I was wondering/hoping you all could help me understand it better.

Although I suffer from regular anxiety, social anxiety is never something I experienced. Even though I was an incredibly shy kid, I was never anxious in social situations. I just didn't like talking much. I love crowds and social gatherings and meeting new people. I'm fairly certain this isn't an introverted/extroverted thing, as my mom is an extrovert (like I am) but hates crowds and big gatherings.

Anyway, many people I'm close to deal with social anxiety. My best friend of a decade, Prince Fluffybutt (we are still friends and all), the person I'm seeing now, other friends of mine all suffer from it. I like to think I'm pretty good at empathizing with those who deal with it, but unfortunately I sometimes have trouble understanding because it's not something I experience myself. This isn't to say I don't get it at all, because I absolutely do. There are times, however, that I'm not sure what to do in certain situations.

Can the beautiful people of GT help me out? Honestly, I'd love to understand the thought process that someone who has social anxiety experiences. Like, what is going through your head when you have to, say, order food at a restaurant? Or take your car to the mechanic? Or when you're at a bar or party with a lot of people? Is there anything I can do, as a friend/SO, to help or make situations more comfortable? See, my best friend I have a better understanding of as I've known her for a decade. So with her, I know sometimes I have to just (verbally) bop her on the nose with a newspaper and be like "pick up the phone and call" and it won't upset her, because there are times she needs that little push. But with other people who I don't know as well or as long, I don't want to add to their anxiety or come across as pushy or overbearing.

What do you guys think? Share your thoughts!