Social anxiety (sometime called social phobia) is one of the most common forms of anxiety. Most of us feel anxious in circumstances like speaking in public, going to a party where we don't know many people, attending a job interview or on a first date. However, sometimes this anxiety is out of proportion to the situation.
The most common symptoms are fear of embarrassment, humiliation or being judged. Typically sufferers will worrry they will say or do something that will cause others to see them as being weak, crazy or stupid. They can also be afraid of being lost for words, blushing, sweating, or just being watched. When severe, it may be accompanied by panic attacks.
Social anxiety often begins in childhood or adolescence, particularly with children who are already shy. If it is interfering with work, social activities, relationships or is just very distressing, it is worth seeking treatment. A trained professional will help you understand, manage and reduce the symptoms so you can get on with participating and enjoying life again.