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Social anxiety is a type of anxiety that mocks extreme shyness.  However, shyness and anxiety are to different behaviors.  With shyness a person may not have the ability to be comfortable with other people, especially people with which he or she has not become acquainted.

More than shy

The socially anxious person will altogether avoid any situation in which there would be any chance for him or her to embarrass his or herself.  A person with social anxiety will go to any length to avoid anyone looking at him or her.  This is because he or she has a complete unwillingness to be critiqued in any way.  His or her phobia his that he or she could not accept being seen in a negative light.

The person who is socially anxious will not be able to attend a gathering of any kind for fear he or she will be seen as a buffoon.  A person, who has an anxious disorder, is liable to have manifestations of anxiety at any time.  A socially anxious person, on the other hand, does not become anxious until he or she is around other people.

Some shyness is normal

It is normal for anyone to feel uncomfortable in certain situations.  There are times we all shy away from a situation in which we will feel we may end up embarrassed.  However, a person with social anxiety will never be comfortable around other people because he or she feels that someone else will be talking about him or her, and this will bring the socially anxious person a great deal of angst.

Forcing someone who is socially anxious into gatherings makes the situation worse.  In cases where a person's social anxiety is not too severe, he or she can be slowly eased into situations where one or more strangers are involved.  Over time, by slowly working his or her way into these situations the phobia can be broken and this person will start to feel more comfortable in larger gatherings.  The key would be in convincing the socially anxious person that someone probably will be talking about him or her but it simply doesn't matter.

Psychoanalysis help may be required

A person who is socially anxious may feel, at times, he or she is being irrational.  It is not a matter of right or wrong with this person it is simply a matter of comfort.  Whereas an anxious disorder requires a person to unmask his fears and realize adrenaline's role in his illness, the person with social anxiety is not having a problem with adrenaline.  It is more of a problem with confidence.  However, at times this problem can be so deep-seated psychiatric help is needed to one dig it out.