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Is It Possible To Be An Extrovert With Social Anxiety?

An oxymoron to be unraveled.


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Is It Possible To Be An Extrovert With Social Anxiety?

Saying that you are an extrovert who has social anxiety is like telling someone, ‘you love football but you despise watching it’. But is it as simple as generalising the phenomenon to that metaphor? Well... to others who have no clue about this contradicting condition, that may just be how they would picture it.
 
First, let’s get acquainted with the word extrovert. In the 1960’s, psychologist Carl Jung first described extroverts as people who are energized by crowds and interaction with the external world. They thrive in social situations and they seek out social stimulation.

 


Now, social anxiety disorder describes a person who feels symptoms of anxiety or fear in social situations, such as meeting new people, dating, being on a job interview, answering a question in class, attending a meeting or having to talk to the waiter at the restaurant. Doing everyday things triggers anxiety or fear. The person is irrationally afraid that he or she will be humiliated, judged, and rejected.

 


Social anxiety disorder also called as social phobia is a mental health condition, and this illness is not dependent on your personality traits. Both introverts and extroverts can experience social anxiety. However, being an extrovert with social anxiety can be more intense; as the very thing that they derive their energy from is the one causing their crippling fear. When extroverts avoid social settings, they can feel lethargic and extremely sad. They need the social connections and at the same time fear them.

 

Are You An Extrovert With Social Anxiety?

 
Socially anxious extroverts are so engrossed about being accepted by others that they spend most of their time thinking they are being judged by others. They can never stay calm or enjoy their time because they have this preconceived idea about being disapproved by everyone around them. They may have trouble focusing at the topic on hand as their mind is clouded by demeaning thoughts of them being scrutinised by their every move and word.
 
This is such a detrimental combo as the paradox messes up your mind and might leave you depressed. Check out this list and see if you could relate with these feelings and situations.

 

  • You despise last minute change of plans with a passion.

  • You are very uncomfortable doing things alone.

  • You don’t like situations where you have to wait. (Late replies to text makes you over-think so bad)

  • You find it difficult to confront someone. Hence, keeping things to yourself even when you face unfair treatment.

  • You don’t know how to take compliments but at the same time you seek validation.

  • You worry that people are judging you all the time.

  • You want conversations to end quickly due to the anxiety but regrets it later.

  • You constantly want to meet new people but you get paranoid and avoid it altogether.

  • You make plans to socialise but flake when the date gets closer.

  • You find it so hard to make eye contact.

  • Your mind is so consumed at masking your anxiety that you often find yourself clueless about the conversation you are having.

  • You constantly think that people are thinking you look stupid when you are talking.

  • You constantly over analyse  and obsessed about people’s tone, body posture, choice of word as if everything is coded.

  • You spend days even weeks thinking about that one time you let your anxiety show during a conversation.

  • You are people pleaser solely because you want to avoid confrontations.

  • You sweat profusely, your voice shakes and your lips and cheeks twitch.


 

 

 

​Did any of this applied to you? If your answer is yes then you might just be plagued with the wicked social anxiety disorder while being an extrovert. Don’t take our word for it though, mental health issue is quite tricky and only a medical practitioner can truly validate your concerns.
 
Once you get medical attention for this disorder, your doctors may suggest the cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). The treatment has been shown to work best for treating social anxiety disorder. CBT is basically altering the way you think about social situations that give you anxiety, you’ll feel and function better.

cbt


Other method includes prescribing medications like the Beta Blockers which can control physical symptoms such as shaking hands or voice, sweating, and rapid heartbeat; and anti-depressants when the anxiety gets too overwhelming and severe. However, it is best to treat the symptoms with CBT as patients may get too reliant on medications to reduce their anxiety. Check with your doctors what would work best for you!
 

Ways You Can Cope

 
While it seems like you have absolutely no control over your body and mind when the anxiety strikes, there are methods that you can adopt into your life to alleviate the symptoms.
 
First, challenge the negative wave of thoughts that cloud your mind whenever you are having an anxiety episode. This can be done simply by seeing things from a different perspective. For example, when you start to obsessively worry about that one event you have to attend because you feel like you would clam up and not be able to make small talks; remind yourself you are not a fortune teller and you can’t look into the future and know for sure that you would mess up. This logical evaluation can help replace those thoughts with more realistic POVs.

 


Second, release the pressure of wanting to look perfect. Most of the time, when your social anxiety is manifesting, people might not be able to notice them. Even if they do... remember that it won’t be how people view you for the rest of your life. People have 99 problems and people noticing that you are anxious won’t be one! Plus, always shift the focus to the person you are talking to. Stop focusing about how you look and say things but instead, have a meaningful and engaging conversation with the other person.

 


Apart from that, you need to adopt an anxiety-free lifestyle and this will include reducing your coffee intake as caffeine makes you more anxious; eat foods with high omega-3 content as supported brain health can improve your mood, outlook, and ability to handle anxiety; get ample sleep as sleep deprivation makes you vulnerable to anxiety and quit smoking! Nicotine just makes you more anxious.

 


Mental health is something that is sacred especially in today’s whirlwind world. The value of a peaceful and healthy mind is so precious. Therefore, you should always be aware of intrusive thoughts that drives you to the edge and seek help quickly! For more on mental health, watch this episode of WhatsTheFeed - Mental Matters.


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