10 Career Options For People With Social Anxiety

Updated December 23, 2022by BetterHelp Editorial Team

The difficulty in social interactions that typically comes with social anxiety can make it challenging to work many common jobs. However, there are still many career options for those living with social anxiety that do not require as much interaction. These can include working as a health or medical technician, gardener or landscaper, information technology worker, counselor, chef, tradesperson, computer programmer, accountant, writer, or animal care worker. Although these jobs can lessen the requirement to interact with others, it can still be highly beneficial to work with a licensed mental health professional to alleviate symptoms of social anxiety. Online therapy can be a convenient way to connect with a therapist and begin your mental health journey.

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What Is Social Anxiety?

Social anxiety is generally defined as a condition in which an individual has a fear of being evaluated or judged by others. The thought of this happening can bring about feelings of depression, humiliation, inferiority, inadequacy, self-consciousness, and embarrassment. In social interactions where someone with social anxiety is feeling particularly self-conscious, there may be physical symptoms, like shortness of breath, elevated heart rate, sweaty palms, and dry mouth. The individual might stutter and stammer, or they may find themselves unable to speak at all.

There can be varying degrees of social anxiety. Some people may only feel anxious if they suddenly become the center of attention, while for others, the very act of being out of doors and outside of their comfort zone can be enough to bring about a pronounced fight-or-flight response.

Social anxiety can be a serious mental health disorder that may require professional treatment. For individuals who have yet to discover an effective method of combating it, everyday life can present a significant challenge. Severe social anxiety can significantly hinder a person’s life, making it difficult to make friends or have any interpersonal interaction. Furthermore, severe anxiety symptoms (whether experienced in social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, or other conditions) can have a significant effect on one’s mental health and emotional wellness.

As you can imagine, this kind of anxiety can affect every step of career development. From the job application, interview, hiring, orientation, and daily responsibilities at work, every aspect of almost every career can involve social interaction to some extent. It can be rare that one’s job duties do not include any form of interpersonal interaction, which can make many careers challenging for those living with social anxiety.

10 Careers For People With Social Anxiety

Because people who have social anxiety often fear being scrutinized, the best jobs for them are often ones that don’t require much face-to-face interaction. These types of jobs may allow employees to work independently, and they may also have fewer deadlines and unhealthy pressure to complete work projects. There can be many career paths that have these features, and some don’t even require a bachelor’s degree. Here are some potential career paths that may present the ideal solution for those with social anxiety.

  1. Health Or Medical Technician

There are generally a variety of jobs available in the medical field, and while someone with social anxiety likely doesn’t want to become a nurse or a doctor, you may wish to consider becoming a health or medical tech, since your interactions with patients and coworkers may be relatively minimal.

You may not be able to get through an entire day without some face-to-face interaction with others, but it's often nowhere near as much as some other jobs. Medical scanning technicians, biomedical engineers, and ultrasound technicians can be some of the positions in this field.

  1. Gardener Or Landscaper

If you love the great outdoors but you're not so keen on people, then a career in landscaping or gardening might be worth looking into. You could run your own landscaping or gardening business, or you might work for a company or another individual. It's not likely you can go through every day without speaking to anyone, but for the most part, you may be left alone with your plants. 

  1. Information Technology Worker

IT, or information technology, is a field where you can have minimal direct communication with humans, and in some ways, it can be the ideal job for someone with social anxiety. Most of your interactions may be with machines, and there are often dozens of different positions in this industry, from data analyst to network administrator. You may even be able to telecommute and work from home. IT jobs can be extremely lucrative, but you usually need to be good with computers and technology in general. If your strengths don't lie in this area, then this may not be the career path for you.

  1. Counselor

At first, this might seem counterintuitive. If you're a counselor or mental health therapist, aren't you talking to people all day? The reason that counselor can be a job that some people with social anxiety enjoy could be that they may be in complete control of their work environment. You may be talking to people about their mental health concerns, but you'll likely spend your time actively listening and occasionally encouraging others to speak. People with social anxiety tend to be excellent listeners. They may be able to empathize with others because they know what it's like to experience similar challenges. 

