It may surprise some people to hear that extroverts can suffer from social anxiety. But it’s true. Social anxiety afflicts millions of extroverts.
Extroversion does not mean that you are outgoing or the centre of attention everywhere you go. Instead extroversion refers to where you get energy from.
Unlike introverts, who get their energy from moments of solitude and peace, extroverts get their energy from being around other people. Just talking and sharing experiences with others peps an extrovert up. When an extrovert is alone for too long she becomes depressed and lethargic. She needs other people to give her life passion, meaning, and energy.
When extroverts are away from other people they become depressed.
Social Anxiety Is Worse For An Extrovert
If you’re an extrovert and need the company of other people in order to recharge yourself and feel good then to be afraid of social situations is the worst thing that could happen to you.
Suddenly you’re avoiding the people, and the experiences, that make you feel good!
That’s why I say that extroverts with social anxiety can have it worse than introverts with social anxiety. At least the introvert can recharge when he is alone. But the extrovert is barred from the environment where he feels best.
Social anxiety and extroversion is a bad combination to have.
But it gets worse for extroverts. A lot of people won’t understand what you’re going through as an extroverted person suffering from social anxiety. When you try to explain they’ll scoff and they’ll insist that you’re “good with people” and that you can’t have social anxiety.
Sometimes they’ll even think that you’re being rude or anti-social!
The Hope For Extroverts
Studies suggest that your genetics play a role in whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. The fact that you’re an extrovert is something that is apart of you. It’s part of your identity and part of what makes you the person that you are.
However social anxiety is not part of who you are. Social Anxiety is just something that you are suffering from today.
Your current feelings of fear and discomfort in social situations are something that you can change. They are based on faulty assumptions that have been built up by your mind. These assumptions trick your mind into thinking that social situations are scary and that people are harder on you than they really are.
With social anxiety you begin to doubt your actions. You begin to worry that you’re no longer “cool”. You start to think that your friends don’t want you to hang out with them anymore.
These thoughts are not based on reality. You need to push past them and begin to see the real world. Become more mindful of how your friends have interacted with you. Sit down and think: is there any reason to think that they actually don’t want you there?
The Extrovert’s Social Anxiety Exercise:
When you deeply think about whether there is any evidence that people think of you more negatively than they do the others in the room you’ll usually discover that there isn’t. It was all a lie played on you by your mind.
Here is an exercise that I want you to try tonight:
What You’ll Need
- A Pen or Pencil
- A Timer
- After you’ve said goodnight to everyone for the night, and don’t expect to interact with anyone until morning, find a quiet place where you can sit alone.
- Close your eyes.
- Think over the day you’ve just lived. Consider all the different interactions you’ve had. Were there any conversations where you felt you were being judged? Write them down.
- Consider whether there were interactions that you felt good about. Write them down.
- And finally write down the interactions that were merely neutral. Such as saying hello to a cashier.
- Look over the negative/judging list and consider what evidence there was that you were being judged or thought negatively about.
You’ll find after doing this exercise that the number of actual negative events that have happened to you are extremely small. And many of the events that you thought were negative were actually all in your mind.
For example you could think that a friend didn’t like a joke you made. But on thinking back on the experience you realize that there isn’t actually any evidence that they didn’t like the joke. In fact they smiled when they heard it.
The purpose of this exercise is to make you aware of the fact that negative experience are few and far between. Your mind just likes to make you think that you’re living in a world filled with judging and negative people because your mind wants to be conservative and keep you inside your house where it’s safe and where you won’t get hit by a car.
Of those negative events that were truly negative you’ll find that the people who were negative are not actually people you care all that much about. The people closest to you, and the people you like best, tend to not be people who openly display hostility and negativity towards you.
Don’t just believe my words. Do the exercise a few times a week for two weeks and discover it for yourself. I promise you that you won’t fully believe me until you try it. Your mind’s capacity for self-delusion is extremely strong.
When you’ve finished the exercise you’ll realize how funny it was that you were ever worried about hanging out with your friends. Of course this won’t get rid of your social anxiety outright. However it is the first step. By becoming aware of the false nature of many of your assumptions about your perception of life you will realize that the way to cure social anxiety forever is to change those assumptions.
It’s an extremely simple solution but it’s not easy. It’s guaranteed to work but only if you commit to it and put in the time every day.
To learn more about this process please join my email list. You will immediately be enrolled in my FREE 4 Day Social Anxiety course which will teach you the fundamentals about shyness and anxiety and how to solve them for good.