Do socially anxious people have a reason to be nervous?:

Yes. Though circular, socially anxious people make their interactions with others notably less smooth because of their anxious behavior. So, yes, if you’re acting socially anxious you have a reason to be socially anxious because you really are screwing things up:

The behavioral manifestations of social anxiety may have implications for social outcomes. Unfortunately, little is known about how anxiety shapes social interaction. The present study examined social interactions in dyads consisting of either 2 nonsocially anxious (NSA) individuals or 1 socially anxious (SA) and 1 NSA individual. Behavior, self-reported affect, and perceptions were examined. In comparison with the interactions of NSA pairs, high levels of fidgeting, poor reciprocity of smiling behavior, more self-talk, and more frequent reassurance seeking and giving characterized interactions between SA and NSA participants. Both SA participants and their NSA partners rated their interactions as being less smooth and coordinated than did participants in NSA-NSA dyads. In addition, SA participants’ reassurance seeking and self-talk correlated negatively with partner positive affect and perceptions of interaction quality. The authors discuss self-focused attention and the interpersonal consequences of social anxiety. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)

Source: “Interpersonal Consequences of Social Anxiety” from Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Looks like the symptom perpetuates the disease in this case. Relax and you’ll actually have fewer reasons to be anxious.

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