If you suffer from social anxiety, chances are you've consistently been making at least half of the following mistakes. The good news is that you don't have to continue them. The first step is to recognize that the following are in fact mistakes, and not just aspects of reality. Here they are, in no particular order.
Ruminating means turning the same thoughts over and over in your mind. Usually, it's thoughts about how badly you messed up during that last social interaction. Ruminating keeps anxiety in place by making you extra nervous for the next time you find yourself in a similar situation. This is the most common symptom that you might face when suffering from a social anxiety disorder.
Avoiding uncomfortable situations
Avoidance perpetuates anxiety. The reason for this is that when you avoid a feared event, or when you even decide in your mind to avoid it, you get an immediate sense of relief. This feeling of relief acts as a reinforcement for avoidance. This means that you'll keep using avoidance to cope with anxiety, and the cycle will remain in place: fear, avoidance, etc.
Using alcohol or drugs to get through social interactions
Despite the short-term gain of medicating your immediate anxiety, substance use does nothing to fix the underlying problem. Not to mention that you could develop a dependence. When you know for a fact that you're only comfortable after 2-3 drinks, you're sure to be doubly anxious when there's no alcohol available.
Anxiety that's medicated by drugs of any kind, including prescription drugs, is anxiety that will be sure to come back as soon as the drug is removed. That's why research shows that drugs alone are not an effective treatment for this condition.
The more you pay attention to yourself, the harder it is to listen, concentrate and respond to those around you. Social anxiety wants you to constantly monitor yourself so you can rate your performance. Unfortunately, this very monitoring hampers your ability to perform at your best. Being an effective social being is about listening and being present with other people. It's not about saying interesting things or keeping the conversation up without cease. Frankly, that's tiring for everyone.