Networking | Communication | Career advice
A therapist gave us advice for how to get over it
Jessica Dore | Jun 19, 2018
It can be difficult to know the difference between having social anxiety and being awkward, introverted, or shy. The American Psychological Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines social anxiety as “a persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations” that involve being “exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others.”
Modern life provides us with constant opportunities to be scrutinized by others, and while few among us wouldn’t be nervous about giving a work presentation or a speech at a wedding, an ongoing fear of saying the wrong thing in casual conversations can become problematic. Conversation anxiety, though not itself a disorder, is an aspect of social anxiety that can make dates, parties, and mixers anywhere from mildly stressful to intolerable.