That freeze and avoid state. The perma smile sets in on your face. You’re physically there, sitting off to the side but not present. And you can’t find anything worthwhile to say.
If some or all of those are familiar you’re dealing with social anxiety. An ingrained, habitual response originally meant to keep you out of danger.
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How belief patterns feed into social anxiety
This diagram perfectly illustrates how your belief patterns feed into your social anxiety, creating a self-fulfilling cycle:
As you can see, before we enter a social situation we already have a preconceived belief of what’s going to happen and how that person is going to perceive us.