Social phobia is very common. More than one out of eight people will suffer from social phobia at some point in their lives. Many more people have symptoms of shyness that are not severe enough to be called social phobia. Social phobia is twice as common for women as for men. However, men are more likely to try to find help for the problem. Social phobia usually starts when people are in their early teens, but it can begin much earlier. If people do not get help, the problem can last for years.