Conquer Social Anxiety With Fluent English Ep 656

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📝 Author: Hilary

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💬 4192 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 21 min

📥 Download MP3 & PDF 14.8 Mb ▪️ 👓 Read Transcript ▪️ 🎧 Listen to Lesson

English Listening Practice Demystifying Anxiety!

Did you know 1 in 8 people are terrified of social interaction? Do you think women fear socializing more than men? Find the answers to these questions and much more in today's English listening practice lesson. We've talked about social anxiety before in podcast 648 about the art of small talk, it's a common theme we encounter with English language learners and today we are going to improve your English comprehension while we learn much more about anxiety and what you can do about it.

Get ready to #LearnEnglish with our specially designed lesson that breaks down language and social barriers:

  • 🔥 Overcome your social anxiety with our specially crafted English lessons.
  • 🌍 Navigate through our engaging English learning journey, designed just for you.
  • 🚀 Experience the thrill of speaking fluent English confidently.
  • 💡 Our lessons are more than language learning, they're your pathway to confidence.
  • 👊 Join us today, take charge of English, and seize control of your fears.

✔Lesson transcript:

Learning another language is not only learning different words for the same things, but learning another way to think about things.
⭐ Flora Lewis, New York Times.

This lesson isn't a monotonous drill of grammar rules. Instead, it's a journey into the English language in its natural context. You'll find that the English you learn here will come to you more naturally when you need it, because you've learned it in context, not in isolation.

This approach brings language alive, makes it meaningful, and significantly, increases your motivation to learn. You'll be intrigued, engaged, and before you know it, you'll find yourself speaking English with newfound fluency and confidence.

What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candour, more unashamed conversation.
⭐ Glenn Close, American actress.

Discover the joy of conversation as you #SpeakEnglish and overcome your fears. 👊 Join us now, don't let social anxiety dictate your world. Command English and conquer your fears!

More About This Lesson

Welcome to another of our unique English language lessons! Imagine mastering English while diving into the maze of social anxiety. Today, we simplify English and explore social anxiety through real-life scenarios. You're about to join learners determined to understand English and navigate through human experiences.

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer.
⭐ William S. Burroughs, American writer.

Things you will learn in today's English listening lesson:

  1. New vocabulary explained with examples: SOCIALISE, ANXIETY. - Learn essential English vocabulary like 'socialise' and 'anxiety'.
  2. Clear differentiation between 'social anxiety' and being 'anti-social'. - Understand the difference between 'social anxiety' and 'anti-social'.
  3. Usage of everyday language and practical examples. - Master everyday English language through practical examples.
  4. New term 'post mortem social anxiety' introduced. - Discover new terms like 'post mortem social anxiety'.
  5. Understanding sentence structures for expressing fear and anxiety. - Learn to express fear and anxiety in English.
  6. Use of phrase 'ways of being'. - Learn English phrases like 'ways of being'.
  7. English pronunciation for words like HUMILIATE, ANTICIPATE. - Master English pronunciation of challenging words like 'humiliate', 'anticipate'.
  8. Real-life context for the word 'anticipate'. - Learn the real-life application of the word 'anticipate'.
  9. Usage of phrases for expressing surprise. - Express surprise in English with phrases like 'Did you know'.
  10. Vocabulary used to describe percentage and ratios. - Learn English vocabulary for discussing statistics.

Benefits of our listen & learn approach to learning

Our lessons offer a comprehensive approach to English fluency. Language isn't just about vocabulary and grammar; it's a tool to express feelings and experiences. Our learn through listening approach to learning to speak English fluently not only improves your English vocabulary around social anxiety but also enhances your understanding of this uncomfortable human experience.

  1. Ease the Fear of Complex Grammar and Vocabulary: Our lessons simplify English by exploring it in the context of real-world experiences.
  2. Address Social Anxiety: Feel anxious in social settings? We unpack 'social anxiety' in English, which improves your language skills and social confidence.
  3. Understand Cultural Nuances: We touch on cultural perceptions of social anxiety, deepening your understanding of culture in the language.
  4. Relate English to Real-life Scenarios: By delving into 'social anxiety', we bridge the gap between English learning and real-world experiences.
  5. Overcome the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO): Engage more, learn more, and reduce the chance of missing out with our English lessons.
  6. See Your Progress: You are advancing with each lesson, enriching your vocabulary and understanding of English.
The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.
⭐ William James, American philosopher and psychologist.

