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INTJ psychology

INTJ Social Anxiety – Description, Reasons And Tips To Beat It

By on March 27, 2017

1. INTJs and social anxiety

Do you feel like your brains just freeze if someone tries to make small talk with you? The best you can do is to nod your head or mumble couple of words. You become lightheaded, feel adrenaline rush and start to feel the need to run away.

On these bad days, when you feel socially exhausted, it is really difficult just to get out of bed and bring yourself to leave the house. You rather stay hungry at home than leave your house and go to the grocery store. It seems like a challenge that you cannot accept at the moment.

Even if you can handle big crowds, you still feel weak around people at parties or family gatherings in which you have trouble maintaining conversations. You just stumble through a few awkward encounters before people uncomfortably excuse themselves to find someone else to talk to and you just end up standing around by yourself, which makes you feel even worse.

If these situations look familiar to you,  you may have social anxiety, which is quite common among INTJs.

2. What is social anxiety?

Social anxiety is defined as the persistent anxiety when a person believes that s(he) is observed by others, so (s)he fear to behave in a manner that would cause judgment or humiliation.

This anxiety could be so overwhelming that it could affect person’s social adaptation and make h(im/her) be unable to participate in everyday tasks such as going out, maintaining social life, talking with other people or doing any social activities.

It is important to add that people usually feel little bit anxious while meeting new people or speaking in front of people. However, people who experience social anxiety, tend to be afraid of doing common daily things in front of people and worry weeks before the simple event. Social anxiety can become really depressing and damage self-esteem.

Also, people experience social anxiety differently – some may experience it in certain situations, while others face its difficulties in almost any social situation.

3. The main characteristics of social phobia

3.1 Experiencing somatic symptoms while around other people

Sure, you INTJs, might have experienced unwanted things such as tachycardia, increased blood pressure, sweating (especially hands) which are the most common feelings while having unprepared social interactions or just simply while being at the market. Also, an increased muscular tension which causes trembling is a very prevalent experience. For INTJs,  nothing is worse than not being able to control their body while experiencing social anxiety. It may lead to palpitations and suffocation, the feeling of air hunger which impels to go outdoors in order to get some fresh air.

Imagine being at the large group classroom and everyone not only have to introduce themselves to others but also participate in a group work – every INTJ might experience anxiety attack in that quite common situation. Nothing just seems worse than sweaty hands, pounding heart, feeling nauseous or sick to the stomach. Even though INTJs mostly don’t care about their picture towards others, they are control freaks and it’s really frustrating when you are unable to control your own body. They start criticizing and judging themselves because they can’t do something simple in which others succeed without even trying.

3.2 Feeling strong anxiety while being/talking with other people

Once I remember, I was in a book fair and accidentally met my teacher, which I haven’t seen for ages. She just came to me and simply asked how everything was going in my life so far. Although I wished to maintain a normal conversation,  everything I thought was that she stepped too close to me by invading my personal space. So I ended up by just foolishly stuttering. That social awkwardness leads to unpleasant sweating which made me feel really stupid for not being able to socialize with a really kind person I knew.

For INTJs, that kind of experience makes them feel very anxious and nervous. Blushing and having trouble while speaking deepens social anxiety problem. Even if INTJs might want to share and discuss various topics, which might truly enrich their understanding about specific subject or just have a pleasant conversation, they just can’t do it.

The paradox is that INTJ might actually enjoy public speaking or participating in debates on a subject in which they are interested. And do just fine. But if someone wants to do small talk to them – this is there serious problems start occurring.

3.3 Having a hard time making friends and keeping them

That is the most common problem for INTJs. INTJs don’t often socialize even with their closest friends too much and think that permanent contact is not necessary. But they might do that because of having a social anxiety. In that case, INTJs will have hard time keeping friends because of a tendency to avoid places and situations in which social interactions can occur. People will just think that INTJs don’t want to keep contact with them and get offended for not hanging out. Avoidance and isolation come at very high – loneliness. And the more you avoid people, the stronger your social anxiety gets.

3.4 Feeling really self–conscious all the time

Earlier mentioned problems such as difficulties maintaining social interactions, having somatic symptoms and so on, can really damage person’s self-esteem and s(he) might start feeling worthless. Then social anxiety might convert into a general anxiety disorder, where you always feel stress and can’t escape it by changing the environment.

4. Why social anxiety is common among INTJs?

I believe that it all comes from a mix of our childhood experiences and perfectionism. At our childhood, we don’t go out too much to play with other kids, because they don’t look very interesting to us. It’s because INTJs mature mentally much earlier than others and playing with same age kids just seems too childish and not being able to provide any mental growth opportunities. This is when INTJs start spending time alone (often reading books) while others develop their social skills.

Then, some time later, INTJs start noticing that they are much behind in social areas. And by being perfectionists, INTJs then start trying to rationalize social situations and greatly over-think them. This is why INTJs have really hard time connecting with people – they use conscious mind while others just do it unconsciously.

  • Rafael Arakaki


  • Eleanor Damaschke

    The suggestion that social anxiety (for the INTJ) is caused by a combination of perfectionism, childhood experiences, and desire for control seems to line up with my observations from the outside, but I’m sure each INTJ’s personal experience is different than others. Seeing it from the inside perspective of a control group would be helpful in gathering data on how it manifests and how to combat it.

    • freenewlife8 .

      As an INTJ I find it hard to even consider those might be contributing factors. I think perfectionism is often rooted in the desire to control (control other’s opinion of how well you perform, control everything to avoid the pain of rejection, etc.) Those two factors (perfectionism and desire to control) are usually over-lapping. My anxiety is almost always after a casual social interaction, not before, as I catch the discomfort the person has in relating to me, as a very unusual personality type they rarely relate to. My friends and acquaintances often see me as the person to ask questions of, and use me like google, ha! Thankfully I have a “normal” family life, husband, kids… so I can always draw back into a mental form of introversion, by just talking about common things. INTJ’s put too much pressure upon ourselves, thinking we have to give the smart answer, catch every joke and laugh appropriately, or add some valuable nugget of brilliant (Oooo, shiny! Look how it sparkles!) truth to every conversation. As an older woman, I’ve stepped back from that self-expectation in most casual cases, and just chat about the weather ~ problem solved!

    • Pau Licaycay

      I think it is caused by the inferior Se (Extraverted sensing). Look at the INTJ functions 🙂

  • Kristin Chambers

    Following as well. Would love to sign up for the email list if/when available.