Does being attractive cause social anxiety? - Social Anxiety Forum
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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Does being attractive cause social anxiety?

So I have an observation to share and wanted to get some feedback and opinions on this issue about someone's attractiveness and the development of social anxiety. For me personally I noticed my social anxiety started during my mid to late teens when my body and looks started to change and become more appealing. I was a stick skinny ugly kid with crazy untamed hair and funky gapped teeth. I really never focused on my looks and never cared about how schoolboys thought of me and honestly I was more of a carefree tomboy who hated makeup and shopping (I still do). Anyway once I reached about 16 years old my body filled out and my face somehow became very attractive. I no longer had gap teeth, and my hair became beautifully long and curly. However as this happened I started to notice that I got an overwhelming amount of attention from males. I noticed that almost everywhere I went guys would stare at me and try to make eye contact, I also had many guys complimenting me and staring and talking about me. Guys would try and get my number at every opportunity and just stare at me so blatantly that it became so uncomfortable for me to even be out in public. As nice as this may seem it really I think messed me up because from that point I got extremely self conscious, even to the point where I did not want to go out anywhere. I think I translated this attention I was getting as bad and that they were all talking about me and judging me. I became so afraid to go out someone in the grocery store or anywhere even if there were no guys because then I thought that even the women would look at me and judge me. I really think this was the gateway to my social anxiety because it just became impossible for my brain to stop believing that everyone was looking at me. I can no longer eat in public, or speak to big groups, or ask questions in front of people. I also only really wear black because I really just want to blend in and not stand out at all. This has really been a huge problem and burden on my life and I am interested to know if anyone had similar experiences to this relating to their social anxiety. Is it possible that a drastic change like this amplifies or triggers someone to have social anxiety?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 10:30 AM
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Mm, it definitely could. Situations such as what you described you experienced when you went out and males gave you a lot of attention, can lead to a general feeling of un-safeness or continued alertness. If you're out and about a lot, the stress and fear hormones would build up in your system, and over the long term this can have really uncomfortable effects for you.

In this case, your increased attractiveness is not the direct cause, what's causing you to feel unsafe is the male attention, and the way you interpret it. Since you interpret it as intrusive and aggressive, it causes you anxiety.

So the answer to your initial question, does attractiveness cause anxiety is yes, in your case it does, and that really sucks. I think you should definitely find a good counselor or psychologist and talk to them specifically about these issues, because I think there are a lot of good therapy options available for someone like you who would like you be more comfortable going out.


Edit: Oh gosh, I just noticed, I might have made it sound a lot like I thought you were at fault here. This is not the case at all! What happened happened, not because you wanted it to, or made some mistake, and it is very unfortunate.

Years ago, I got by day by day. I ticked them off, one day in the calendar at a time, all the while being slowly crushed. It's not as bad as it used to be.
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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 11:25 AM
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Hello, I personally am having the same dilemma as you. Ever since I have kept myself clean and worked out, I have noticed I receive much more looks when I go out/ in class/ wherever and I say this as a humble guy. I do not know if this applies to you, but for me, I have low self confidence and self esteem. So whenever I get looks from people, I start to worry about what they might be thinking about me. It certainly would be a cause for social anxiety, due to the increased and uncomfortable attention received. One tip that helps, is to stay focused on whatever you're doing. Some reason people just LOVE to get close and stare at people
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by DancingCleo View Post
So I have an observation to share and wanted to get some feedback and opinions on this issue about someone's attractiveness and the development of social anxiety. For me personally I noticed my social anxiety started during my mid to late teens when my body and looks started to change and become more appealing. I was a stick skinny ugly kid with crazy untamed hair and funky gapped teeth. I really never focused on my looks and never cared about how schoolboys thought of me and honestly I was more of a carefree tomboy who hated makeup and shopping (I still do). Anyway once I reached about 16 years old my body filled out and my face somehow became very attractive. I no longer had gap teeth, and my hair became beautifully long and curly. However as this happened I started to notice that I got an overwhelming amount of attention from males. I noticed that almost everywhere I went guys would stare at me and try to make eye contact, I also had many guys complimenting me and staring and talking about me. Guys would try and get my number at every opportunity and just stare at me so blatantly that it became so uncomfortable for me to even be out in public. As nice as this may seem it really I think messed me up because from that point I got extremely self conscious, even to the point where I did not want to go out anywhere. I think I translated this attention I was getting as bad and that they were all talking about me and judging me. I became so afraid to go out someone in the grocery store or anywhere even if there were no guys because then I thought that even the women would look at me and judge me. I really think this was the gateway to my social anxiety because it just became impossible for my brain to stop believing that everyone was looking at me. I can no longer eat in public, or speak to big groups, or ask questions in front of people. I also only really wear black because I really just want to blend in and not stand out at all. This has really been a huge problem and burden on my life and I am interested to know if anyone had similar experiences to this relating to their social anxiety. Is it possible that a drastic change like this amplifies or triggers someone to have social anxiety?