  1. Chef

Some people with social anxiety may feel safe working in the confines of a kitchen. You generally do not have to be out on the floor talking to customers, though there may be a certain amount of interaction with your coworkers. You may feel more in charge of things and less anxious if you run your own restaurant, so that may be a goal toward which you can aspire if you pursue this career path.

  1. Tradesperson

If you're a tradesperson, then you're usually working "behind the scenes," so your interactions with people may be reduced. Careers in the trades can be ideal jobs for people with social anxiety because much of your time will likely be spent fixing things, setting them up, or tearing them down. These careers can be somewhat labor-intensive, so that’s something you may wish to keep in mind if you’re considering this path. Some possibilities can include plumbing, carpentry, painting, and electric work.

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  1. Computer Programmer

A job in computer programming may be helpful for a person with social anxiety because interactions with other human beings are generally minimal. If you're capable of long periods of independent focus, this might be the job for you. There are many resources online that can teach you to code, so you might give it a try in your spare time and see if you have an aptitude for it. Some of the jobs in this field can include UX designer, mobile developer, and full stack web developer. 

  1. Accountant

If you love math and you have social anxiety, then becoming an accountant might be the perfect job for you. It's usually an office job, so there may be some interaction with other people, but not nearly as much as many other careers. A lot of your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities will likely be independent.

  1. Writer

Being a writer is another job that seems almost tailor-made for people with social anxiety. There are many types of writing that you could focus on as your niche, from fiction to technical writing, copywriting, and content writing. You may also write under a pseudonym if you’d prefer to maintain incognito, which can be appealing for people living with social anxiety.

If you choose to become a freelance writer, you may never have to communicate with others face-to-face. There may even be opportunities in which video calls and phone calls are not required, and communication may take place primarily through email or messages on different platforms. 

One thing you may wish to consider, however, is that writing can be entirely solitary. Some interaction is generally healthy for everyone, even those with social anxiety, and writing as a career can be isolating. It may be important to ensure you still spend time with loved ones regularly if you choose a career in which you never have to communicate face-to-face with others.

  1.  Animal Care Worker

Working in animal care can be another option for those with social anxiety. If you work with animals, then a little interaction with pet owners may be unavoidable, but most of the time, you may only interact with animals. You might work in veterinary clinics or be a dog walker, pet groomer, dog trainer, or zookeeper.

Treatment For Social Anxiety Is Available

While there may be plenty of jobs that are suitable for people experiencing social anxiety, it can still be wise to make efforts to treat your anxiety. You can go through your entire life avoiding humans as much as possible, but it can make things challenging, as unexpected situations may arise where you need to interact with others.

For those with social anxiety, it can be nerve-wracking to meet with a new therapist in-person. Visiting an unfamiliar location and speaking with a stranger can be anxiety-inducing, but one way to alleviate some of this discomfort may be connecting with a licensed mental health professional through an online therapy platform. This way, you may attend sessions from the comfort of your home, and you may speak to your therapist via phone call or messaging if you do not feel comfortable talking on a video call.

This study explains that online therapy can be as effective as traditional in-person therapy for a variety of mental health concerns, especially various anxiety disorders (such as social anxiety) and the effects of stress. If you believe you’d benefit from working with a therapist, please don’t hesitate to reach out and get the help and support you deserve.

Conclusion

Social anxiety can make it difficult to work many common jobs, as the majority of careers often require quite a bit of face-to-face communication with others. Still, there may be many careers suited to those who live with social anxiety, such as the following:

  1. Health or medical technician

  2. Gardener or landscaper

  3. Information technology (IT) worker

  4. Counselor or therapist

  5. Chef

  6. Tradesperson

  7. Computer programmer

  8. Accountant

  9. Writer

  10.  Animal care worker

Even if you have a job that doesn’t require you to engage in much social interaction, it can still be helpful to work through your social anxiety with a licensed therapist, whether you choose to do so in a traditional therapy setting or through an online therapy platform.

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