Language learning is more than just academic exercise. To master English, learners need to explore culture, societal norms, and real-world contexts. This course not only bolsters your language skills but also enhances your emotional intelligence. It improves cognitive abilities like problem-solving, creativity, and memory, which can be applied in understanding social anxiety. Finally, engaging in discussions about social anxiety allows you to perceive and understand the issue from different perspectives.

Join us in this exciting journey of language learning and self-discovery. Let's unravel the complexities of English and social anxiety together. Boost your fluency and understanding now. Subscribe today!

Questions You Might Have...

Discover the real-life application of English language beyond books. We take you on a journey of understanding that bridges language and human experiences. Don't be an outsider - embrace the fear of missing out and join in. Let's make English a part of your life, not just a subject. Welcome to a world where language connects us all. Are you ready?

  1. What will I learn from this English lesson? You'll uncover layers of the English language while simultaneously unravelling complexities of social anxiety. By tying real-world experiences and solutions into the learning process, you'll not only enhance your English skills but also gain insights into managing social anxiety.
  2. Can I really learn to speak British English fluently? Absolutely! This lesson guides you through English language intricacies, helping you understand and use British English more effectively, thus propelling you towards fluency.
  3. How does this lesson help with social anxiety? While we delve into the English language, we'll also explore social anxiety. By discussing real-world experiences and solutions, you'll learn strategies to manage and potentially alleviate these anxieties.
  4. Are the lessons adaptable to different English proficiency levels? Indeed! Our lessons cater to all proficiency levels. We'll walk you through each concept, ensuring you understand before moving forward.
  5. How are real-world experiences integrated into the lessons? We blend real-world experiences into our lessons to make them more relatable and engaging. This not only helps with language comprehension, but also provides practical insights into navigating social situations.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Intricacies: The complex or detailed aspects of something.
  • Humiliate: To make someone feel ashamed or foolish by injuring their dignity and pride.
  • Anticipate: To expect or predict.
  • Mocked: Teased or laughed at in a scornful or contemptuous manner.
  • Offence: An act or instance of annoying or displeasing someone.
  • Postmortem: An examination of a dead body to determine the cause of death; used metaphorically in the transcript to refer to analysis after an event.
  • Criteria: A principle or standard by which something may be judged or decided.
  • Rewarding: Providing satisfaction, as a result of one's actions or efforts.
  • Thick of things: In the busiest or most intense part of a situation or activity.
  • Sociable: Willing to talk and engage in activities with other people; friendly.

Most Frequently Used Words:


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Transcript: Conquer Social Anxiety With Fluent English

Understanding English and understanding Social Anxiety

Hi there. Have you ever felt like your heart was racing just at the thought of attending a social gathering? Well, you're not alone, and it's not just about language barriers. Welcome to a special podcast today that goes beyond the grammar and vocabulary of English. A few weeks ago I mentioned something called ‘social anxiety’ in a podcast. That was podcast 648 on ‘Small Talk’ - and I was suggesting that if you learn to be good at ‘small talk’, then this is helpful with social anxiety. Well, I promised that I would talk some more about ‘social anxiety’ and today, here it is. I’m going to describe the problem, then you can see whether you have it or not - or you know someone who does. It’s something that I work with in my therapy practice, so today while your brain is learning English, let’s dive into the intricacies of 'Social Anxiety', a reality faced daily by many people. I’ll talk today about what it is, what it feels like - and if you’re interested in how to cure it, get in touch, let me know and I’ll talk about this in a future podcast. And if you stick around to the end, I’ll reveal something about social anxiety that may really surprise you! So come with me on a journey of language learning - your brain will be learning English while we’re doing this, of course - but intertwined with social insights!

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

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What is Social Anxiety and how common is it?

So first of all vocabulary. When we say 'social', SOCIAL - what do we mean? Well, it refers to everything that involves interaction with other people. And when we 'socialise', you and I are actively engaging with others. That’s the verb ‘to socialise’, SOCIALISE. If you’re someone who likes ‘to socialise’, then you like being around other people, knowing other people, interacting with other people, doing things with other people. And if you’re around lots of other people and you’re very busy with it, we might say that you’re ‘a social butterfly’. How much socialising we like to do, versus how much time we like to spend alone - well, that varies enormously between people. But if you have ‘social anxiety’, it means that doing these types of things, instead of being pleasurable, well they fill you with fear - ‘anxiety’, ANXIETY is the word we tend to use in English. ‘Anxiety’ is a state which can be a low-level or a high-level fear.

