Are you fighting with excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations? No matter how painfully shy you may be, you can still maintain your friendships.

People with social anxiety disorder think that their friendships are worse, but their friends do not see it the same way, says a new study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

Much more than simple shyness, social anxiety disorder is recognized as a psychiatric condition which involves intense fear of certain social situations like meeting new people, passing up social invitations or work opportunities, dreading rejection, getting embarrassed easily or otherwise being singled out as a failure. These social situations may be so frightening that you get anxious just thinking about them or go to great lengths to avoid them.

People facing this problem may find it difficult to make new friends, but their friends do not share this view. They feel more like ‘something different, but not worse,’ adds study co-author Thomas Rodebaugh, associate professor at the Washington University, St Louis in the US.

Overcoming this social phobia sure is difficult but no matter how bad the butterflies are, your friends can always help you—after all that’s what friends are supposed to be!

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