People who are really friendly but get anxious in social settings often display these 10 subtle behaviors

You know that person who is all smiles and laughter but suddenly goes quiet at a party?

They’re the ones we call “shy social butterflies.”

Social anxiety doesn’t always show up as a panic attack. Sometimes, it’s a lot more subtle, and you’d have to look closely to notice it.

Whether you’re trying to figure yourself out or want to understand someone close to you better, this list might help.

So, get comfy and read on. You might discover something surprising!

1) They often need reassurance

Ever noticed how some people constantly ask if they’re doing something right or if they’ve said something wrong?

This could be a sign of social anxiety. Friendly people with social anxiety often second-guess themselves in social situations. They might be worried about upsetting someone or doing something embarrassing.

2) They’re great listeners

Shy social butterflies might not be the ones dominating the conversation, but they’re often the ones really tuning in.

They may feel more comfortable listening than speaking, especially in larger groups. So, they tend to become really good listeners. This makes them great friends, as they’re always there to lend an ear when you need it. 

3) They prefer one-on-one conversations

I’ve always found myself more at ease in one-on-one conversations compared to group settings.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the company of multiple friends at once, it’s just that the dynamics of group conversations can be a bit overwhelming for me. I often worry about talking over someone, not being heard, or accidentally saying something inappropriate.

In one-on-one conversations, I feel like there’s more space and time for me to express myself, and the chances of miscommunication are much less.

4) They’re often very empathetic

Did you know that research shows a link between social anxiety and heightened empathy? That’s right, those with social anxiety are often highly in tune with the feelings of others. This is because they tend to be more aware of social cues and signals, as they’re often anxious about their own behavior.

As a result, they can pick up on what others are feeling quite easily. So, if you have a friend who seems to always understand your feelings, they could be a shy social butterfly.

5) They need time to recharge

We all have that friend who’s always there when we need them.

They’re great at making us feel better and are always ready to lend a shoulder to cry on. But sometimes, these friends need a little time to themselves too. Social situations, no matter how enjoyable, can be draining for them.

It’s not that they don’t love being around their friends and family, but sometimes, they just need a moment to recharge their batteries. 

6) They tend to overthink

overthinking never happy in relationship People who are really friendly but get anxious in social settings often display these 10 subtle behaviors

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve replayed a conversation in my head, analyzing every word I said, every reaction I got.

Overthinking is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. It’s a common trait among those of us who are friendly but also get anxious in social settings. We worry about whether we said the right thing, if we offended someone, or if we could’ve handled a situation better. 

7) They often say ‘sorry’

“Sorry” – it’s a word that falls from their lips way more often than it should. They say sorry for things that aren’t their fault, for things they have no control over, and sometimes, for just existing.

Apologizing excessively is a way for them to cope with the anxiety that they feel in social situations. It’s their safety net, their way of preventing any potential conflict or misunderstanding. So, if you notice someone always saying sorry, even when they don’t need to, understand that it’s their way of navigating the social world while managing their anxiety.

8) They avoid the spotlight

Here’s a fun fact: many socially anxious individuals are actually quite talented! They could be gifted musicians, eloquent speakers, or creative artists. However, their anxiety often prevents them from showcasing these talents in public.

They prefer to avoid the limelight, as being the center of attention can trigger their anxiety. So, if you notice that someone is holding back despite possessing remarkable skills or talents, they could be dealing with social anxiety. And who knows? With a little encouragement and support, they might just surprise you with what they can do!

9) They plan their exit strategy

I remember attending social events and always knowing where the nearest exit was.

Not that I didn’t enjoy myself, but having an escape plan in place was comforting. It was like a safety blanket, knowing I had a way out if things got too overwhelming. If you or someone you know often plans exit strategies at social gatherings, it could be a sign of social anxiety. 

10) They feel exhausted after socializing

Ever feel like you’ve run a marathon, but all you did was hang out with friends?

That’s how it feels for us shy social butterflies. Socializing, as fun as it can be, also requires a lot of energy from us. We’re constantly managing our anxiety, trying to appear ‘normal’, and overthinking our actions. By the end of a social event, we’re not just physically tired, but mentally and emotionally drained too

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang

Mia Zhang blends Eastern and Western perspectives in her approach to self-improvement. Her writing explores the intersection of cultural identity and personal growth. Mia encourages readers to embrace their unique backgrounds as a source of strength and inspiration in their life journeys.

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