Severe Social Anxiety vs Being an Introvert [Key Differences]



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Not everyone loves to socialize, and being an introvert is extremely common. But when does being an introvert get confused for social anxiety? What are the signs that social anxiety deserves intervention from a psychologist or psychiatrist?

In this video, clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula and MedCircle host Kyle Kittleson break down severe social anxiety vs being introvert. There are key differences you should know.

In this video, Dr. Ramani answers…
– From the perspective as a psychologist—when does social anxiety become a real concern?
– What are the potential mental health conditions that may cause social anxiety?
Additionally, is it genetic, environmental, or both?
– What are the signs that someone is experiencing severe social anxiety vs being an introvert or having a little “performance anxiety”?

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#SocialAnxiety​ #Introvert​ #MedCircle

*MedCircle is not a referral service and does not recommend, endorse, discourage, screen, or approve any providers, medical procedures, products, or services; nor does MedCircle provide medical advice of any kind. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your healthcare provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about your health and treatment options. Only your healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to provide advice that is right for you.

49 comments

  1. My dad used to drink. I think I got my mental problems from him. When I was little he used to beat me when he was drunk. But I was a spoiled kid when he was sober so I couldn't shut up so I also didn't shut up and avoid him when he was drunk. So I mostly got on his nerves when he was drunk. But now I understand why he was drinking. Although I don't drink at all. This is not my way. I understand nonthelsee why he was drinking.

  2. I feel tension in my eyes. And I become lightheaded. But mainly my eyes start to hurt. And my look becomes tensed. Like someone can tell instantly and notice if I look at them. It's so annoying.
    But then my irrational fears are about looking at other people.

  3. I have never consulted with any mental health specialist so what i'm going to say is based on my self diagnosis. I'm an introvert and i have social anxiety (which may be severe).
    Ps. I won't be listing 'everything' in this comment but what i will mention (i believe) is enough.
    Pps. long comment alert lol

    Why i think i'm an introvert :
    1. I value showing up for work, diving in and just doing my job. I have a really hard time with the extraneous small talk that interferes with my work. Getting to know each other on a more 'intimate' level with coworkers… I hate it.
    2. I enjoy trips, alone, mostly at night when the streets are empty and no one's around.
    3. I hate small talk. I can tolerate it but it gets annoying and usually gives me a headache. I noticed that even when my sibling talks to me about her day at school i'll sometimes try to tell her to get to the point because i'm not interested ( reason : i can already feel the headache coming ).
    4. Don't look for me. You'll only find me laying in bed all day snacking and watching some videos or playing video games. Oh, i'll also put my phone on silent, so unless you're my mom/dad i'll act like i didn't see you texts/calls. ( i wish i could ignore everyone but my parents will argue with me for having my phone on silent so… but i can't say i didn't ignore some of their calls/texts )

    Why i think i have social anxiety :
    1. I easily sweat and become tongue-tied in social situations. Sometimes i don't even notice i was sweating until i'm done with whatever i was going through. I also often manage to make a fool of myself for sounding like a kid trying to pronounce a word but failing miserably. I'm 25 btw. ( i sweat even when i'm on a phone call … let alone a presentation crying inside )
    2. I am more likely to respond to other's initiatives than to initiate a phone call or a get together. I would most likely try to find an excuse to get out of a social gathering… be it, a wedding, a get together, college classes, gym.. i tried to avoid all these situations at least once in 2021 alone. Excuses (mostly lies) like : i have a headache, i have a knee injury, i'm against social gatherings during the pandemic, it's pouring i won't make it, my parents made a surprise visit, etc….
    3. Sometimes I put off making phone calls or sending email for days/weeks because the reply might be something like "you need to show up at…". I also avoided applying for jobs and internships just because i was dreading the thought of sitting for an interview.
    4. I fear that I'm being judged, I am very self-conscious and i'm very often that one person in a circle of relatives/friends/coworkers that doesn't talk much and just nods and smiles and laughs.. basically i react with my facial expressions and the words 'right', 'yes' and 'no'. ( and yes i was bullied pretty much throughout all my teenage years and had no one to talk to )
    5. I hate feeling wronged and/or misunderstood which is also why i absolutely fear social interactions. As soon as someone 'accuses' me of something i am not and/or didn't do : chest pain, teary eyes, difficulty breathing and voice crack as soon as i try to speak. Which also brings me to this point : criticism is one of my worst enemies… you can criticize me, but don't be a pr*** about it. I can take criticism, but let's be honest, most people would criticize you in a way that makes you feel that you're disgusting.
    6. I know I need time after engaging with others to 'come back to myself' because 'interacting' just wears me out completely and more often than not gives me a headache and i also end up over thinking the whole conversation.

