I totally agree about social media hurting our ability to communicate face to face, but I have to say - being a writer and having social anxiety, I LOVE being able to communicate over the internet. Also feeling weird about using the phone, I am love texting which involves no awkward transitions or goodbyes.
Can I step up to a group of people without hesitation of doubt?
Depends. Are they people I know and talk to often - or not? I feel awkward dealing with most people, but I guess with people I know well, I don't worry as much because they've already accepted me - weirdness and all - but sometimes, I even feel awkward around friends. Depends a lot on my mood.
In social situations I CAN actually be the one driving the conversation, a big part of which has to do with my discomfort with silences. Silence feels like social failure. I've learned that asking questions is usually works.
It's weird, but I can sometimes have "delayed" social anxiety. I'll feel good about the conversation at the time, but later on in the day I'll think back about something I said and agonize over it. (I sounded so stupid! They were weirded out by you. Why didn't you just stop talking?) I have a bad habit of worrying.
The situations I worry about in advance are get togethers with large groups of people, having to talk to authority figures, and talking on the phone (except with my closest friends and boyfriend - I even get nervous about talking to my family). I have to psyche myself up for it. Or - to be honest - I'll have a drink.(which I need to be careful about, because I have a family history of alcoholism)
How do I deal with it now?
Not terribly well. u.u'
If someone were to ask me for my advice, I'd be giving them the same advice I try to reason with my anxious self -
People are too worried about THEMSELVES to be thinking about that stupid thing you said earlier.
Other people feel awkward too.
You're an overall cool person, you're different, that's a GOOD thing.
If people judge you negatively based on a stupid social blunder, they're jerks and not worth worrying about anyway.
I KNOW AL THAT TO BE TRUE EVEN! It's just.... sometimes believing and applying something is a lot harder than just knowing it. Still, despite it all I manage to get through it. I'll take a deep breath, stretch, and walk shaking and red faced into a room to be heard, if there's something I feel passionate about. It's lucky I'm stubborn and opinionated as well as anxious! :D.... u.u'