Whats the difference between shyness and social anxiety? - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 07:28 PM Thread Starter
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Whats the difference between shyness and social anxiety?


I see these two terms being separated quite often. The reason being is that shy people are happy and, I guess, are comfortable as being shy, while those with social anxiety aren't [run-on sentence, anyone?].

Actually, I have this feeling that people who label themselves as having social anxiety disorder get angry over someone mislabeling them as shy (lol.)

I don't know. Lets make sense of this subject. Ignore everything I stated in this post and just answer as if you only read the title.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 08:44 PM
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The difference, hmm...well to me the difference is a person with social anxiety worries about social situations and wants to avoid them. A person who is just shy, even if they may experience anxiety a little bit, doesn't actually worry about it and doesn't avoid. A shy person isn't disabled by their shyness, but a person with social anxiety is.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-15-2009, 10:30 PM
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I look at social anxiety as simply shyness gone too far such that it causes distress. Note my name: UltraShy, which would seem to go along with this view of the world. If you're shy and it doesn't bother you then it's not a problem. If you're so shy that it makes your unhappy then it's a problem and I'd then call it SA.

Other mental disorders are also often just normal things taken to an extreme. Washing your hands is normal and I certainly hope you do so after using the bathroom and such, but washing your hands 500 times a day would seem to be going seriously overboard and we'd call that OCD.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 02:51 AM
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I agree with the comments here. I think shy is a term used to maybe describe someone who is reserved and would prefer to avoid attention on them, but if they can't avoid it they can still cope ok and get through the situation, whereas social anxiety is more of an extreme where people want to avoid certain social situations and find it so hard to cope and perform if they can't avoid it because they get so anxious.

I feel a lot of these terms are so closely tied, such as low self esteem, low self confidence, shyness, social anxiety, etc. I believe I have 'social anxiety', but my social anxiety would be overcome if I had confidence in how I look. I just feel so ashamed and self conscious of how I look. I seem to spend my who life hiding how I look and wanting to avoid people looking at me. If it was ok to go around with a paper bag over my face I would do.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 08:45 AM
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I agree with most of the people here as well. Shyness seems to be a less extreme form of social phobia. If it doesn't bother the person and the person is happy being in the background, that is fine. But, if the person is upset about being shy and feels it harms their life, then yes, it is a problem.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 09:14 AM
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A shy person does not feel extremely "scared" and "uncomfortable" in a social situation. They don't sweat, shake or feel feverish. In short they are comfortable with the fact that they are shy and they don't mind showing it.

It's the total opposite for us. We sweat, shake, try to hide what we are, purposely ignore social situations, feel bad about what others might think about us etc.
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 10:05 AM
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I think the difference between being shy and having "SA" is shy people understand their shy tendencies but aren't immobilized by them. Whereas, those with SA aren't immobilized per se but choose more often than not to evade high anxiety-prone situations. They are almost the same. With shyness you have personal pardons excusing you for your awkwardness. With SA, not so much so as it is more of your idenity than someone who has occasional shyness.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 10:41 AM
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probably severity
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 05:21 PM
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I think the level of functioning

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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2009, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwidger85 View Post
I think the difference between being shy and having "SA" is shy people understand their shy tendencies but aren't immobilized by them. Whereas, those with SA aren't immobilized per se but choose more often than not to evade high anxiety-prone situations. They are almost the same. With shyness you have personal pardons excusing you for your awkwardness. With SA, not so much so as it is more of your idenity than someone who has occasional shyness.
I agree and I also think it's the level of functioning that differentiates the two. I know alot of people I have come across probably only think I'm shy and I guess with most people I'd like to keep it that way unless they'll be able to let me explain it and show them this site (not the discussion board just the site)

"The purpose of life is for you to grow up into the best human being you can be." -Barbara De Angelis, Secrets About Life Every Woman Should Know

"When my eyes are closed, dreams and reality are the same"-Utada Hikaru "In my room" excerpt (English translation)

"it's the sparkle you become when you conquer anxiety" Bjork, "Crystalline"
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