Colloquially, “social anxiety” is just when you have anxiety or a phobia-type issue about social interaction, and that’s all, right? I’m beginning to think I need a more specific definition than that.
So, I have a phobia of vomiting. Not only does the immediate prospect of anyone vomiting send me into a panic (like, heart beating fast, shaking violently), I worry about it a lot. This has been a lot better recently, but for a while I worried about vomiting in some form whenever I ate anything. Not only did I go around with a higher baseline level of anxiety than usual, I was consciously worrying a lot of the time, about things like “Did I wash my hands well enough?” and “Is this food cooked thoroughly enough?” and “What if so-and-so has the stomach flu and I catch it?”
I could say that I have social anxiety. But I literally almost never have conscious worrying thoughts about social situations. I’m not afraid of messing them up. I don’t just know intellectually that I don’t need to worry, I’m not consciously worrying at all, about any particular thing that could happen, or even about the potential for me to be put on the spot in a social situation.
Being on the spot in a social situation just puts my body into stress mode. No thought required.