Why is it that I constantly find myself thinking that if I do the slightest error or awkward gesture, the person I’m talking with will in…

Answer by Carlo Carandang:

Being self-conscious is all about how you think about the feared social situation. It is not the social interaction that produces the worry or anxiety- the anxiety comes from how you think about the feared situation, and your appraisals of it.

So let's say that you have a fear of being embarrassed in front of people. And then let's say you are self-conscious, and you automatically think people are going to make fun of you, or that you will embarrass yourself if you talk to them. These thoughts and appraisals of the social interaction then lead to feelings of anxiety.

Because the anxiety is uncomfortable and unpleasant, you then may resort to safety behaviors, or avoidant behaviors to decrease the discomfort from anxiety- maybe you don't look the person in the eye; maybe you drink alcohol to take the edge off; maybe you leave the social event early; maybe you just eventually just stop being social altogether.

These safety/avoidant behaviors maintain your belief that people are making fun of you, as you never get to find out that the social anxiety will eventually go away on its own if you just stick to it and endure your social interactions without resorting to safety behaviors. So this combination of negative thoughts and safety behaviors then lead to this vicious, negative cycle of social anxiety. For more information and help with social anxiety, please visit https://anxietyboss.com/negative-cycle-of-social-phobia/.

Why is it that I constantly find myself thinking that if I do the slightest error or awkward gesture, the person I'm talking with will in…

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