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Social anxiety (social phobia) means that a person gets anxious when he or she is at the center of other people's attention. There is an intense fear of being watched and judged, due to the perceived risk of humiliation and embarrassment.
Social anxiety often starts during school or at puberty when certain social demands increase, but already in the sandbox some children are more timid than normal towards strangers.
Social anxiety is not the same as just being shy, nervous before a speech or having stage fright. People suffering from social anxiety experience these types of feelings more often and in extreme ways, in most cases, the feeling is intense and unbearable.
Just thinking about social situations may be so frightening and filled with anxiety, that you often will go to any lengths to avoid them.