Social Anxiety vs. Performance Anxiety

Lynne Taetzsch Health Guide
  • I think it’s often hard to separate social anxiety from performance anxiety.  After all, isn’t the reason we don’t want to be in a room with a bunch of strangers the fact that we aren’t sure how to act or what to say to them?  If we didn’t have to worry about our performance, what would be the big deal?  

    Next week I’m giving a surprise birthday party for my daughter at our house, and the anxiety I’m feeling about that is strictly performance.  After all, I’ll be busy hosting and not have to worry about making small talk to anyone.  The guests will have to deal with that problem.  
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    Meanwhile, I can worry all week about the food and drink I’m going to serve, and getting the house ready.  I always obsess over those things and always over-prepare.  I like to err on the side of having too much food than to run out.  That means I always over-stuff my guests.  

    I also over-manage every event I host, but this one will be large enough so that I won’t be able to fuss over everyone having what they need to eat and drink at all times, or to panic over a lull in the conversation.  We are going to use my studio space as well as the living and dining rooms for the party, so there’ll be too much going on in too many places for me to dictate events.  

    When my daughter throws a party, she is so casual about it.  I’m always like, “Don’t you think we should start lunch now or cut the cake now,” and she’s like, “Oh, if you want to.” She seems perfectly content to have no time-table and to let things unfold “naturally.”  This is way beyond my comprehension.  I’ve never been “natural” at a social event in my life.  

    Well, it’s time to make my plan and to-do list and get started.  The party is in one week.  I’ll give you an update next time.
Published On: April 14, 2008