Could a confident person suffer from social anxiety?

A confident and sophisticated looking client who came to me was clearly upset when she recalled how an HR manager had told her that she came across as arrogant (let’s call her Jane). Jane told me she was excellent at what she did, she was hard working and conscientious and friendly in her interactions. She was unable to make sense of the feedback she had received and it continued to hurt her years on. Knowing that she was perceived in a certain way had knocked her self-confidence, making her more reserved and making her feel even more alien and isolated than she already did.

Jane had the biggest lightbulb moment when we discussed social anxiety and its manifestations. “That explains everything!”, she said. She was completely comfortable and confident when she was working or presenting but she felt awkward  and underconfident in interactions outside of meeting rooms. One of the reasons Jane told me was that she worked in a male dominated industry and she often felt judged and so tended to keep her head down and focus on work.

It is hard for people to imagine that a person who comes across as confident could suffer from social anxiety. However, people can experience social anxiety in one aspect of their life and not another. People who come across as sociable, friendly and fun could be struggling with social anxiety as much as those who come across as shy or quiet.

I use a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Mindfulness and Hypnotherapy to understand the root cause of their anxiety and then give them all the tools they need to overcome it. Creating new neural pathways is the only way to overcome patterns that we don’t need. Hypnotherapy is the fastest way to create those.