Social Anxiety Fear Hierarchy

I wanted to share something with my blog that I am working on with my therapist on my social anxiety— a social anxiety fear hierarchy. The point is to first look at the fears related to my social anxiety so that we can use exposure therapy to figure out the meaning behind these fears. For this list, I am focusing on crowds and meeting new people that cause my social anxiety to soar when I explore outside the confines of my house. The hierarchy is from lest fear to highest fear.

Hierarchy of Anxiety Fears of Meeting New People

  1. Being in one on one conversation with a friend at a coffee shop.
  2. Taking part in a one on one conversation with a casual acquaintance.
  3. Engaging in a conversation with three family members about my illness.
  4. Taking part in a one on one conversation with an unknown person in-person.
  5. Having to join a conversation with group strangers at a coffee shop.
  6. Meeting a group of people from school either online or in person.

Hierarchy of Anxiety Fears in Crowds

  1. Being in the store with a long list of things to buy, and my anxiety rising to the point that I have to leave the store.
  2. Waiting in a long line at the checkout counter at the store and having to leave.
  3. Being in a crowded coffee shop trying to stay focused on my work.
  4. Being in a crowded coffee shop trying to keep my anxiety in check in a sea of conversations all around me.
  5. Having a panic attack in the middle of a busy store surrounded by people.
  6. Having a panic attack in the middle of a crowded place like a theater, store, or any place that large crowds gather.

This list will probably adjust over the next few weeks, and I will be writing about what my therapist and I work on in coming weeks. I am exited and a little scared at facing my social anxiety. My social anxiety has been the one thing that I feel is out of control lately.

James Edgar Skye

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoStefan Cosma


20 Replies to “Social Anxiety Fear Hierarchy”

  1. Hang in there, James. I have also recently discovered myself, with the help of my therapist, that I have social anxiety. I previously believed to have mostly OCD. Looking forward to seeing your progression 😀

    1. Thanks Evana. My therapist has saved my life when it comes to my social anxiety. She is always helping coming up with good ideas. It’s been a struggle this week and it is why I wrote this post.

      1. It’s great that she’s helping you find solutions 😀 And of course writing sometimes seems to be the biggest healer of them all. This week hasn’t been easy for me either. But through our struggles we learn and we become stronger 😀 And we probably wouldn’t be driven to write either if we didn’t have them. So always stay positive 😀

  2. This is awesome, and by awesome I don’t mean ‘the why’ of it … most of these things I had to work out by myself and through trial and era (still doing) because of the lack of support this country supplies people like me and the disregard (generally) we hold for those with anxiety (either as a symptom or as an issue on its own).
    It’s nice for someone like me to see a list like these and can relate to all of points completely. I guess its nice to know I’m not alone. These are the nitty gritty things that plague the every parts of our lives I guess … I get tired of being told to ‘just breath and relax’ when there is so much more to it than that.

    Look forward to hearing / seeing how you go.

    Love and light to you xo

    1. Just breathing and relaxing is working for me so my therapist and I had to adjust. I am struggling so much with my social anxiety that we needed to tackle the roots. Thank you. It makes me feel not so alone for someone to connect to this.

      1. Completely connect, and I’m on the side lines cheering you on, in a low-key anxiety ridden kind of way lol.

  3. Aside from social anxiety, I also have agoraphobia, which makes it extremely difficult to leave my house. The thought process and mental preparedness that goes into a simple outing to my therapist is very difficult. Great post!

    1. I am going to be working on exposure therapy over the next few months. I am kinda worried about it. I am doing great with my anxiety again. So with these little steps I’m hopeful. Thank you for sharing and for reading my blog.

      1. Hope is all we have! You are doing what most can’t – continue to inspire others through your writing! 😊🙏🏽

  4. Nice post James, I look forward to reading more of this it may help me out with my anxiety problem. ❤️✌️


  5. I like that you’ve got them all written down … I do think it helps. Somehow seems to ease the mind. Keep us posted on how it works out … very best of luck! Katie

  6. Good luck James! You’ve got this! Thank you for sharing these details. I’m sure the more you are able to face these anxieties and understand them the stronger you’ll get! I hope you’ll be able to work through them all effectively and find more peace. We’re rooting for you!

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