This week is my abnormal psychology class we were asked to discuss a fear we have.  And I decided it’s time to let you all in on my secret.

I have social anxiety.

Mostly I joke about it, like it’s a funny quirk.  But I’m starting to realize that it’s not really that funny and it’s not just a quirk.  How do I know?  My social anxiety causes me to do things such as:

  • Skip classes when I was going to an actual campus vs. online.  The reason I take online classes is because I HATED going to classes.  I felt as if people constantly judged me and that I wasn’t good enough to be in the classes.  Ridiculous but this caused me to do horrible in school because of the amount of classes I skipped.
  • I will skip running errands because I don’t want to be in a crowded store or I don’t want to talk to the people working in the store/bank/gas station, etc.  And if I am in a store and need help I refuse to ask for it for fear of looking dumb (despite the fact that I work in customer service and get people asking questions all the time).
  • If I have plans with friends I will sometimes cancel.  On my FRIENDS.  Sometimes my anxiety is enough that I don’t even want to be around the people I love.
  • I have faked sick to skip out on family get togethers that involve large groups of people.
  • I text.  I do not call on the phone.  I used to love talking on the phone but now I will do whatever I can to avoid calling people.

It makes me sad to type this.  I read these words and think “Wow, really?”  And it’s funny because I was telling a coworker this the other day and they didn’t believe me because they see me as an outgoing person.  A lot of people have no idea how much I push myself to seem outgoing.

I do recognize that this is a problem and in my life I’ve been really proud of some of the things I’ve done despite my phobia, such as:

  • Participating in Youth in Government in high school and even applying for an appointed position 3 of my 4 years there.  This program caused me to interact with A LOT of people I didn’t know and although I was scared I did it anyway and to this day YIG is one of my very favorite memories.
  • I’ve gone on several blog get togethers (and made some really great friends because of them).
  • I work in a RESTAURANT.  And every time I get a large table I just take a deep breath and deal with it even though I want to find any of my coworkers to give it away to.

Not such a long list.  But I’m trying, and that’s what matters, right?

I have to say that this anxiety embarasses me and I hate that it causes me to miss out on things.  I want to try to hold myself more accountable and force myself out of my comfort zone. 

I just don’t want anything holding me back anymore.


  1. says

    I never really thought of this as something that could affect someone's life….so thanks for informing us of it Krysten, it's really brave of you to talk to about it. And I think I can empathize with some of what you're feeling because I really dislike networking and making small talk with people and going to large parties and bumping into people on the street, etc. which happens a lot in the small town where I live.

    could I possibly have social anxiety too?

  2. says

    I love your honesty here…I can totally relate. I use to hate going to class, so I finished college online. I was the one worrying if I was going to know anybody in class, and whose group I would be in during group time etc. It is definitely not fun, but it sounds like you are doing awesome working on it and going out of your comfort zone!

  3. says

    When I was much younger I had social anxiety all the time. I would literally wake-up sick to my stomach because I would worry far too much. I found that forcing myself to get out there, and do social activities was the one thing that really helped me to overcome the entire thing. :)

  4. says

    i wouldn't say i have social anxiety rather i can be very anti-social at times. i usually chalk that up to being lazy and having no stomach for small talk.

    just a thought – have you ever thought about talking to someone about your social anxiety? maybe there's something that's bothering you and you need to figure it out? it seems that your anxiety holds you back and figuring out why may be the key to letting go.

  5. says

    You'd be amazed at how many people are the same way. I used to be a social butterfly… cheerleading captain, softball MVP, tons of boyfriends, lol and now my life is mostly here.. on the internet… blogging…. sigh. I rarely meet up with friends and family in person. I must get better. Thanks for this.

  6. says

    I can definitely relate to this and it just seems to get worse the older I get. I also hate calling people, I would much rather email or text, especially when it comes to work. I get anxious before any get together with friends and family especially at the holidays. Xanax worked wonders for me but I had to stop taking it when I was trying to get pregnant. I miss it.

  7. says

    I love when bloggers open up – and thank you for doing it.
    I knew you had this problem – as I have it too and you've shared it with me in small detail before. I will also cancel plans with friends and I also text vs. call because of it.
    I can't offer you help because I don't know how to kick it myself, but I can tell you that you're not alone. Knowing that, maybe you'll at least feel a little better about it the next time you open up about it.

  8. says

    i too have a bit of social anxiety so i totally hear you. it's difficult, but i find that just trying to continue to work on it helps a bit. but i seriously dread the phone for some reason. like i hate to even order pizza!

  9. says

    good for you for being so open about such a hard topic to talk about to us. i don't think i could be that way on my own blog.

    truthfully, i am a very shyintroverted person. i related to alot of what you mentioned here. being with people drain me…it uses so much energy. i think that's why i love blogging so much…i'm talking to people and making friends, but i'm not having that exhausting experience of having to be with them face to face. (that probably sounds bad!)

    i just want you to know that you are a sweet person and you have nothing to be scared of. (:


  10. says

    Oh Krysten. That takes a big step to share anxieties. I have many also, they are dark things that I have to push aside a lot of the top. But the best way to confront them is to deal with them head on. xo

  11. says

    Oh wow, I found myself nodding along with some of the things you listed and had a moment where I was like, oh hey, maybe I experience this on some level, too? And funny, because everyone around me would also classify me as outgoing and social.

    More power to you for identifying this though and focusing on the things that YOU do do and have continue to partake in that are on the opposite end of the spectrum! xo

  12. says

    I think you know very well my issues with social anxiety and how much my own social anxiety affects my life. I felt the same way about college classes and never really felt like I fit in there. If I ever do go to grad school, I want to look into an online program because I think I would do so much better.

    I am definitely going to start therapy to sort through my anxiety problems and learn how to overcome them because it is not a fun way to live and I don't intend to spend the rest of my life locked in this.


