My fiancé refuses to believe this – meaning he either is blinded by love for me or I hide it well through a complicated set of compensation and protective measures. Probably the former.
I’ve never been too nervous about public speaking or giving presentations. However, situations that involve unscripted interaction with actual humans (i.e., 89% of daily life) fill me with a anything from mild fear to abject terror.
It’s often difficult to explain exactly HOW scary social situations can be to those of you who gleefully walk up to strangers and begin chatting like old friends.
However, I’ve found that most people can empathize with being afraid of things that present actual, physical threats.
Therefore, to bridge the communication gap, I have created some helpful side-by-side scenarios that compare social situations with physical threats that would objectively inspire the same level of fear in any reasonable person.
To make it both EVEN CLEARER and EVEN MORE COMPLEX, I’ve also tacked on a threat-based, color-coded system, adapted from the Department of Homeland Security scheme that we ignore every day. This will help you understand the protective measures a social phobic like myself will often apply.
Time for the scenarios:
Fine. Not so bad. Now we begin to get wary ...
Feel the heightened sense of fear ...
Raw terror ...
Based on recent experience, I would place this nearly at the top of the scale:
Sometimes, it's wisest just to give up: