Social anxiety is the 3rd most common mental health issue in the U.S. In fact, over 19 million people suffer from mild to severe social anxiety today, and “normal” individuals tend to see the symptoms without understanding the nature of the illness and thus do not respond with empathy to sufferers. Common reactions to those who have social anxiety are that they are lazy, aloof, unfriendly, malingerers, hypochondriacs, and misfits.
If someone you care about or work with has social anxiety, you need to recognize the symptoms, understand his/her illness, and find ways to support that individual, rather than criticize and/or condemn. Here you will find 13 common behaviors of people who have social anxiety and how you need to respond in order to support them.
1. They want to be recognized for something other than just their social maladaptation.
A mental health issue does not define a person – it is simply one trait possessed right now. People with this affliction can be intelligent, can be productive, and can have a number of personality and professional traits that are quite positive. Recognizing and praising these positive traits will show that you see beyond this single “negative” and can see their value as a whole person.
2. They get tired easily.
And they may sleep more or may be too exhausted to engage in normal activity. Think about it. They spend all of their waking hours that are outside of their “safe” places (usually their homes) worrying about what situations they may find themselves in, what they will say if addressed in any manner, how they will cope with a meeting at work or a class discussion in school. Their brains are relentlessly churning, and that can be exhausting. Rather than criticizing them for their tiredness, how about putting yourself in that mental situation? Would you be exhausted? Of course you would be! Rather than criticize, suggest a short time out or nap.
3. They can “shut down” or “zone out.”
This is a defense mechanism, and we all have them, even though they may not present themselves in this manner. Some of us may become angry or irritable; some of us may be subject to “rants” of sorts. So why do we criticize socially anxious people for their defense mechanisms simply because they are different from our own? Part of developing empathy for socially anxious people is recognizing that they have their own responses to stress, just as we do.
4. They are horribly self-conscious.
While most people will accept a “bad hair day” or clothing that may not be wonderfully flattering, those with social anxiety put huge emphasis on physical appearance, convinced that they are being regularly judged by how they look. The best response? Give compliments on their physical appearance; tell them that their outfit really looks good on them; tell them that the color they are wearing is great; praise any physical feature that you can. This bolsters self-confidence and creates a feeling of acceptance.
5. They will have more health issues, as their immune systems are continually compromised.
A UCLA study showed that social anxiety increases inflammatory activity of those parts of the brain that trigger immune system functions. Continued activation of this system wears it down and makes the body more subject to illness and disease. Rather than criticize or accuse someone of hypochondria, understand and accept the fact that there is a real physical cause of more frequent illness.
6. They respond differently to stimuli that you consider normal and even pleasant.
Remember, research shows that people with social anxiety are on “high alert” all of the time. This means that noise, lots of conversation, and large groups of people can overload their sensory intake. They will retreat, shut down, or flee. A study conducted by Gottschalk, M.D. and Haer, Ph.D., published in General Psychiatry, demonstrates that sensory overload and social impairment are directly related, particularly in individuals who have generalized social anxiety issues. Thus, if you are “forcing” a socially anxious person to participate in such activities, you are presenting him/her with an almost “impossible” situation. Tone down the activities in which you are asking your loved one to participate, at least for now.
7. They have a great deal of difficulty dealing with change of any kind.
You may be excited about a career change or a transfer that will move you to a new city and new experiences. Your partner or spouse will not share that excitement if they suffer from social anxiety. Any change is a horrible threat to “safety,” and you must recognize it as such. In your excitement, you cannot dismiss the anxiety of your loved one. Find ways to acclimate your partner to the change gradually or share some information on how to organize your move to another place without any extra mess, to give small incremental experiences in the new environment, so that they are not overwhelmed.
8. They want positive responses to their anxiety attacks, not just nebulous comments, such as, “Are you going to be okay?”
