Social phobia is the fear of one or more social situations. Commonly feared situations include public speaking, meeting new people, being at parties, asking for dates, eating in public, using public restrooms, speaking to people in authority, and disagreeing with others.
People with social phobia are afraid they will act in ways that will make other people think badly of them. They often fear that others will see some sign of anxiety, such as blushing, trembling, or sweating. People with social phobia usually try to stay away from the situations that make them anxious. When they cannot, they tend to feel very anxious or embarrassed. Sometimes they may have panic attacks. Social phobia is a severe, disabling form of shyness and can cause problems in people’s lives. Sometimes the problems are minor, such as not being able to speak up in class. Sometimes, however, the problems can be very serious. People with severe social phobia often have few friends, feel lonely, and have trouble reaching their goals in school or at work.