Understanding Social Anxiety Symptoms: Emotional, Physical, and Behavioral

Understanding your social anxiety symptoms are important for determining what solutions to pursue. Review our complete list to find your next steps.
Medically Reviewed by
Dr Hamilton

Feeling choked up when it's time to talk to a coworker? Or is it your heart that jumps when you suddenly enter a conversation? While those are two common physical symptoms of social anxiety, they are by no means a complete list and they only touch on physiological reactions. Many resources for social anxiety symptoms lack the full spectrum that can indicate social anxiety as the culprit to your discomfort.

This post will walk you through three categories of symptoms: emotional, physical, and behavioral. These three categories provide you with a robust understanding of symptoms caused by social anxiety by not leaving anything off the table. This approach defines symptoms clearer than a general list void of classification. Let's get into the list.

Emotional Social Anxiety Symptoms

These social anxiety symptoms focus on the thoughts and feelings you may experience when a situation triggers anxiety. Since feelings are internal, this list will help you identify how to target the reactions that you may think are natural and unavoidable. See which emotional social anxiety symptoms you experience on this list:

  • Fear of being judged in social situations
  • Worrying that you'll embarrass or humiliate yourself
  • Concern that you're going to offend others
  • Intense fear of interacting with people you don't know
  • Fear that your physical nervousness is obvious to others
  • Fear of showing physical symptoms (sweating, shaking, stuttering, etc.) that could cause you embarrassment
  • Avoiding tasks or reaching out to people due to fear of embarrassing yourself
  • Avoiding situations where you might be the center of attention
  • Anxious feelings arise when anticipating an activity or event you fear
  • Analyzing your performance after a social situation and identifying what you could have done differently
  • Believing that a negative experience during a social interaction will produce the worst possible consequences

Physical Social Anxiety Symptoms

Your interpretations of situations can also produce physical responses, which are external, and therefore visible. The list below will help you identify the reactions that social interactions trigger so you can take an effective step to connecting them to the cause when they occur. Then, you can take the necessary steps to calm down.

  • A rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling short of breath
  • Nausea or an upset stomach
  • Feeling "out of body" or confused
  • Diarrhea
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Tense muscles

Behavioral Social Anxiety Symptoms

Behavioral symptoms are rooted in avoidance, so you avoid situations like the ones on the list below because you expect them to trigger anxiety. Knowing the behaviors that you avoid to stay in your comfort zone helps you define the boundary and make a conscious effort to explore it to feel more comfortable in those situations.

  • Using public bathrooms
  • Interacting with people you don't know
  • Eating in the presence of others
  • Going on dates or flirting
  • Making eye contact with others
  • Starting a conversation
  • Going to parties or social get-togethers
  • Entering a room where people are already sitting down
  • Going to work or school
  • Taking items you purchased back to a store

What to do with this info?

Depending on the severity of your reactions, there are various solutions for you to seek out. First, ask yourself how much your symptoms are preventing you from getting what you desire. If the answer is yes, then it's worth your time to look deeper into the possibility that you have social anxiety. One good way to do that is with a social anxiety test.

Youper's social anxiety test indicates your level of anxiety using a survey developed at Duke University. Having a reliable indication of your social anxiety level is helps you take the best next steps to overcome the reactions that are preventing you from living the life you desire.

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