They don’t feel “okay,” and they do not want someone continually asking them that question. Instead, you need to recognize the immediate condition and provide reassuring and positive comments, such as, “You’ve had these attacks before, and you have gotten through them. You will get through this one too. I am here to give you whatever help you need or to just leave you alone if that is what you want.”
9. They store previous traumatic events in a different part of their brains than other people.
We are all subject to traumatic events in our lifetimes – the death of a loved one; being the victim of bullying or abuse; catastrophes in our childhood or adolescence; violence in wartime. People who do not suffer social anxiety from such events store those memories in the left frontal portions of their brains; people who develop social anxiety store those memories in the back regions of their brains – those regions in which sensory perceptions are housed. Thus, the sights, sounds, smells, etc. of those experiences are recalled when similar sensory experiences are encountered (Dr. Ruth Lanius, University of Western Ontario, study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Jan., 2004). Understanding that the individual with social anxiety may be “re-living” prior traumatic experiences differently can go a long way towards understanding and developing sensitivity to their responses to current situations which stimulate those memories.
10. They need their “space.”
While you are trying to get the anxious person to get motivated to participate in events and social situations, that person just needs to step back and get some perspective, allowing a gradual build-up to the participation that you may want right now. It is far better that you respond with a comment like, “It’s okay, I can go by myself. You stay here, and I’ll see you later,” rather than, “I don’t understand what is wrong with you! All I’m asking is that you go to this event with me!” Try to stop focusing on your needs and focus on theirs.
11. They know that their anxieties are irrational.
You do not have to continually remind them of that fact. Instead of saying, “That’s just crazy!”, think of a response that validates what they are feelingright now. “I know what you are feeling; I know that you do not want to feel this way; how can I help?” This gives the socially anxious person trust in you and will allow them to voice their anxieties rather than keep them suppressed, which only causes additional stress.
12. They fear a social situation that has not presented itself
One of the cardinal symptoms of social anxiety is an irrational preoccupation with social situations that have not even occurred but may occur. If, for example, there is an invitation to a wedding and reception that is weeks away, the individual with social anxiety might obsess about the event. An inordinate amount of time may be spent thinking and re-thinking what clothing to wear, what hairstyle will be chosen, who else may be attending, where they might be seated at the reception, etc. You cannot change this thinking, but you can validate it and provide reassurances. Offering to help with selection of clothing and complimenting a particular hairstyle will assist in alleviating fears. Reassuring the individual that you will be “right next to them” throughout the event is important, and you must follow through with that promise.
13. They will want to retreat to their “safe place” as often as possible.
One of the things that social media has given to people with social anxiety is a method of communicating that is not face-to-face. Instead of criticizing the amount of time spent on Facebook or watching television, suggest an occasional walk or an evening out with dinner and a movie. These activities can reinforce the thinking that a social situation outside of the home can be “safe” too.
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I was sitting at this bar, the corner table waiting for my friend for past 15 minutes, as much as I was pissed at him getting late I was constantly being bothered by my phone Buzzing every other second, it was my ex making every effort to get back into my Life. And there I see a Couple sitting right in front of my Corner Seat adding to my melancholically well planned meeting, engrossed in their violent yet so mundane conversation.
I can totally relate this so common act with the scenario today, a Relationship Blunder. What was the first impression that these words create on your mind? Is it that everyone seem to fight and cheat on each other all the time, as if it’s a norm???
“A person must be strong enough to to move on. The past is over. There are so many people who get into relationships fall in love and then get heart broken. When a person breaks your heart it’s best that you move on a leave for the better. Do not allow a person from your past pain come back into your life. If you must be alone for a while be alone. But do not let loneliness be a reason for you to go back to your ex. You must move forward”, says Marcus Gill.
What I think is that most of the Relationships these days are mere an outcome of anxiety, isolation and most importantly to pleasure the physical desires. Teenagers these days are not so involved into family interactions, in fact they prefer not to share even the smallest of their joy or sorrow. Here comes a feeling of loneliness at times, for which relationship seems to be the only way out. Can it be equated with love?
