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This may have already been addressed on the forum but do any of you have a social phobia? I'd like to here some stories of your fears and possibly some tales of redemption if there are any out there.
 

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When I was in high school, I had the symptoms of Avoidant Personality Disorder, but was only 15 and the diagnosis requires you to be 18, so I may not have had the disorder itself. At any rate, it sounds like a very INFP disorder to have:

People with AvPD are preoccupied with their own shortcomings and form relationships with others only if they believe they will not be rejected. Loss and rejection are so painful that these individuals will choose to be lonely rather than risk trying to connect with others.
Hypersensitivity to criticism or rejection
Self-imposed social isolation
Extreme shyness or social anxiety in social situations, though feels a strong desire for close relationships[3]
Avoids physical contact because it has been associated with an unpleasant or painful stimulus
Avoids interpersonal relationships
Feelings of inadequacy
Severe low self-esteem
Self-loathing
Mistrust of others
Emotional distancing related to intimacy
Highly self-conscious
Self-critical about their problems relating to others
Problems in occupational functioning
Lonely self-perception
Feeling inferior to others
In some more extreme cases-- Agoraphobia
Utilizes fantasy as a form of escapism and to interrupt painful thoughts[4]
That was from Wikipedia.

When people I didn't know would talk to me, I would be so terrified of saying something stupid that I'd shake my head and stare at them until they realized I wasn't going to respond. My throat would close up, I'd cry a lot in the bathroom, etc. I desperately wanted to be able to talk to people, but I was too afraid.

Thankfully, senior year I got a customer service job. I wanted to be able to hold a normal conversation so badly that I decided I would force myself to do it all the time until it became less terrifying. And guess what - it worked! I still keep a customer service job, and it's still difficult and draining, but I cannot believe the cringing, lonely person back then was me. I'm one of the friendliest people I know now, always having conversations with people in elevators, at the vending machines, etc, without feeling more than a tiny bit self-conscious. So it is possible to get over extreme fears like this and come out a much more confident and happy person.

EDIT: Wanted to add that another thing that helped a lot was guided meditation. I downloaded a "self confidence guided imagery" MP3 and listened to it every night no matter how tired I was. It relaxed you, and then had you picture yourself as a confident person, acting as a confident person would act, etc. Really helped break down the negative perceptions I had of myself.
 

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When I was in high school, I was so afraid of other people that I had to sit in the car for a few minutes every morning mentally preparing myself to walk through the front door. Then again, the kids I went to school with were mostly mean people. In college, I ended up at the opposite extreme, because my group of friends accepted me completely. I was the annoying one who needed constant social stimulation. That was an unnatural kind of behavior for me, an effect of the Paxil. They gave me drugs to make me an extrovert, and I fell for it. Anyhow, I do not recommend drugs. Not cool. Not cool at all. Nope.
 

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My ex was never too scared to say something to the extent that he would stay in his car or anything. In fact, when he was approached, he would be able to say a couple of words. But, it wasn't too easy to get him comfortable. But once he was comfortable with you, he definitely turned into an ENFP, he was a totally different person. I'm not saying that you turn into an ENFP when you socialize, I'm just saying thats how he was. :p
 

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I've never been diagnosed with one, but all through high school I can remember two times that I ever raised my hand in class because I was always so scared of people looking at me. If everyone looked at me, I would freeze up and say very stupid things. I rarely ring people because I'm so "scared" of the phone, and I used to skip PE classes, and class parties in high school because I hate large gatherings of people. I also get panic attacks when I'm in a crowded restaurant or at a party/ dinner dance.

Thankfully, senior year I got a customer service job. I wanted to be able to hold a normal conversation so badly that I decided I would force myself to do it all the time until it became less terrifying. And guess what - it worked! I still keep a customer service job, and it's still difficult and draining, but I cannot believe the cringing, lonely person back then was me. I'm one of the friendliest people I know now, always having conversations with people in elevators, at the vending machines, etc, without feeling more than a tiny bit self-conscious. So it is possible to get over extreme fears like this and come out a much more confident and happy person.
That's what I did too =D All my friends think I'm mad because I work at the KFC drive through and absolutely love it because it's such a challenge for me (And I get to smile all day long! Awesome!). I also go to an unofficial daily meeting place for people with large dogs at the local oval where we just chat and relax (And watch the dogs play). Its helped me a huge amount. I'm still anxious in social situations, and I still get panic attacks, but the last dinner dance I went to, I actually had a good time which is a huge step for me. So =)
 

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I had Avoidant Personality Disorder until my early 20's. Hardly spoke to anyone in 12 years of public school & got scolded for being an embarrassing "freak" by my parents. Today, the only leftover quirks are that I still can't sing or dance in front of anyone. It's way too personal. I'd rather give a speech in front of a million people on TV given the choice.
 

