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Discussion Starter #1
sometimes i wonder how is it like to be socially anxious in such a demanding society like america, where gregariousness and extraversion is part of american culture...though i'm not american, but i think that americans venerate confidence and assertiveness...and it's hard to succeed, or even to be socially accepted without them....it's true that confidence is a great asset wherever the person is from...but oriental societies for instance are less demanding, and where assertiveness is sometimes viewed as rudeness....
i'd be happy to receive your feedback ...
 

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Interesting question. I almost think a person would have to have experienced more than one of these cultures to fairly answer that question. I feel as though I would probably have the same anxieties about other human beings no matter where I lived, but I suppose it's possible, had I been raised in another culture, that things may have been different for better or worse.

On a side note, I often wonder why this forum doesn't attract more SA's from other parts of the world (Europe, Asia, etc). I know there are a few, but it seems to be mostly north american people on here.
 

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I can see America being harder, with the high pace world and very outgoing society. But I would think Japan would have a higher SA count, with the way the culture is. But I don't believe assertiveness is viewed as rudeness in Asia. I'm Chinese and people from china are rude as hell, very pushy. It seems to be the norm. If you act all submissive and polite, you won't get anything and be taken advantage of. It's funny seeing the customer service in chinese restaurants vs western restaurants. I dont know if china has a lot of Saers, but I don't see many shy people. But I think it is because Asia really pushes people to work and be involved.
 

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America thrives on people with mental disorders, people who cannot stand up for themselves because they are the same people that fuel the corporations. The American dream is nothing more than a mental prison, like a stuffed rabbit perpetuating the dog races. Even our language puts limitations and restrictions on us because it is so material-oriented. It's not assertiveness that the American culture promotes, its aggression. For example, it is a manly thing if you charge down a basketball court and jump someone and push them to the floor. It is a "manly" thing to keep your emotions to yourself and not share it with your homies. Gangsters, instead of doctors are the ones that are glorified here.
I went to Armenia a couple summers ago and it is another world out there. People are sooo close together, they are so friendly that it feels like everyone outside is just an extension of your family. Spain was like this as well... idk it made me think alot.
 

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I have lived in germany, and been to britain and france. I dont think people with SA is very common in there culture. they do not seem to be as infactuated with material things and self perception as americans, british people were extremely polite, so i cant imagine too many people with SA over there but i may be wrong. People with SA dont go out as often so its wrong for me to make that assessment. I agree with Solacechaser about the american dream, it is a sham.
 

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From experience on holiday - Americans are generally SO friendly, and will gladly start a conversation about literally anything. I know this isn't true of absolutely everyone in the US - particularly the SA contingent, but it's really not easy in the UK. People are generally quite reserved and often ignorant. With a few exceptions, no-one really gives a damn about strangers - we are even crap in the service industry over here!
 

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America thrives on people with mental disorders, people who cannot stand up for themselves because they are the same people that fuel the corporations. The American dream is nothing more than a mental prison, like a stuffed rabbit perpetuating the dog races. Even our language puts limitations and restrictions on us because it is so material-oriented. It's not assertiveness that the American culture promotes, its aggression. For example, it is a manly thing if you charge down a basketball court and jump someone and push them to the floor. It is a "manly" thing to keep your emotions to yourself and not share it with your homies. Gangsters, instead of doctors are the ones that are glorified here.
I went to Armenia a couple summers ago and it is another world out there. People are sooo close together, they are so friendly that it feels like everyone outside is just an extension of your family. Spain was like this as well... idk it made me think alot.
I went to Armenia back in 2005 and it was a culture shock. I'm quite ashamed to be British because we are so reserved whereas in other countries i've been to the people are warm and kind (to be honest i found it overbearing) Poland is also a place i go to which is way different to British culture. I also notice that in these countries people are so family orientated.

I think films and tv gives the impression that American people are brash and loud, i can imagine that it's not a very good place for social phobes to be.
 