How common is it? Well, the NICE guidelines in the UK quote USstatistics that say that around 12% of the US population will be affected by social anxiety at some time in their lives. And the UK website social-anxiety-org says ‘About 13.3 percent of the general population may meet criteria for social anxiety disorder at some point in their lives…...with the male:female ratio being 2:3’. So there’s more of it amongst women. I do think there’s an interesting cultural element too - to social anxiety. The culture that you grow up in can influence it. There’s perhaps another podcast idea!

Everybody must like me (though in reality they may not remember me because I’m so quiet)

Imagine, you're someone dealing with social anxiety, you would find yourself constantly fearing the judgements of other people. Perhaps to an extent we all do this in certain circumstances - say like in a panel interview for a job we really want or when giving a presentation that we’re nervous about. But if you have social anxiety, ‘what other people think of you’ is the overriding concern in pretty much every situation. People with social anxiety are afraid of ‘doing or saying the wrong thing’. They’re frightened that they’ll get something wrong, feel embarrassed or even worse, be humiliated or rejected by other people. The verb ‘to humiliate’ in English, HUMILIATE means to ‘cause someone shame or loss of respect’. Worries can centre around appearance or functions of the body like sweating, blushing, shaking, voice quaking or simply ‘looking strange’ to other people. And of course, if you’re very anxious all of these things, they’re much more likely to happen. Or the anxiety can focus on ‘seeming stupid or boring’ to other people. And the biggest fear of the person with social anxiety is that they will be disliked by others. And this seems to be fairly independent of whether that’s actually happening. For many people with social anxiety - it also doesn’t seem to matter who the other people are, whom they imagine judging or rejecting them. It could be passers-by in the street, people they’re never going to see again - or people that they know but they don’t actually like. So it feels ‘Crucially important that everybody likes me - and no one must have a negative thought about me - ever!’ Being unpopular, even if it’s temporary, even if it’s for a positive cause, is something that the socially anxious person finds extremely hard to handle. And conflict? Don’t even go there! People with social anxiety will not do conflict - unless it’s with someone that they know extremely well.

Anticipatory Anxiety

Have you ever found yourself anticipating all the possible negatives before a social event, despite the outcome being unknown? The person with social anxiety does this big time! ‘To anticipate’, ANTICIPATE means ‘to expect something before it actually happens’. So the socially anxious will get very nervous before a social occasion - and imagine all kinds of terrible outcomes, where they’re rejected or no one speaks to them or worse still, they’re openly mocked. The fear is so strong sometimes that it’s quite typical that people with social anxiety cancel social engagements at the very last minute. And even if the person with social anxiety actually goes to the party, the meeting, the wedding, the pub or wherever it is, they may interpret people’s reactions to them as ‘rejecting’ even where actually they’re not. So social anxiety sufferers misinterpret other peoples’ reactions to fit with their socially anxious expectations, then they feel even worse about themselves.

‘Post-mortem Social Anxiety’

A common theme is that people with social anxiety remain quiet a lot of the time. It feels safer that way. If they were to tell a joke, make a comment, or tell a funny story, not only would it be difficult in the moment, when all those heads turn to look at them - but they would also probably wake up the following morning, wondering whom they had offended. While ‘anticipatory anxiety’ is a big thing before a social event, this is what I tend to call in therapy ‘post mortem social anxiety’ - worrying about what you said after the event, even though there was no sign at the time that anyone took offence! And this can go on for weeks - or for some people, even years!