  4. I was diagnosed with social anxiety, severe depression and ptsd. For me being around pretty much anybody outside my very small group triggers "Fight or flight mode". What people don't understand is it is a circle. You WANT to be part of something bigger. You try, which causes anxiety, which makes you reserve, which gives you more anxiety, which triggers ptsd memories. After a few loops of that you just try to avoid people as a way of survival.

  5. Am I an introvert? I tend to stay at home and don’t go out but when I go to school etc and out I am able to talk to people socially. I will talk to people in real life but will never talk to them on social media or messages when I am home or not in their physical presence. I prefer to be at home, but do often have feelings now of wanting to go out and party and get drunk and have a good time dancing etc. However, I find that when it comes to it I feel extremely bummy and don’t participate .

  6. I’m a true Gemini. I love traveling & have a fascination with people especially those from other races, cultures etc.. but I don’t go out to bars or clubs or do online dating because people have issues and I’m too at peace to deal with your issues. 9 out 10 times “friends” & dating arent worth it to begin with. I’m an introvert. Could care less about others opinions of me. In fact, I easily had a debate in a packed auditorium of people.
    I guess my issue is that I don’t trust people. What medical terminology would describe this?

  7. It was not been easy for me but thank God for life today by the help of Dr Ado no YouTube I got rid of Genital herpes after 16 days of using his herbal medicine now I'm cured.

  8. I’m a empath that’s also a introverted extrovert with socially anxious tendencies.. and I work in retail.. yikes lol..

  9. Omg this made so much sense to me. I'm definitely an introvert and I find so much peace and comfort in spending my time alone, however for years I've struggled with a social kind of anxiety. I think for me I definitely knew how society perceives introverts like "you always want to go home" "if only you understood the value of friendships" kind of judgements I'd receive from people (usually extroverts) who tried to be my friend, but whom I would gravitate away from as I knew it wasn't the type of friendship I wanted. Over the years, I think having all these social expectations have weighed heavily on me and gave me anxiety about whether I should stay home or suck it up and go out with people even if I didn't want to. And when I chose to stay home, I'd feel a sense of guilt – like what's wrong with me? I find I often need a good reason to voluntarily be around a group of people. It's just tiring for me because although I am nice and joke around, it's draining for me, which gives people whiplash when I don't want to spend more time with them – restarting the cycle of guilt and anxiety about my introversion. This video definitely helped me differentiate between introversion and anxiety, and made me realise my anxiety stemming from societal perceptions of introversion. Most importantly, that it is perfectly normal to be who I am – an introvert – and to find friends who can respect me for who I am instead of guilt or push me into becoming someone more socially "likeable".

  10. That's not the social anxiety i have because i literally don't like going out. i definitely don't want to socialize with people because i'm most likely a misanthrope because of a the stuff i took from people most of my life. i just plain hate people and the less people around the more happy i am. if i could live on mars all by myself i wouldn't hesitate

  11. The idea of getting to know people, hanging out and having a good time sounds charming, but i prefer not to do them to not screw anything up and not ruin a maybe good impression that people have of me. It’s better if they don’t know how awkward and boring I am. How much I lack confidence and how I don’t like myself. But then I can’t stop thinking how much fun other people are having and FOMO kicks in, at least i thought was fomo but turns out I just have social anxiety. The worst is when my social anxiety and inability to appropriately act in social situation come off as rudeness. The last thing I want is to be rude and make them feel bad (and give them a bad impression of me – yes i rlly care about what people think). It really just comes off as rude and stand offish and fake and I can’t do anything about it.

  12. Introvert shaming: After attending a gathering, I was advised that the hostess said I was “socially inept “. Even worse, after going to a party where I knew no one except for two people, one of those people yelled at me and berated me because I was quiet and she was “ embarrassed for me”. She was really embarrassed for herself. It’s difficult to bounce back from those comments.

  13. As an introvert, I value showing up for work, diving in and just doing my job. I have a really hard time with the extraneous small talk that interferes with my work. The HR types talk about the importance of getting to know your coworkers on a more intimate level. This apparently facilitates a more cohesive team. I hate it.

  14. Interesting. I avoid alcohol for several reasons, one of them being the fear of getting drunk, which would mean acting weird, therefore embarrass myself in front of everyone. When I drink, I don't feel confident but extremely self-conscious.

  15. i have social anxiety and im an introvert, working in retail is harddd. i feel like everyone’s judging me because im the new girl that doesn’t know what she’s doing, i keep making mistakes over and over and i feel like my coworkers are all secretly making fun of me. My social anxiety makes me feel and seem alot younger than i am which is 23, and it makes me stupid but i know deep inside i am very smart. i feel so uncomfortable operating the cashier because im too shaky and don’t want to give the wrong change. i just want to quit, i feel so out of place 😥 why can’t i just be a normal person.

  16. I always get to the door of an event, then just turn away and make excuses why I don't need to go… even though I'm dying to go

  17. I grew up thinking I was introverted but realised as an adult that it was just a mask to hide my social anxiety. I pretty much had to rebuild my entire identity.