good observation

4 points I can see

1) Looks do draw more attention

2) Looks are breed a personality more dependent on others for self worth

3) Personalities dependent on other people develop things like anxiety and low self esteem

4) Personalities dependent on others tend to create looks as in we can enhance how good we look to a certain extent 1)
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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 12:17 PM
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Also narcissism and belief in your looks right or wrong breeds anxiety due to validation seeking
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 12:24 PM
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I think I'm attractive and I get really nervous when women stare at me too long and being around women I think is attractive gets me nervous as we'll.

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DancingCleo View Post
Is it possible that a drastic change like this amplifies or triggers someone to have social anxiety?
Cause social anxiety? No.

However if you are emotionally sensitive or have neurotic tendencies (i.e family history of neuroticism), you will have a higher chance of developing social anxiety from social stress, extreme embarassment, etc etc. For example some people develop social anxiety from messing up a speech.

Generally speaking the later in life you developed SA, the easier it will be to ameliorate.

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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by AnxiousExploder View Post
Also narcissism and belief in your looks right or wrong breeds anxiety due to validation seeking
Waht do you mean by "belief in your looks right or wrong"?

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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 12:34 PM
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No doubt, that unwanted attention could cause you to be uncomfortably self-conscious which makes it hard to behave and think normally. Thoughts go from "O, they just think I'm good lookin," to "what the *** did I do wrong? Do I have somethin' on my face? Am I walkin' funny?" The struggle of being attractive is indeed REAL.

“You have to hold your breath while you cross the bridge. Even the tiniest breath will break the spell, and then everyone will see you.” - Haku
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 12:42 PM
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I'm a bit similar to you, although I don't think I'm very attractive right now, I've gotten positive comments and looks from guys. When I was young and in a very long awkward looking stage it used to be the opposite - I'd get negative comments from guys and weird looks. So right now I get confused as to what they are thinking when they look (do I look like sh*t or do they like me?) It makes me really nervous. I also don't like to dress up often to draw more attention (either they like it and are perving on me and it makes me uncomfortable OR they think I look like crap despite my efforts to look good and that also makes me uncomfortable). Ah my brain is weird.
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post #11 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 01:30 PM
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If you grew up unattractive and puberty somehow did you good, I can see how someone can develop anxiety due to bodily changes. I remember back when I was considered ugly, guys dared each other to ask me out just to mock me and other "ugly" girls. Frequent behaviors like that led me to believe later on that guys complimenting me on my appearance were just in it to humiliate me despite being aware that I gradually became less ugly over time. I was just so used to people thinking that I was unattractive that when a shift in behavior occurred, I was put in an unfamiliar position when it came to drawing attention from others. It really is hard to break out of that negative mindset. And I think a lot of ugly kids that blossom into beautiful people can relate to that.
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post #12 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 11:27 AM
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If you grew up unattractive and puberty somehow did you good, I can see how someone can develop anxiety due to bodily changes. I remember back when I was considered ugly, guys dared each other to ask me out just to mock me and other "ugly" girls. Frequent behaviors like that led me to believe later on that guys complimenting me on my appearance were just in it to humiliate me despite being aware that I gradually became less ugly over time. I was just so used to people thinking that I was unattractive that when a shift in behavior occurred, I was put in an unfamiliar position when it came to drawing attention from others. It really is hard to break out of that negative mindset. And I think a lot of ugly kids that blossom into beautiful people can relate to that.
This does actually make a ton of sense. During my younger years, I struggled with cystic acne (still do) and was pretty overweight, combined with being shy, I just wasn't ever used to the present changes. I feel like if I gain an ego, it would change it. Maybe a daily routine would include being aware of your attractiveness, like appreciating your reflection for who you are every morning, would help change the mentality behind it? That way you could at least have a suggestion when the thoughts appear.
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post #13 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 11:30 AM
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Not reading the block of a post, but please separate your post into paragraphs in the future to make it more readable. But I will say to some degree, it can affect a person since we're ingrained to believe that attractive people are outgoing and snobbish. As far as it causing social anxiety, no.