I loved this answer as provided by Marcus during our conversation; he says, “Well most people do rush into relationships because of loneliness. Who wants to be alone for lever? Not many. The hurtful part is the fact that lonely people will tolerate almost anything just to cure themselves. I would encourage people to understand true love. That fact that God is love and God is always with you means that you’re never alone and you’re never without love. Gods love always beats man’s love anyway.”
Another important point to keep in mind is that; a strong, healthy relationship can be one of the best supports in your life, and vice versa. It can improve all aspects of your life, strengthening your health, your mind, and your connections with others; and it can also affect you adversely. Remember; Relationships are an investment. It requires the your time and there should be a sense of belongingness. The more you put in, the more you can get back. When asked, Marcus gave me some really useful tips that can prove to be of real help. I would like to share a few with you.
Tip 1: Do not commit to a relationship because of good looks. Indeed outward appearance is attractive and in most cases it does matter, but you will make a huge mistake if you do not take the time to get to know who a person is underneath all of their beauty. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder right? That also counts for the beauty that we should see on the inside of a person. Don’t make a commitment to someone with a mask on. People do a really good job of hiding who they really are.
They may appear to be one way on the outside but deep down inside they are horrible. The mask may look good for now, but the mask will not stay on forever. Ask God to reveal to you what’s wrong that may not be so obvious. It’s a miserable experience to be in a committed relationship with someone who looks amazing but their personality is abominable.
Tip 2: Enjoy your life’s journey. Avoid comparing your life’s journeys to other’s. If all of your friends are in relationships don’t let that be a reason as to way you feel the need to rush into one. Have you ever heard of the phrase keeping up with the Jones’? Thats what so many people end up doing.
Their best friend has a mate so they rush to get a mate. The relationship is all wrong. Be single and satisfied until God send you the right person! You do not have to rush the process just to keep up with others. Wait on God’s perfect timing. In fact, the same people that you may look at and admire may be in a difficult situation and you don’t even know it. Enjoy your privacy and peace. Go out and enjoy your life (even if you have to do it alone, it’s fun!) when the time is right your God sent mate will be revealed! Do not try to match your friends. Enjoy your own God created journey.
Let me now introduce you to this amazing man, Marcus.
Marcus Gill Speaker, author, and pastor are some of the words used to identify Marcus Gill. He is the founder and CEO of Marcus Gill Ministries; a ministry that has been designed to reach lost souls and inspire believers.
With the use of clothing giveaways, food distribution, outdoor evangelistic worship experiences, conferences, television, online broadcasting and literature, Marcus has distributed God’s license for victory that can never be revoked. Known globally for his inspiring presence on social media, Marcus has been able to share God’s love with over 40 million people a week. He is the Founder and Lead Pastor of The Rush Church United in New Haven, Connecticut and New York City.
Connect with him on Facebook: Marcus Gill
Music, movies, friends and fairy tales teach us how to love but they don’t teach us what not to do and where it can go wrong. Will you accept any suggestion without asking a single question about it? Don’t you argue to a statement said by a friend or a teacher or anyone who you think is trying to advice you?
Then how can you accept such lessons without questioning , this can be dangerous to the health of your relationships. Here are five myths that can kill any love relationship.
You’ll be wise to avoid them.
- Love is enough.
- There is nothing to learn.
- If you love me, you’ll _______.
- My mate will change.
- I’ll do my half.
- Love is enough.
This is a lie. Love alone is not enough to hold you together. There must be communication, a sense of togetherness and understanding each other is an important part of any relationship. Life brings with it challenges. There comes a point when you now have to find out how to share the same house, the same room, the same bed, and the same money you have.
This will be no longer a dating scene as it used to be, you now have new friends, relatives, and strangers to deal with. Those charming things you like about each other are now with you all the time. Closeness brings intimacy but it also brings a need to change and adapt. Change is difficult. You can tolerate so much of change that won’t affect you.
