Do you find that you will do almost anything to avoid interpersonal contact? Does the thought of having to speak to another whether an acquaintance, friend or stranger send you into a panic? Perhaps you have been described as shy but this intense desire to avoid talking or being around people can be much more than that. You may suffer from an anxiety disorder termed Social Anxiety Disorder. It can be a very difficult disorder to experience since the fear is social interaction which is hard to avoid in daily life. Often times people fear sounding stupid, or having awkward silence in conversation. The good news is there are things you can do to lessen your fears. It can be helpful to work on questioning your fearful thoughts and working to realize they are often irrational. It can be beneficial to ask yourself a series of questions such as has this person given me any evidence to suggest they are judging me negatively? It can be challenging to question your automatic thought and replace it with a healthier, more realistic one because the automatic thought can be very powerful and you may have been thinking that way for some time. It is also important that you learn to be kinder to yourself. As you develop a more positive self definition, you may no longer believe that others are thinking so negatively of you. With patience and reinforcement people can learn to feel less intimidated by social situations and may even be able to enter into them without feeling so anxious.