  13. says

    Oh girl, giving words to it I think helps take away some of its power. I don't think I've ever struggled with this (I have my own other areas of anxiety), but when I just recently moved here I found myself battling it for the first time. I was overwhelmed and didn't want to go anywhere. I had to force myself, it wasn't fun, but I know eventually it will get better. I can't imagine how frustrating it is to handle this on a regular basis. Thinking of you!

  14. says

    That's a lot to deal with, I can imagine that it's incredibly overwhelming. I hope that your friends and family are supportive of you. It sounds like you're taking steps to help yourself grow and become more confident in those situations, and that is awesome!

  15. says

    I have a lot of the same problems. I feel like such a nerd and people don't really know me–and I'm a JOURNALIST! I'm only comfortable interviewing, so that's what I do at parties–just ask people about themselves. My MIL told me that she didn't really know me until after I started my blog (after we got married)–and I'd been dating Ben for three years!

  16. says

    My husband is like that. Drives me NUTS! But I'm sure it's not really something he can control. For people who don't experience this kind of thing it's hard to understand WHY you can't just wait in line in the bank when the ATM is down instead of driving to four different branches. (true story from 2 days ago)

  17. says

    I think more people have anxiety than society in general realizes. Certain things give me anxiety too and it really sucks. Knowing you have an issue is the first step in making progress, right? Sounds like you are already trying to overcome it :)

  18. says

    You're not alone. I find myself texting instead of calling, wanting to cancel plans to stay home, or avoiding getting my HAIR CUT because I don't want to sit uncomfortably silent in the chair.

    Good for you for being open about it, those are usually the first steps to dispelling our fears.


  19. says

    I'm so sorry – I would never have guessed it either. I'm a bit the same way, but not so much social anxiety but "I need my alone time" anxiety. Maybe it's the same thing. But I cancel on friends when I need to just be home alone for a while.

  20. says

    You should not feel embarrassed at all. I think a lot of people deal with this type of anxiety at some point in their lives. I had major anxiety issues in high school and the only way I came over it was to face it head on and move to NY…alone..with no friends. I was forced to talk to people and it helped a lot.

  21. says

    i have to say that i totally have social anxiety as well, especially in a situation where i don't really know anyone. i usually stay pretty quiet because i feel like i have nothing interesting to say and i have a fear of going up and talking to strangers!

  22. says

    Big hug to you and congrats on opening up and talking about it! That is so brave! I am sure a lot more people than we know, have some form of social anxiety, it's just few who dare to talk about it. I am proud of you for wanting to win over it, I believe that's the right attitude! Small steps are better than no steps!

  23. says

    I'm so happy you shared this. I have been doing the same things for a while, especially canceling on my friends. I also refuse to go in a store/restaurant until a friend comes. Glad to know that I'm not the only one!

  24. says

    I think writing bout it might help. I have a gf who has this too. And if it helps you had me fooled, I bet you're a great waitress too! Enjoy your Friday & weekend too!

  25. says

    Thanks for your honesty Krysten!! I would have Never noticed because your are do socially engaging on this blog…you are doing pretty well of I may say so!! I probably have some form of social anxiety to some degree…

  26. says

    I think we all have a long list of anxieties and I totally share some of the same as you. I have actually faked being sick so I don't have to speak in classes when called upon. And I'm not big on talking to strangers – but like you have done blog meetups.

    Here's to conquering our fears :)

  27. says

    Heart racing, and sweating of the hands and underarms to where I can't shake anyone's hands. I have had numerous doctors give me medications to cope, however the best thing that works is exercise. The medications make you sleepy and the best advice is to take a stress test by your doctor.
    Patient Drugs

  28. says

    ME TOO!!! The people I go to school with think I am so shy… they probably think I'm rude or stuck up but I just am always nervous about opening my mouth! I even make up excuses to not to go parties & get-togethers… it is sad and I need to fix it!

  29. says

    You are so brave Krysten. The best thing is that you've recognized it and you're taking amazing steps to deal with it. And they are measurable steps and ones that you can take and feel great about and increase your confidence. You always inspire me when it comes to blogging and that is quite social <3

  30. says

    i never would've thought you had this! you seem so personable on your vlog you made. i do have social anxiety, but mine is bc i'm so shy. i hate talking on the phone unless i am really close to the person. i've been invited to blog events and never go bc i'm too shy. but put me on a stage singing, and it all goes away. odd.

  31. says

    I think a lot of this is normal! Personally I don't have problems with going to class or on errands, but I do hate any function with lots of people. (family gatherings with more than a few people, reunions, etc) I've faked sick more than a few times.

    And I do everything possible NOT to talk on the phone, especially with businesses. Hate hate hate!

  32. says

    I've had Generalized Anxiety Disorder with Panic and Phobia since I was around 6 years old. While it generally isn't social anxiety, it's been debilitating at different times in my life. It's really hard to live with. I have found therapy and medication to be very helpful, as my anxiety affects me MUCH more minimally now. Just know that it's brave to talk about it, and that it CAN get better!

  33. says

    I have anxiety disorder with panic disorder. I have a lot of the same problems with going out so I can't say that I know what you're going through, but I have some idea. I haven't been able to work in over six months and haven't seen anyone but my family in that time (aside from therapists and such). I can tell you that with help, it does get better. But it's a long process. Thanks for being brave enough to post about it :)

  34. says

    I have only recently discovered that I have many of the same concerns as you. It's strange… I was always this outgoing social butterfly, but all of a sudden, I felt like I just wanted to retreat. And I totally get the embarrassment… how do you explain this to the people who have known you the longest?

    Facing your fears is such a HUGE step though. Here's a book that I've been reading which has REALLY changed my outlook on life.

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