Extreme or marked fear of social or performance situations in which embarrassment or being judged by people is the key factor. This leads to avoidance, or very high levels of anxiety if the situation is inescapable (enforced or obligatory).
Social phobias of one category or another are very widespread with an estimated prevalence of between 3% and 13% of the population, most of whom do not seek help and in accommodating their problem forego many opportunities to pursue their ambitions.
There may be several factors involved such as cultural and religious norms and beliefs, gender, upbringing and biological make up.
Social interactions may occur between just two people or very many. The underlying issue is one of perceived or actual scrutiny, leading to fears of negative judgement.
There are very, very many areas of life where Social Phobia is a critical major issue:
Examinations and tests – The degree of anxiety raised interferes with natural ability and thought.
Public Speaking, Stage fright – Speaking in front of others initiates extreme anxiety and prevents/inhibits participation.
Social interactions – talking in meetings or groups or to authority figures, eating or drinking in company, dating, even talking on the ‘phone can be a major problem. The list and variations are almost endless because each person is an individual with an unique background and character