In fact, studies show that living together before marriage is an indicator for a higher chance of divorce. Even though you can’t avoid problems, you can prevent their damage. What you can do is to create a safe environment at home where you can talk with each other, get some time to communicate with each other. When you can talk without fear of criticism, anger, or any other lack of support, you can talk about anything. Problems can only be solved when you can talk as true partners, without any fear of one denying other.
- There is nothing to learn
Since love is not enough and you were probably not taught neither you were keen to learn how to communicate and solve problems, it’s time to learn. Even couples who have come from the best of homes probably never saw their parents solve problems. What they often get to see is a conflict in place every third day and then none of them talking to one another till the weekend. Parents rarely are able to teach their children the skills for handling difficult times and the skills for keeping love alive.
As your relation celebrates more days adding into it making it closer to one more anniversary, romance takes a backseat. Romance often get reduced gradually with the time, there can be many reasons for the same. As you grow through life, you will change. Your partner will change. Your relationship will change. If you stay open to accepting change, you can grow from it rather than resisting it.
Learning who you are and who your partner is can be a wonderful experience. Just remember that it doesn’t stop when you think you have learned everything from the past. You have the present and the future to look forward to.
- If you love me, you’ll _______.
Fill in the blank with what comes to mind.
Some popular ones are: …you’ll change, know what I need, do what I want, give in, and just trust me. This statement makes love conditional upon the other person doing what you ask as a proof of their love. Such expectation of conditional love is dangerous. There is a dark translation to this type of expectation. What you are saying, in effect is, “I don’t trust your love so you better prove it to me now.”, or “I don’t care enough about you to consider your feelings, wants, and needs. What I want is more important.”
This type of statement can be a warning sign. Demand and conditional love usually say more about the person making the statement than about the recipient. It speaks to an unreasonable expectation that may be motivated by a lack of care about the partner or by a personal lack of self-esteem. Expectations of “knowing what I need” demand that your partner have the ability to mind read. I noticed it many times that your girl will not ask for what she need, thinking as if you know her demands. You are in a relationship doesn’t mean that you know everything about your partner. You are not a mind reader I believe!!! They must tell what they need and what they don’t.
The only way your partner can know what you need, want, feel, or think is your telling them. Good communication is a powerful tool for understanding. On the other hand, it is not unreasonable to have expectations of your partner in the relationship. How you voice them is important.
- My mate will change.
Yes, they will and you have no control. The people who expect there mate to change in the way they want are the ones who gets disappointed. The only person you can ever change is yourself. This can be a relationship killing expectation, as no one changes for anybody and no one actually should change for any person except himself/herself. In many cases, they expect there partner to change for example If he is a foodie and you cannot expect him to be on diet as soon as he marries you !!!
Such demands are unreasonable, unwelcome, and unlikely to succeed.
People change because they want to not because you want them to. And all people change and grow as they age. But people rarely change for the better when they are under pressure from someone else…even a loved one.
The strongest relationships are founded on the commitment of two strong individuals who bring themselves to the relationship. It means compromise, growth and change but it does not mean giving in to the unreasonable demands of another. The article, Change and Grow has some further insights on this subject.
- I’ll do my half.
It’s about compromising several times; you compromise because you love your partner. There is no such thing as a truly successful long term marriage where each partner gives only their half (50%). The only truth is that our expectations for a fairy tale marriage lead us down the road to disappointment, disillusionment, and divorce.
“I’ve had it. You’re selfish. If you really loved me, you’d understand what I need. I’ve been giving and giving and I get nothing in return. You don’t give me what I want anymore. Maybe we should get divorced.” This conversation or others like it is held are more common in relationships these days. Being in a relationship is not that easy and magical as they show us on television or movies. It takes lot of efforts; it’s about keeping aside your ego. Sometimes you have to fight with your own-self. Relationships can provide you immense pleasure and strength but when it comes to hardships this can let you experience the worst.