  18. I really want to get diagnosed with social anxiety but my parents will say I am overreacting. I have to take pills every day just to be able to walk into a shop or go to school without turning into a sweat puddle

  19. Its impossible for me to relax when I´m with someone, and I mean more or less ANYONE even my parents. I feel like I have to talk and have a conversation going or they will think that I´m boring or weird…also I´ve noticed when theres an awkward silence people often feel the need to break that silence by asking personal questions which I HATE! Questions like "Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? What do you do in your sparetime, hang out with friends? What did you do this weekend?, during your vacation? etc etc….that life is nonexistant for me…I have my work and i have my apartment and I´m fine with that BUT i do get embarrassed when people pity me and my lifestyle….people makes me tired and I never feel the need to be around them out of my free will. I pretend like I´m confident and have discussions or smalltalk with people but only because I want to seem normal. I have no secret desire to actually have friends, I just want to escape from people every chance I get!

  20. I too am an introvert. It is incredible how some (ignorant) people, see introversion as a character flaw. I am a confident woman and enjoy being with people…but not too many people, too often. Otherwise I get burned out. I love my alone time but not if I am clinically depressed. When I am depressed, being alone is painful. It is those times that I need one other person, a hug and a bit of reassurance. I guess that just makes me human. I never had that from my mother when I was growing up in the 60's/70's. All she did was shout at me. In those days, people were not as educated as they are now, about mental health, or even how to show a young child affection. I had none, unless I appeared to be 'happy'. So I learned how to show happiness, even though inside I was in agony.

  21. That moment when you want to get yourself checked out (especially in regards of social anxiety), but you're too scared to talk to anyone about it..

  22. Lol I get so anxious that I have trouble holding eye contact as well as feeling super tense. It sucks so bad but I don’t know what to do

  23. As philosopher,empath with social anxiety i can say that more than 90 percents of psychiatrists are either narcissistic,sociapathic or psychopatic.So i have philosophic question to u Why Good "Men with social anxiety,schizoprenics,autists…" doesnot work as psychiatrist in psychiatry sector but Evil "Narcissists,sociapaths,psychopats" works as psychiatrist?Are u so naive to think that Evil who hurting makes people schizoprenic,with social anxiety,autist…" will care the good,will heal the good?

  24. God bless Dr IGUDIA on YouTube who cured me from herpes with his effective herbal products. I will forever be grateful sir. You all can also contact him for help on any kind of disease on his YouTube channel

  25. Definitely an introvert with anxiety aswell, cant really make Eye contact while in conversations I catch myself staring at anything almost looking zoned out,I’ll look anywhere but the person I’m talking to. I’m very quiet at times unless you’re the one making the conversation which is why I like being around very social people they make it 100x easier for me. Also when I walk into a store or anywhere i feel like there’s someone just staring at me so I’m just trying to “act” normal the whole time.after talking to someone or hanging out I think about How awkward I was or if I did okay. I’m that boring friend people chill with if no one else is answering I usually see all that fake shit so that’s why I’ve chose to be alone a lot and it’s developed the social anxiety even mores any help lmk 🙏

  26. WOW. This is on point. I'm an introvert and I blackout#are nervous#panic#anxiety#worry#stress– to the point where by I will rehearse a basic conversasion. I don't experience embarrassment for example : I'm not afraid to introduce myself to others. But once I introduced myself, I don't know what to talk about…weird

  27. My brothers and sisters who has social anxiety pls dont waste time and money to doctors who cant heal u.If they cant heal reason(narcis,sociapaths,psyhopats) then how they can heal result(shizoprenics,men who has social anxiety.Ask doctor what do they heal reason or result?Goodness or Evil?Ownselves or ills?Just accept pain then u will find calm.Dont run away from pain coz pain is the truth.Only with pain u can return to God.Dont let sociapathic,narcissistic,psycopathic psychiatrs to take empathy,pain from u.Evil first hurts u then tries to heal u to think that evil is rescuer.Evil is everywhere in science,in art…..Evil has its own working mechanism.Ask yourselves why sociapthic,narcissistic,psychopatic leaders,ministers rule countries,this world.Why 90 percent of psychologs and psychiatrs are narcissistic,sociapthic,psychopatic.God bless u.

  28. I feel like social anxiety is one of those things nobody cares you have. For the last few years I don’t tell anybody I have it anymore and it affects my day to day life more than anything. I don’t want to be extremely extroverted or the ‘life of the party’ I just want to be normal and do normal things without the intense irrational fear holding me back.

  29. Their so anxious they can't get a date, funny. If that is the reason of someone's anxiety. Boy, you should go and help a nursing room to be humble.

  30. I was extrovert as a child, but I don't know if I am introvert or extrovert now. When I am in a relationship I enjoy circulating more in the social groups, because I feel the support. By myself, I am too scared to be left out or scrutinized. 🙁

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