One of the most common mistakes I made with SA in the past was doing anything. Of course this is quite common for shy people as the advice is always to “go out and try doing stuff”, any stuff. They make you feel guilty almost like it(social anxiety) is entirely your own fault for staying in and all you have to do is go out and try doing stuff and your shyness will get cured. This led to many bad friends who really did not care one jot for me and dropped me like a stone when they had something else to do. I think doing anything to cure SA is no different from trying anything to cure a physical sickness. Its like in the old days they used to bleed people for virtually any ailment which of course made them worse.
The thing with trying anything is that it was often a disaster and made me worse, less confident, more paranid, more SA. This was because my SA was too chronic and I was not ready for it yet.Of course if you could do anything without beating yourself up over it afterwards then it wouldn’t matter but the SA brain often being so paranoid is prone to over analysing every single word or look or moment from another person and thinking the worst even when its not always true. I found that my behavior was almost entirely dependant upon the other persons character. If they reacted badly to my shyness I would feel very awkward,get worse and want to leave. Often trying to force myself to be positive when very nervous would have no better results as the physical manifestations of my SA which would include blushing, sweating and an awful speaking voice and poor body language would give me away and make me even worse.
By contrast people who took no notice of my SA and were often quite confident and outgoing themselves I always got on well with as I did not feel as if I was being judged or laughed at. There were not as many of these people around though.Obviously being totally avoidant will also have no chance of helping you cure your anxiety but often neither will anything. I think with chronic SA there are many things that need to be addressed before even normal conversation and social interaction becomes beneficial. For instance being a jibbering wreck and forcing yourself to go out with a group of people from work may actually make you look like a complete idiot or fool and then work also becomes unbearable as you feel as if these people are laughing at you behind your back. This isn’t paranoia. If you think it is I suggest you have never really had chronic social anxiety but probably just been a bit shy. yes, I know that gets some people on the anxiety forums furious as they all want to believe their SA was worse than anyone else.And thats the trouble with much of the advice on anxiety forums as its for average shyness rather than for debilitating anxiety and assumes that once you go out and try things everything just gets better because it did for them.