Lots of commonalities, but Social Anxiety is also unique to each person

And it’s surprising? Even with something like social anxiety, there's no one-size-fits-all. We all have unique experiences. Some people have learned to cover it - and those they socialise with, may not realise that they suffer from social anxiety at all. Actually ‘being able to fake it’ is a good way of working on your social anxiety anyway - so the person who can handle it like this is usually further forward in dealing with their problem. But a more usual way of being for people with social anxiety is to be very focused on a particular group of friends, with whom they’re comfortable. These may be people whom they’ve known for a long time - they may be old school friends or work colleagues that they’ve known for years. And these familiar friends bring a little confidence - the socially anxious person is confident that they’re accepted by these people. But even here, if a new person joins the group - or someone in the group brings in new people, whom the socially anxious person doesn’t know, they may go quiet and lose their confidence again, even though the rest of the friends are still there. And these people, who have friends are much more fortunate than some, who haven’t made a close group of friends that they feel confident with - and who therefore spend lots of their time on their own. This can start in childhood - the child who goes to school, but who is so socially anxious that they don’t speak to anyone, so they’ don’t have the experience of making friends. Someone with social anxiety who doesn’t have friends - this is a far more serious situation, than those people with social anxiety who rely on close friends to give them confidence.

Not all who prefer their own company are socially anxious

It’s important to distinguish too, between those who spend lots of time alone and don’t have friends or don’t socialise because they’re socially anxious and those people who don’t socialise for other reasons. Some people just find that they aren’t well enough rewarded by social interaction - they don’t find people interesting enough to be bothered with them. Or they just ‘don’t understand people’ - they might not ‘get’ why people are so motivated to socialise. So some people don’t socialise because they have no desire to be ‘in the thick of things’, socially. These are different ‘ways of being’, distinct from the problem of social anxiety. For the term ‘socially anxious’ to be correct, the person wants to be liked, wants to be sociable, wants to fit in, wants to be popular. And although some people with social anxiety do lack social skills - that means the ability to talk to people and know what the right thing to say is - that’s usually just a lack of practice. Often socially anxious people can be very good at ‘tuning in’, ‘reading the room’ - they may ‘read other people well and observe other people astutely, even when they don’t join in. Sometimes they have a really good idea of the relationships between people, just from observing.


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‘Patchy’ social anxiety

So there are degrees of social anxiety - most of us know a little bit of it. In some people, it influences their entire life, but in other people, their social anxiety is improved - so that it’s only present in certain circumstances. Social anxiety is often what I call ‘patchy’ - meaning that two people may experience social anxiety in completely different areas of their lives. For one person, it could be that it’s at work that they experience the most social anxiety, whereas outside of work, with friends and family, they’re more confident and comfortable. Yet for another social anxiety sufferer, it may be that at work they feel confident, they have their job role, they ‘wear a particular hat’ and they’re good at their job. But it’s if people invite them to the pub or there’s an ‘unstructured’ social situation - that’s what they may avoid because of social anxiety. They may go home early, even if when they get home, they wish they’d gone to the pub - and wonder what they’re missing out on!

A quiet tragedy

For people who don’t suffer from social anxiety, the impact of all of this can be hard to understand. I’m always very sympathetic to social anxiety sufferers - because it’s something that can permeate, can influence your whole life. "It's a quiet tragedy, when we let our concerns over social anxiety dictate our life choices?" ‘Going to university?’ It’s out of the question, because I’d never be able to cope with being away from home and making new friends. ‘Going for that promotion at work?’ It’s out of the question, because I’ll not be able to manage people - or I won’t ever be able to stand up and give a presentation, like they’ll expect. And the sadness and tragedy is that these are often quiet, automatic, internal decisions - which other people wouldn’t even know had taken place. It may simply be assumed that the socially anxious person just doesn’t want to do these things! And over time, these decisions have a massive impact on people’s lives - the loss of opportunity then may serve to strengthen the person’s lack of confidence in themselves.

Some good news about Social Anxiety

But - and it’s a big BUT - there’s a real positive here. Social anxiety is really, really treatable. If this podcast describes you or someone you know, then you or they can get help with it! The changes can be massive - and sometimes they don’t even take that long. You just need some good input to set you in the right sort of direction and to tell you what to do about it. It’s one of the problems that I meet in therapy and I enjoy working with it, because often it’s quite ‘fixable’ and it’s a pleasure to see people get better.! So if in this podcast, I’m describing you or someone close to you - get help! You can have a much better life than this one.

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OK - let me know whether you liked this podcast and whether you’re interested in hearing on how to work with social anxiety. Oh - and don’t forget you’re learning English! So listen to this podcast a number of times following all the advice in the Seven Rules of Adept English Course!


Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at



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