One of the most misunderstood, yet most common, personality disorder is the fear of social contact and casual situations. The majority of people often ridicule those that have this condition because they fail to understand that their social isolation is not brought about by choice or arrogance, but rather, is brought about subconsciously.
The most common symptoms of social phobia are: the unwillingness to attend social gatherings that are supposed to be fun, the inability to make and keep friends at a consistent basis, being easily intimidated by peers, preferring to talk to someone over the internet or phone rather than in person, and being a loner most of the time, even in areas where social contact is prevalent such as schools, universities, and the office.
As a teenager, because of my struggles with OCD, the thought of me being different always gave me a slight sense of social anxiety. I was able to get rid of it though, and I have my friends to thank for that. I will now share to you my most important steps that I took to recovery:
1. Recognize and cherish your "real" friends - Given the condition, these may be very few. But the key here is to distinguish between real friends and fake friends. This is important because, as I see it, fake friends are the biggest reason why people develop social anxiety in the first place. Our idea of a social interaction is always shaped by the people around us, so if we surround ourselves with fake companions that only want to get something from us, we will develop a subconscious fear of other people. Conversely, if we keep surrounding ourselves with real friends who appreciate and accept who we are, we will create a positive image of other people within us. And this positive image is our strongest tool to fight social phobia. Remember that for every 5 fakes, there is only one real friend, so if you have one, cherish them dearly.
2. Be willing to share your thoughts with other people - As soon as you find your group of genuine friends, do not be afraid to share your inner thoughts with them. This forms a strong bond that will improve your general idea of what a friend is.
3. Always go into social events with a real friend - Social anxiety is often brought about by negative experiences when we attended a social event in the past. They may have been left alone in a party, or they may have been picked on in a reunion, or countless other scenarios. And in order to counteract this, you need to have a corresponding positive experience. The best way to do this is to attend a social event with real friends that you have bonded with. This will almost assure you a good time since real friends never leave your side, and will always make an effort to make sure that both of you are having the best time possible.
4. Cut off toxic people - In relation to number 1, you should make a conscious effort to cut off people in your life that do you no good. Forget all the users, bullies, narcissists and trolls in your life, do not attempt to fix them! Instead, cut them off, they do nothing but ruin your general image of what a person should be. And don't feel bad about it either, toxic people only keep you in their lives because they can get something from you, once you are unwilling to give, they will cut you off without hesitation themselves.