The defining feature of social anxiety is a persistent fear of negative evaluation from others in social (i.e., conversations, parties, meeting new people) or performance (i.e., giving a speech, job interviews) situations. Socially anxious people often worry that they will appear anxious or awkward in social situations and also anticipate that others will perceive them negatively.

These worries about social situations typically lead to avoidance of at least some social situations and these avoidance behaviors can significantly interfere with things like making friends, dating, and developing relationships with others. Worries about public speaking and talking in front of others can also negatively impact school and work performance.