Naomi Osaka, a celebrated tennis player, rose to prominence at a young age with her dazzling performance. Aside from her game, she is known for her openness in advocating for mental health concerns using her platform. In May 2021, Osaka’s revelation about living with social anxiety took centre stage. The discussion that ensued among people highlights the misinformation surrounding social anxiety. “Don’t people with social anxiety avoid the spotlight”? – is a question that was put to Osaka by many people.

Social Anxiety Disorder is a recognized diagnosable disorder under the DSM-V. In essence, the fear of rejection, judgment, and negative evaluation in social situations is at the core of the problem. To some degree, each one of us possesses this fear, but it subsides once we encounter the situation. For instance, it is only natural to have qualms before a presentation, attending a social gathering, or interacting with a stranger. The problem arises when the fear persists, and we resort to avoidance behaviour. And together, the two become a hindrance in our path to leading a fulfilling life, a life we want to live. 

Although symptoms of social anxiety are uncomfortable, social anxiety ironically protects us from potential unfavourable rejection, which is a universally painful feeling. Not all experiences with social anxiety develop into a disorder.

The prevalence rate of Social Anxiety Disorder has considerably risen, accounting for 4% of the approximately 300 million people present worldwide who will potentially have a diagnosable social anxiety disorder at some point in their lifetime. Despite its wide prevalence, social anxiety is highly misdiagnosed and often overlooked on account of myths about it.

Mentioned below are some myths:

(1) People with social anxiety prefer being alone- Like any one of us, being liked and establishing fulfilling social relations is a need also professed by people with social anxiety. They only face difficulty attaining it. Some social interactions are comfortable for them, while some are anxiety-provoking.

(2) Social anxiety only occurs in performance evaluation situations- One can feel socially anxious in either of the three social settings (a)social interaction (communicating with colleagues at a workplace), (b)being observed while drinking or eating, and (c)performing in front of a crowd 

It is also possible that one might feel comfortable performing in front of a crowd but struggles with one-on-one social interaction. 

Importance of Professional Counseling: A friend or family member may listen to you, but they aren’t professionally, technically qualified or experienced to offer you professional advice. If you wish you can contact us at MindTribe to receive help from our team of expert psychologists.


MindTribe Founder Dr. Prerna Kohli, India’s eminent psychologist, established the company to leverage the strength of the online to make counseling affordable and accessible to everyone. MindTribe provides counseling, workshops, support groups, forums, and eLearning.

About the Author.

Jasnoor Marwah is a psychologist at You can learn more about her by clicking here

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of, the Founders, or management team.

Acknowledgement: All images used are open source and from Unsplash.


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