Another kind of specific social anxiety entails covering up for your phobia or shyness…
It can be the case that people who experience social phobia feel the need to compensate for their shyness and phobia.
Many of us might take path of being extroverts and “act” to be outgoing, while being extremely frightened and anxious inwardly.
In this case there is a fear in revealing our timid, shy selves to the world because that would make us appear to be weak.
A Specific social anxiety: How does fear of shyness affect those who are socially anxious
Interesting enough, this kind of behavior has strong semblance to the realm of “acting”. It is no wonder that some people, like me, have also dealt with social phobia by immersing themselves in acting.
This reliance on “acting” can be means to compensate for otherwise debilitating effects of social phobia. Of course, different people take on “acting” in different degrees, depending on their external situations.
People may take on the “roles” that their professions require, performing the tasks that are part of their professional duties.
For example, a doctor may play the role of a doctor who can treat the patients with care and responsibility. A receptionist may play the role of the receptionist who is able to handle the work of a busy office.
However, deep inside they could equally be feeling the symptoms, the nervousness, and anxiety associated with social phobics.
In other words, people can act the roles and even hide behind these roles while still feeling frightened and anxious of social situations.
In some cases, playing out these roles helps people in distancing themselves from self-conscious and self-critical thoughts.
However, their social phobia can still resurface when they are no longer “playing their part”. For example, symptoms of social phobia become apparent when they come back home, where they no longer are in their professional part.
People with this kind of specific social phobia often say that they are just able to “say the right thing” and “play the life of the party”. Taking on these roles allows them to be social and functional. However, deep-inside they still experience near crippling and aching anxiety.
This kind of making up for lack of emotional stability is not good for the most part because it can only work in certain situations. If one is not free in their body, they can get stuck playing the same role or performing the same job.
For example, they might become so comfortable in one “act” that they are afraid to move up the professional ladder for fear of not being able to perform the next role.
This role-taking allows people with social phobia with some kind of stability and structure, so they are able to turn their attention away from signs and symptoms of anxiety and focus on their performance.
The drawback to such compensation is that it can work well in the short term but it could also prevent the person from developing better ways of dealing and overcoming their social phobia.