My birthday is fast approaching, so I decided to throw a party to celebrate, and invited my neighbors–Micheal, Claire and Luke.

Micheal who is a shy person will want to refuse because he knows that he will feel uncomfortable around the people in the party. He might feel nervous about speaking to them, but as he blends into the gathering, he will feel at ease and have an enjoyable time, so he accepts the invite.

Claire who is an introvert will want to say no because she derives her energy from spending time alone although she will have a lovely time. She does not detest social gatherings but just loves being alone. She agrees to attend.

Luke has social phobia, and will reject the invite because he feels that he will embarrass himself at the party and would be judged negatively or ridiculed. Even though he wishes to attend, he would likely stay at home because he gets extremely anxious around unfamiliar faces. If he eventually goes to the party, you would notice him sweating and fidgeting, and would likely take his leave early.

Introversion, shyness and social anxiety disorder are different from each other although they might be intertwined. Shynessand introversion are personality traits that a person has but social anxiety disorder is a mental illness that can worsen over time if not given urgent care.

It is true that a shy person may always avoid being in the spotlight but being shy does not prevent them from engaging with the world around them, trying new things or having close relationships; same with introverts. They prefer solitude but still have great relationships and enjoy spending time with others, whereas people living with social anxiety disorder will isolate or limit themselves to avoid anxiety while interacting with others. Therefore, they have diminished quality of life, as they disengage from enjoying activities that they may otherwise enjoy.

The belief that social anxiety is common in introverts is a myth.There are many extroverted people who experience social anxiety, but are unaware and do not come out of their shell until they start getting treatment. Being shy or introverted does not mean that you have social anxiety disorder. These traits do not require treatment unless they pose a great threat to your dailyfunction.



Alalade Opeyemi

I am a health writer who is enthusiastic about improving lives through public dissemination of information about health.

LinkedIn: Opeyemi Alalade

Instagram: Precious_lados

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