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post #14 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by acidicwithpanic View Post
If you grew up unattractive and puberty somehow did you good, I can see how someone can develop anxiety due to bodily changes. I remember back when I was considered ugly, guys dared each other to ask me out just to mock me and other "ugly" girls. Frequent behaviors like that led me to believe later on that guys complimenting me on my appearance were just in it to humiliate me despite being aware that I gradually became less ugly over time. I was just so used to people thinking that I was unattractive that when a shift in behavior occurred, I was put in an unfamiliar position when it came to drawing attention from others. It really is hard to break out of that negative mindset. And I think a lot of ugly kids that blossom into beautiful people can relate to that.
It is something to behold when there's a secondary puberty of empathy in 20-somethings. Not to say it doesn't start early, like in the teens. It's just stunted due to school and friends and family. In your 20s you realize you can be kind to whomever and worry lightly about someone saying this or that about someone uncool or unattractive, when you think the opposite. But you conform from indirect peer pressure to avoid someone like that. Or whatever. The goth liking the prep, the prep digging the goth, but they don't go for it. Though that's extreme.

On the flipside, though, there are people with crappy personalities and they've not been challenged and so their crap personality makes them uggers yet they think they're hot stuff. I've seen enough of that (not overwhelmingly), especially from middle school to college. So yeah, mid-20s seems to be the average where people catch up to who they could've been in their teens socially, due to wisdom, personal liberty, and other factors.

PTSD doesn't mean you're going insane.
It means you're sane and reacting from something that was insane.
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post #15 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 12:27 PM
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I don't think being attractive could be the cause of social anxiety, at least not by itself. In your case, I would say that it's related to you being so self conscious and directly to all those guys praising your look. In other words, I believe the problem in your situation was your environment, not your attractiveness. I hope what I said made sense. ^^ It's good for you to think of yourself positively though. Otherwise, social anxiety could have developed into something even more problematic. This is an interesting thread, I hope to see more people commenting here.
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post #16 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 01:11 PM
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I don't think being attractive could be the cause of social anxiety, at least not by itself. In your case, I would say that it's related to you being so self conscious and directly to all those guys praising your look. In other words, I believe the problem in your situation was your environment, not your attractiveness. I hope what I said made sense. ^^ It's good for you to think of yourself positively though. Otherwise, social anxiety could have developed into something even more problematic. This is an interesting thread, I hope to see more people commenting here.
I agree. Have you heard of an attractive, confident and outgoing person who started to be anxious because of other peoples' reactions? If a person is confident, she/he doesn't care much what others say or is even glad to receive compliments so probably an author was already anxious when she became beautiful.
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post #17 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 02:33 PM
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I agree. Have you heard of an attractive, confident and outgoing person who started to be anxious because of other peoples' reactions? If a person is confident, she/he doesn't care much what others say or is even glad to receive compliments so probably an author was already anxious when she became beautiful.
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This is a good observation too, actually.
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post #18 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 04:25 PM
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I can see how this a problem for a woman. You probably get guys giving you eyeballs whereever you go.

You're young, very young.

I'm willing to bet in 10 years you'll grow to love the attention you're getting.
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post #19 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 07:10 PM
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Being attractive can bring more attention, and attention brings anxiety.
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post #20 of 25 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 10:39 PM Thread Starter
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I agree. Have you heard of an attractive, confident and outgoing person who started to be anxious because of other peoples' reactions? If a person is confident, she/he doesn't care much what others say or is even glad to receive compliments so probably an author was already anxious when she became beautiful.
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Yes this is actually a good observation because when I was a younger child I used to have general anxiety and worry a lot about people that I loved, I also had mild OCD but I managed to control it and it went away overtime. I think that as I got older and noticed more these thoughts started to manifest into Social anxiety for me. Thanks for your insight I really appreciate it because I think it is important for me to get to the root of this problem if I want to get better.
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