Is she just shy? Or is it Social Anxiety Disorder?

A Beautiful woman lowers her eyes demurely beneath a hat. In an earlier era, her gaze might have signaled a mysterious allure. [...] "Is she just shy? Or is it Social Anxiety Disorder?" [...] [S]hyness and introversion -- or more precisely, the careful, sensitive temperament from which both often spring -- are not just normal. They are valuable. And they may be essential to the survival of our species.

Theoretically, shyness and social anxiety disorder are easily distinguishable. But a blurry line divides the two. Imagine that the woman [...] enjoys a steady paycheck, a strong marriage and a small circle of close friends -- a good life by most measures -- except that she avoids a needed promotion because she's nervous about leading meetings. She often criticizes herself for feeling too shy to speak up.

What do you think now? Is she ill, or does she simply need public-speaking training?

-- Susan Cain

from "Shyness: Evolutionary Tactic?"

Quoted on Mon Jun 27th, 2011