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I've never actually been diagnosed with anything but I've always been anxious and uncomfortable in large groups. All I can think about is finding somebody I know. If I find that person I'm ok...until they leave to talk to somebody else and I'm left standing there on my own. Then anxiety kicks in and I usually head for the bathroom or anywhere but stuck in that room full of people. Then the countdown begins to the time that I can leave. It's pure survival mode.... Ugh, I hate being like that. The anxiety building up to the event is even worse. I usually try to find a reason or excuse to avoid the gathering in the first place.

I also rarely raise my hand in a group of people. And I loathe the phone.
 

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I've never been diagnosed with one, but all through high school I can remember two times that I ever raised my hand in class because I was always so scared of people looking at me. If everyone looked at me, I would freeze up and say very stupid things. I rarely ring people because I'm so "scared" of the phone, and I used to skip PE classes, and class parties in high school because I hate large gatherings of people. I also get panic attacks when I'm in a crowded restaurant or at a party/ dinner dance.
Oh, I have the same experience as you! Crowded restaurants or loud parties or a classroom with mean classmates into it ... Nothing for me.

But I think it is not a social phobia, it's just my introvertness - which can turn into something like a social phobia when I am under stress..
 

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That's what I did too =D All my friends think I'm mad because I work at the KFC drive through and absolutely love it because it's such a challenge for me (And I get to smile all day long! Awesome!). I also go to an unofficial daily meeting place for people with large dogs at the local oval where we just chat and relax (And watch the dogs play). Its helped me a huge amount. I'm still anxious in social situations, and I still get panic attacks, but the last dinner dance I went to, I actually had a good time which is a huge step for me. So =)

Yeah, same here (Taco Bell Drive through). It was soooo draining, i have literally never talked so much in my entire life. When i first started i was completely terrified, as i am in any social situation. On another note, as a kid i couldn't call people on the phone, i even refused to call the fire department when our dryer caught on fire when i was little. Something about not seeing a person when you talk to them... just scared the shit out of me:laughing:. But yea forcing myself into customer support roles has helped alot over the years.
 

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Until this year I was unable to talk to people without feeling nauseous afterwards. Really hard to befriend people when you're throwing up...

A few months ago, I had the the luck of befriending an ENFP who MADE me become their friend. She forces me into uncomfortable social situations (sometimes for my own benefit, sometimes for her own enjoyment).

Another thing that's helped me: Love
It's surprising how little my fears matter when I really want to talk to someone.
 

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I think we have the phobia because we know how the world could be. We see perfection in our minds but never see it in real life. Plus we are so sensitive to everything. People can interact normally and I feel hurt. It is a cruel world out there and we know it. I am not surprised in the least that we have social phobias. I think that is normal and healthy for our type.
 

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I think we have the phobia because we know how the world could be. We see perfection in our minds but never see it in real life. Plus we are so sensitive to everything. People can interact normally and I feel hurt. It is a cruel world out there and we know it. I am not surprised in the least that we have social phobias. I think that is normal and healthy for our type.
I don't think it's healthy for anyone to have a social phobia - it's debilitating and gets in the way of living life the way you'd like to. I think it's more common in people than we might suppose it is, and I don't think it's something to feel guilty about having, but I can't see a social phobia being healthy for anybody.

I'd also be careful about trying to rationalize our emotions, because we don't always come to sound conclusions. The world is however cruel we want to believe it is. And a phobia by definition is "irrational." There is nothing to worry about unless we give ourselves something to worry about. We can learn how to build our self confidence, and to not be hurt by external stimuli, or we can try to justify our fears and keep feeling hurt and afraid because we don't want to be the problem.

