There are many people who are naturally more inclined to stay at home rather than go out or prefer quiet solitude to a crowded party. Introverts need lots of time alone to recharge and often feel overstimulated around strangers. But how can you tell the difference between someone who is introverted and a person who avoids parties and strangers out of social anxiety?
While introverts and socially anxious people may share similar traits at times, introverts don’t necessarily have any mental health problems that need to be addressed. Introversion is a personality trait that children are born with because they are naturally more sensitive. Children who grow up introverted often prefer to have only a few close friends and sometimes enjoy playing alone because they are more interested in their own inner world.
A person who is socially anxious has more intense fears rather than natural inclinations toward alone time. They fear being socially humiliated and will negatively critique their interactions with others. They feel self-conscious about the possibility of being judged and are preoccupied by what other people think.
People who have social anxiety disorder can actually be introverts or extroverts but simply deal with social fears that can be debilitating. Their issues are not necessarily related to personality but are due to an underlying anxiety problem that may be connected to genetic or environmental factors. Social anxiety can make it difficult for an individual to function in their daily life and handles interactions with coworkers and friends.
If you are not sure whether you have social anxiety disorder or are simply an introvert it might be helpful to see a psychologist who can give you a diagnosis. If you are struggling with anxiety then you should seek treatment as soon as possible.