University life involves lots of communication and interaction with groups of people. This can be unsettling for some people and a source of anxiety.

If you feel uncomfortable, worried or fearful about interacting with other people, you may be experiencing some social anxiety. It can also involve worrying that others may look down on you.

Anxiety is normal and a part of being human, and social anxiety helps us to remain sensitive to the feelings and needs of others. But it can become a problem when it disrupts our day-to-day life, for example, if it leads us to persistently avoid social situations or to miss out on things we need to do.

It is important for you to know that you are not alone and there is help available. If you think you may be experiencing social anxiety, you should try to see your doctor or make an appointment to see one of Imperial’s counsellors. However, there are many other people you can speak to, such as:

Further information and advice

  • NHS Choices
  • It can be helpful to remember that we are all different and interact with the world in a unique way. Enjoying time on your own, and needing plenty of time to recharge your batteries after social interaction is completely normal. Check out this TED talk on The Power of Introverts by Susan Cain.
  • Remember to be on your own side, and to try not to put too much pressure on yourself to perform perfectly in social situations. Read the page on Perfectionism for tools on how to set realistic standards and to be kinder to yourself.