Are you just SHY or is it ANTHROPOPHOBIA?

Ever been at a social gathering? Of course yes. Either it is a Family-get-Together or a best friends’ Graduation party, we all have been surrounded with people at sometime or the other. Social gatherings are never a problem for extroverts. Their enthusiasm and being over-excited about everything in life helps them get some friends real soon.

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But what about that one girl or that one boy, who had come to the gathering, but refused to just have a conversation with a stranger? Was he/she an introvert? Or maybe too shy for a gathering? Or maybe more than just being shy, an Anthropophobic?

Anthropophobia is the pathological fear of people or human company. The basic difference between a shy person and a person going through Anthropophobia is that, A shy person is hesitant to speak during a speech, or maybe shy to just simply say a ‘Hello’. But, on the contrary, an anthropophobic individual, Fears people in most of all situations, even if it includes close friends or relatives, perceiving them to be as threatening as a stranger can be.

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The behaviour of an anthropophobic person is sometimes difficult to understand for other individuals, but this behaviour, in most cases, is the result of some bad experiences in the past,or being overanxious due to low self-confidence. They tend to focus more on what people around them will be thinking about them,or what people around them must be noticing about their appearance. Yes, over-thinking only adds more to this situation.

Most of us feel anti-social every now and then, but in the case of an anthropophobic person, socializing at its basic level is also a big deal. They start sweating, try to avoid meetings for as long as possible, increased level of blood pressure, shortness of breath and what not. Communication is the basis of human existence. Therefore, it becomes very important for such people to ask for help and deal with these symptoms.

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One can take up professional CBT and BT therepies, which include modifying thoughts and behaviour. This means, “Why is she looking at me?’’, changed to, ”She is not looking at me at all.” Writing down negative emotions and changing them into positive ones can help. Most of all, the close friends and relatives can help a lot. They should be supportive and encouraging towards anthropophobic individuals. After all, there is no phobia a human mind cannot overcome.

-Namita Lamba

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