avoidant personality disorder
Many of us can feel shy in certain situations but for around 2% of the population, extreme shyness and fear of rejection make forming relationships near impossible. This is known as avoidant personality disorder.
Those with avoidant personality disorder worry a great deal about rejection and receiving criticism from others. This can lead to them not applying for jobs and not socialising with others. Often, those with the condition will choose to isolate themselves rather than risk the perceived dangers of connecting with others.
The medical community has described personality disorders as 'long-lived patterns of behaviour that cause problems with work and relationships'. Those with avoidant personality disorder will have experienced long-term difficulties with social situations, feeling extreme social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy and sensitivity to rejection.
There is often a long-standing sense of inadequacy and a deep fear of what others think. These feelings tend to lead to social isolation, avoidance of work and any activity that may require social interaction. Someone with avoidant personality disorder may also feel very anxious about the possibility of receiving criticism and their reaction (such as crying or blushing). Unlike typical shyness, those with avoidant personality disorder will encounter significant problems that will affect day-to-day life and make it very difficult to make and maintain relationships.