Don't mean to jump on you, it's just that I used to think that way, and my mother still thinks that way, and it's caused a lot of problems for both of us.
 

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I've never actually been diagnosed with anything but I've always been anxious and uncomfortable in large groups. All I can think about is finding somebody I know. If I find that person I'm ok...until they leave to talk to somebody else and I'm left standing there on my own. Then anxiety kicks in and I usually head for the bathroom or anywhere but stuck in that room full of people. Then the countdown begins to the time that I can leave. It's pure survival mode.... Ugh, I hate being like that. The anxiety building up to the event is even worse. I usually try to find a reason or excuse to avoid the gathering in the first place.

I also rarely raise my hand in a group of people. And I loathe the phone.
I have this same problem, I'm always looking for someone I know. I leave if there is no one I know there but for the most part I wont even go in the first place unless a friend goes with me. I'm a bit different tho in the aspect that I am a talker, once I feel comfortable around someone. I come off as shy but now I know what's really going on, I'm infp. My friends say I have a 'sign on my back' that says 'tell me your troubles' . Everyone, even people who are not close to me tell me their deep down stuff. I get exhausted by it. I never give advice cuz I am not good at that, I offer my understanding... and they seem to appreciate that. I never tell them my stuff... and for the most part everyone thinks I am well adjusted and happy. I have more problems than they know... I guess I hide pretty well. I have 3 people who really know me, the REAL me and they are very supportive.

I loathe the phone also. I have found that I love the internet tho and it's alot easier for me to communicate there.

I dont feel that I have a phobia, just cautious and avoidant.
 

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I have this same problem, I'm always looking for someone I know. I leave if there is no one I know there but for the most part I wont even go in the first place unless a friend goes with me. I'm a bit different tho in the aspect that I am a talker, once I feel comfortable around someone. I come off as shy but now I know what's really going on, I'm infp. My friends say I have a 'sign on my back' that says 'tell me your troubles' . Everyone, even people who are not close to me tell me their deep down stuff. I get exhausted by it. I never give advice cuz I am not good at that, I offer my understanding... and they seem to appreciate that. I never tell them my stuff... and for the most part everyone thinks I am well adjusted and happy. I have more problems than they know... I guess I hide pretty well. I have 3 people who really know me, the REAL me and they are very supportive.

I loathe the phone also. I have found that I love the internet tho and it's alot easier for me to communicate there.

I dont feel that I have a phobia, just cautious and avoidant.
I totally relate. When I'm talking to somebody I know I am very open and chatty. It's funny because I was going to school last year and this lady in class decided she wanted to be my friend. I was reserved at first but very friendly to her since she always initiated conversation and seemed sincere. We became school buddies pretty quickly and would chat and talk everyday. One day we got into a discussion about personalities and I was telling her about how introverted I am. She was shocked and said she would've never figured I was an introvert because I was so friendly. I thought that was interesting... I guess for me whether or not I'm open and talkative is determined on a person by person basis. I will pretty much never initiate the conversation though.

And I am the person that my friends run to when they need a shoulder to cry on too. I don't normally have a lot of advice to give, I just listen and try to be there for them. I know way more deep dark secrets than I am sometimes comfortable with. I will also take them to the grave and not gossip...and my friends trust me. Maybe that's why they're so comfortable with me...I don't know. I have 3 close friends and out of those only 1 really truly knows the real me. The good, the bad and the ugly. And that's because we've known each other since we were 13...20 years.

I have a very active social life on the Internet though. I have met a lot of friends through a fan site that I help moderate for my favorite band. I've become closer to some of these people I've known for years on the site than people I actually know in my real life.
 
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I work a lot outdoors in remote places on people development programmes. Sometimes I can go months without being in the city. When I do, I am reminded of what I work in the outdoors. I wouldnt say it is a phobic response - an irrational fear - but yes, I see social decay, anger, violence, frustration and it upsets me greatly.
 

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I always feel a bit aprehensive when adressing a person I dont know, since I'm going into business I know that I have to get over my fears, I've got to work on my self-esteem it's rather low and I'm not sure how to bring it up. I'm glad to know that talking to people on the phone is scary to others, I though I was the only one. And the thing about having atleast one person to talk to in crowd, I feel lost without a friend who knows me.
 
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