- Appearing completely “normal” on the outside, but struggling on the inside.
To sum it up, there is really no “one size fits all” when it comes to the display of social anxiety. It all depends on the person, their level of social anxiety, their personality, their mindset, the situation, who they’re dealing with, etc… so many factors.
You cannot determine if a person has social anxiety or not by the way they act, seeing how it affects everyone in such variable ways. The only way you can tell is if they communicate this to you directly (or if you’re a licensed psychologist and they’re coming to you for evaluation.)
Alongside, although social anxiety may provide better understanding for inappropriate behavior, it does not serve as an excuse for hurting others. Depending on the degree/intensity, many things on these list are completely harmless, at most just quirky. But some of these symptoms, especially at higher degrees, can cause significant stress for the person and the people they’re dealing with.