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customer sevice staff in america is nice because it's part of the job

attempt to approach a customer service person while they are running errands on thier day off. you will see a transformation
 

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customer sevice staff in america is nice because it's part of the job

attempt to approach a customer service person while they are running errands on thier day off. you will see a transformation
I think it has to do with it being required for tips? Perhaps it's like that in all countries which requires tips, I don't know because we don't tip in Australia.

I wonder about this topic too, from my point of view Australians are (generally) loud, friendly and love alchohol which leads me to think I should be like that too. Because I'm not like that the inadequecy makes me shy away from those sort of things.

In the Japan I would say the balance between the sexes is rather different, it's ok for a girl to be shy (because it's 'cute') whereas for a boy it's just not manly. I'd think it'd be easier for a female to have SA in Japan rather than a male because males have too many expectancies placed on them. The pressure alone makes lots of boys have SA (google "hikikomori"). It's still a very male dominated society.

Charisma definately helps in western society though (at least in US and Australia as far as I know), management would fail without it, jobs would be more difficult, etc. I mean alot of people here on SAS are from the US and Australia aren't they?
 

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sometimes i wonder how is it like to be socially anxious in such a demanding society like america, where gregariousness and extraversion is part of american culture...though i'm not american, but i think that americans venerate confidence and assertiveness...and it's hard to succeed, or even to be socially accepted without them....it's true that confidence is a great asset wherever the person is from...but oriental societies for instance are less demanding, and where assertiveness is sometimes viewed as rudeness....
i'd be happy to receive your feedback ...
I've always thought that this must be the case. People in the UK tend to be quite reserved anyway, which helps. Most Americans seem to be rather outgoing, so I'd imagine that SA sufferers stand out more, which is the last thing you want if you have SA. It must be something of a vicious circle. :(
 

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I would also add that you will find a wide array of subcultures within the United States, it all just depends on where you go. Big cities, small towns, midwest, northeast, south, etc...the personalities of the people that make up these regions tend to vary quite a bit. Some areas have more friendly family oriented people, others have more loud and aggressive types. It's hard to lump 'America' into one pot, as it does vary quite drastically. And Hollywood does NOT give you an accurate depiction.

Having lived in Miami for quite a while, which is a fairly international city, I've encountered quite a few people from all over the world. A few observations:

-I've noticed that the hispanic people down here (cuban, venezuelan, dominican, nicaraguan, puerto rican, etc etc) tend to be much more loud than everyone else (especially males)). Same thing with the Hatians and Jamaicans.
Having spent most of my life previously around midwesterners (who are probably more reserved as a whole), it was quite a culture shock to move to Miami. But I learned to love the diversity despite my SA.

-The common greeting here in social situations tends to be a kiss on the cheek to females, and often a bro-hug between guys. I'm still not used to the cheek-kiss. I absolutely dread it. (My sister married into a family with Italian heritage, they tend to do the cheek-kiss thing too).

-We get a lot of people from Quebec and European countries as well. I've noticed these people tend to have a much different definition of 'personal space' than do Americans. For example, sometimes in the grociery store, a family of tourists from one of these countries will get right in my space while waiting in line. Americans tend to give each other a little more personal space.

-Another example of how things vary from region to region in the U.S. Miami has the worst drivers in the entire country, rude, aggressive, just horrible. As opposed to other places I've lived like Nebraska and Georgia, where driver courtesy is usually much better. (I've heard horror stories about NYC drivers as well.).

I have to wonder as well, if we get more North Americans on here because of the increasing awareness of social anxiety disorder in this country over the past 10 years. Paxil had quite a marketing campaign going for a while which probably really helped, and certain high-profile athletes and entertainers have publicly brought up their SA. Is it possible the awareness level in certain countries is lagging behind?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
i think that hollywood gives us a quiet bad image about social life in america...for instance high-school is pictured to be hell for those less attractive or fortunate....it's something like the dictatureship of beauty and money out there....i don't know if it's the accurate image that hollywood give us about american society being a bit superficial -sorry for the expression-...though, i agree with you that it deprends where you are..for instance, in my country, people are known to be angry and irritable, though friendly, with...but europpean are viewed to be less friendly, and cold, especially germans.
 

