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Mood and Anxiety

Social Anxiety: What to Look For

Learn about the thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and physical symptoms associated with social anxiety. These symptoms are ones that are seen early on.

Find out more below to learn more about the symptoms of social anxiety.



  • worry what others think of you, that you'll say something wrong, or that others will laugh at you
  • think others will notice that you’re nervous, sweating, or blushing
  • replay conversations or social experiences in your mind, thinking what you should have said or done differently
  • worry about social events
  • believe that others think you’re boring and uninteresting


  • feel very stressed if others are watching you, especially people you don’t know
  • want to make more friends or socialize more, but you are afraid
  • feel distressed when you’re the centre of attention
  • have an unexpected rush of intense fear

Physical Signs

  • blush
  • sweat a lot
  • shake or tremble
  • have a dry throat, upset stomach, or nausea
  • feel faint or short of breath
  • feel your heart racing or beating too fast
  • have a problem speaking (shaky voice or stammering)


  • trying not to be noticed e.g., stay quiet, hide, sit alone, avoiding unfamiliar social situations
  • a few drinks to calm your nerves before a social event
  • “freeze” when you talk with someone you don’t know
  • don’t make eye contact with others
  • have problems speaking in public (reading out load, answering questions)

Symptoms can range:

  • from mild to really bad
  • in how long they’ve been going on
  • in how much they affect your everyday life

Not everyone has the same symptoms or has them at the same level. Knowing what symptoms to watch for and getting help can prevent problems from getting worse.

Worried about a friend?

Friends are often the ones to notice changes. To learn how to support a friend, see Helping Others: For Friends.

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