The truth will help you create your role in a positive lifetime marriage. The Truth: Men and women are not equal. Thank God. We are different as individuals and, in that difference, lies part of the answer to a happy marriage. What we choose to do with those differences determines, perhaps more than love, what our relationship will look like. And it’s not a fifty-fifty deal. A truly happy and lifetime marriage relationship is a seventy five: seventy five proposition (75:75) and all marriages will have problems at some time. It’s inevitable. Differences and intimacy are a recipe for conflict.
By giving more than half, with the faith that you are both committed to the same marriage team and by communicating for understanding, with the goal of a winning marriage, you can overcome the inevitable problems of creating a happy married life. You can prosper and be happy when you each give seventy five percent to your marriage.
When you know that your partner is contributing more than their fair share, it’s easier for you to do the same. Even though the fairy tales aren’t always right, there can be a happy ending; a happy married life for those of you who commit to giving more to your marriage. When you communicate for understanding, and make your relationship a priority, you do have a chance of succeeding where so many other millions have failed. Yes, it takes work.
The history of the abuse of women is well documented and incontrovertible. Women have gained a respectable status in society over a period of time, people talk about equality for all, and they say men and women should be treated equally but, are they actually treated equally?? Women these days are more superior in fact they are made superior and somehow this has raised the issue of men security. What is more hidden and wrapped in myth is the fact of the abuse of men.
It is probably counter intuitive to think of men as subjected to emotional and physical abuse as the hands of women but it does happen. A study conducted by Dr. Robert J.Reid clearly points out the bitter truth that abused men are understudied and hidden.
There are also a number of myths surrounding the issue of abused men.
Myth 1: Men are not physically abused by women.
Fact: There is a 40% rate of domestic violence cases involving men being abused by women. Also, physical abuse of men includes being kicked, hit and forced to have sexual relations against their will, yes at times men are forced to have sex even if they don’t feel like having it. The non-physical abuse includes being the target of threats and the recipient of disparaging remarks and curses.
Myth 2: Men are not affected when women are abusive.
Fact: Men suffer from depression as a result of being abused; in some cases this leads to complete mental disorders if not treated well in time. Men suffer in silence for a number of reasons, making them less likely to report the abuse. Men may be Embarrassed or think they can handle the abuse.
Myth 3: Men are free to leave abusive relationships as compared to women who often have children or money to worry about.
Fact: In actuality, men have as much difficulty leaving abusive relationships as do women. As a result, they remain despite ongoing abuse. Some male victims also fear they may be ridiculed for admitting their female partner has abused them. A man who calls the police to report domestic violence is three times more likely to be arrested than the woman. Most victims actually minimize the violence that happens to them because of the guilt, shame, and self-blame attached to victimization, and because others do not believe them or refuse to listen. Leaving is often the hardest thing for a victim to accomplish, and is commonly harder than staying.
Myth 4: Domestic abuse affects only people from poor families or from minority groups.
Fact: Domestic violence of all types does not discriminate. Families from all ethnic, racial and socio-economic groups are affected by domestic violence. It doesn’t categorize based on the earning per capita or the lifestyle one has neither on the basis of religion nor society they are living in. You can notice anyone suffering from Men abuse irrespective of his family or economic background, most common example is men being abused by their superior lady official in an office.
Myth 5: If domestic violence and abuse is ignored it will eventually end.
Fact: No problem can ever be solved if ignored again and again, the only way out is to face it, and put enough efforts to fight with the problem. The same is the case with men abuse, the history of domestic violence and abuse of all kinds clearly shows that, if ignored, it will become more violent and in some cases, ending in death. Therefore there is a need of awareness among people on how to deal with this, instead of ignoring they must help someone suffering from such violence.
I request the readers to share this and help in awareness.