The ultimate nemesis of a socially anxious person.
The natural meeting place of humans.
What is one to do?
Anxiety makes you put a microscope on yourself at the best of times. In a social setting, this can magnify ten-fold. It’s bloody hard.
Thus, here are my tips for approaching and successfully attending parties or social occasions when you’re social anxious:
Take one step at a time
Visualising all the potentially awkward conversations you may (but probably won’t) have at a party can quickly dissuade you from attending a social event. It’ll be easier just to not risk it right?
To avoid thinking of all the things that could go wrong if you go, just think of the next step in getting ready for the occasion. Don’t even consider the end result of actually attending a social engagement, just focus on the next small step in getting ready:
Having a shower isn’t scary, right? Have one.
Doing your makeup is totally fine, right? Cake it on.
You order an Uber every other day, right? Do it again.
Before you know it, you’ll be showered, preened and on your hosts doorstep without thinking another thing of it. Anxiety free.
2. Do things you love
During the minutes/hours/days leading up to hanging out with other humans, be sure to keep yourself busy doing things that fuel your soul.
One; as a distraction.
Two; to boost your self confidence.
I find that doing things that make you feel you, inspired, creative or energetic will inevitably boost confidence. Be sure to do as many of these activities as possible to put you in the best stead for those scary social things.
3. Time’s up
If you’re feeling super anxious, set yourself a time threshold. It is much more achievable to ‘just go for an hour’ than to mentally commit to the whole night.
Then, if you make it past the hour, congratulate yourself. You totally did that. You’re doing good.
If you don’t make it, who. gives. a. crap. Go home and snuggle up with Netflix.
4. