When I tell people that I have social anxiety, there's kind of a tensing on the other side of the conversation and then usually one of two responses:
“Are you okay?” I usually get this from 'normal' folk.
“Are you diagnosed?” comes from my nerdier counterparts.
I get both responses, although both of them come in uncomfortable tones and make ME a little uncomfortable. I get that people generally don't want to deal with someone who's nervous and unaware and afraid because it's not very fun to navigate the labryinths of social fear and nervousness that some people have, and I get that people just want to make sure that I'm not making it up as some sort of excuse to have poor social skills.
On the other hand though, it's quite offputting. It's not as though I tell people this at any chance I get (Unless they're my blog audience), and I do my best to work through this as best as I can – that's why the answers to both questions are always yes. That's also why I work in the service industry and try to keep a social circle going – it's because I'm working through this damn thing the best I can.
On the other hand though, I hate having people ask “Social anxiety? Are you okay?” because to me it sounds less like “I'm concerned” and more like “I'm uncomfortable dealing with this sort of thing.” - once you tell people that something is a disorder – a MENTAL disorder no less, they kind of prickle a little. And of course, it wouldn't be a disorder unless it interfered with my life. But on the other hand, I'm not asking you to be my primary caretaker! I'm just letting you know a piece of personal information about my life.
And the “Are you diagnosed” question sometimes really is a cover for “Do you REALLY have social anxiety or are you just bad at dealing with people and don't want to get better?” - which is “Can I believe you because there's some evidence, or should I just assume that you're an asshole or awkward and too lazy not to be?” Which is even more insulting, obviously.
Do you know what a great response would be?
-“Oh, that sucks. Are you dealing with it?”
-“I hope you have a good doctor. On any meds? I'm on...”
-“That explains the one time you were hiding in a closet at Janice's birthday party!”
Or something else that does not assume I am all awkward or uncomfortable to be around or a liar! Pick one! There are many responses not listed, I'm sure you can make your own up.
I mean, jeez.