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Six ways you might struggle with social anxiety if you're mixed

A mixed person is socially anxious

An estimated 15 million Americans, that is 7% of the population, struggle with social anxiety.

Social anxiety comes in many forms, including:

  • Fear of being judged

  • Fear of looking or sounding “dumb”

  • Avoiding social situations or meeting new people

  • Extreme anxiety before events

  • Catastrophizing

  • Ruminating about what you said or did

  • Not being able to relax in social situations

And when it comes to being mixed, if you feel “between” identities social anxiety probably feels like a basic element of your experience.

Here are 6 ways social anxiety can manifest in mixed race people:

  1. Avoiding experiences that are more heavily monoracial because you feel like an imposter. Maybe you don’t feel like you’re Black enough, or Chinese enough, or will stand out. You might avoid family gatherings, dating, affinity groups, even public spaces because you feel like an outsider.

  2. Over-exaggerating or performing certain aspects of your identity, like language or your accent, clothing, or manners in order to win people’s trust.

  3. Being reactive / hyper-defensive about racism experienced by one of your lineages. Sometimes mixed people struggle to find balance in how they engage in political resistance, or taking accountability for harm or privilege. This can result in a pattern of performing activism.

  4. Completely avoiding participation in anti-racism efforts. Feeling like there’s no room for your voice in these spaces. Maybe you feel like you have too much financial privilege or are too light- or dark-skinned.

  5. Rejecting aspects of your identity because you feel like you “should.” This happens a lot for folks who have a white parent. Navigating your relationship to whiteness is complicated. We often conflate whiteness with cultural lineage.

  6. Dreading questions about your identity / background. Talking about your background can bring up anxiety if you don’t feel like you have a coherent narrative (and if you feel like you “should” have one) about who you are, or if you are worried about what other people will think.

Overall, social anxiety in mixed people is generally heightened by our tendency to question ourselves. We assume that because we aren’t confident in who we are that other people will also question us.

And truthfully, most of us have real experiences of being misunderstood, microaggressed, and even explicitly rejected. But just because these things have happened to us, doesn’t mean they always will happen to us in every interaction moving forward.

A lot of people believe that what they need is to not feel anxious. That they need their social anxiety to just go away. If this sounds like you, maybe you believe that once you don’t feel anxious, then you’ll start putting yourself out there more. But that’s not a realistic ideal.

Instead of trying to get rid of your anxiety you need to develop a relationship with it. You need to learn to move with your anxiety rather than avoid it, so that you can experience the joys of connecting with the right people.

That’s why I created a workshop to help you do just that. In Somatic Skills for Social Anxiety, I’ll help you learn to manage social triggers better and faster by developing a working relationship with your anxiety. In doing so, you won’t feel as overwhelmed by your anxiety when it does show up.

Raina does a somatic exercise

What you learn in this workshop will help you build a deeper sense of trust with yourself, so that you can stop questioning yourself and be more present in social situations.

And then, you can more confidently keep it pushin’ through the uncomfortable moments so that you can find your people on the other side.

If you’re ready to feel less trapped by your social anxiety so that you can build the types of friendships and community you’ve always wanted, sign up today!


Resources Cited:

Harvard Medical School, 2007. National Comorbidity Survey (NCS). (2017, August 21). Retrieved from Data Table 2: 12-month prevalence DSM-IV/WMH-CIDI disorders by sex and cohort.

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