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Well high school is kind of like the movies with superficial people, but it's not so exaggerated. The bad part is hollywood and the magazines do influence young people, so it only fuels it.
 

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I have so many books on social anxiety I can't remember which one it is from, but there was a study done of so called "shy" people comparing a group from America and from an Asian country (social individualism vs. social collectivism). While there can definitely be a huge difference between "shy" and "socially anxious", the study concluded that it was much more likely for shy people's friendships to be valued in the Asian country than in the US. I thought it was interesting.

I'll have to do some more digging and see if I can find which book it was in.
 

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I never been anywhere else, but I would imagine the points you made true. Anyone I see you isn't super sure of themselves, and have a harder time. Even in just getting job, it is terribly difficult for me anyway in America, at the same time I doubt it would be much different anywhere else.
 

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I'll have to do some more digging and see if I can find which book it was in.
Could it have been this book?

Social Anxiety Disorder, edited by Bandelow and Stein

The excerpts above and below are from Chapter 8, "Cross-Cultural Aspects of Social Anxiety Disorder," by Seedat and Nagata.

In [a] study of 18- to 21-year-olds in eight countries, rates of shyness ranged from 30% in Israel to nearly 60% in Japan and Taiwan, with Mexico, Germany, India, Newfoundland, and the United States falling between these extremes. Interestingly, Chen et al. reported that shy-inhibited children in Shanghai, China, were more likely to be accepted by peers, to be considered for honorary and leadership positions, and to be regarded by teachers as more competent in school compared to their peers.... A study that examined how social anxiety related to parents' child-rearing attitudes found that American adults were more likely to have social anxiety if their parents emphasized the importance of others' opinions and used shame as a disciplinary strategy compared to Chinese/Chinese American adults.

In eastern cultures, such as that of Japan, individuals tend to define themselves by their families and social groups, so that the self is interdependent with the group. In contrast, within the self-oriented nature of western society, an individual is defined primarily in terms of his or her ability to achieve independence and autonomy from others....

Individual differences in social anxiety may be as great as ethnic differences, and a valid starting point for the clinician is to assess and treat the individual and not the ethnic group. However, by overlooking the culture-specific symptoms of SAD, clinicians and researchers run the risk of under-recognizing and misdiagnosing SAD. SAD may be universal, but culture can have a significant impact on its prevalence, presentation, and treatment. Diagnostic criteria for SAD developed in western settings may not be sensitive to cultural variations in symptom presentation.
 

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I see what you're getting at. I'm originally from Poland and I can tell the difference between how people in European countries act as opposed to the US. The kids in school are far more open in America and it's bit harder to make friends because everyone is so social and it puts more pressure for me to act in a certain way in order to be socially accepted. My dad always tells me that "it's because I'm foreign" when I complain to my parents about my lack of social skills and he says that people in America are too social for their own good. I don't think he's right though because the more social someone is the easier life is for them. I know that most people in Europe don't suffer from SA, as they don't in the US, but SA can be confused by some people with having good manners and being respectful and cultured. For example, my parents think being overly social is rude because they see it as sort of being nosy and not having enough respect for other people's privacy. For instance, I notice that a lot of kids in America are quite social and chatty with their teachers and ask personal questions and details about their lives, but that's just the way they are and it's accepted by most people in this day and age. People like my parents though think this kind of thing is a bit disrespectful and that even though people have good intentions by socializing with people of different social status and age groups, they should show more respect to older people and keep their distance.
 

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It can go both ways I guess. The fact that introversion and shyness is looked down on and there's constant pressure to stand out by your social skills and personality does suck alot. On the other hand, it's eaiser for me to open up if other people are friendlier and make an effort to talk to me rather than if others around me were reserved also.
 
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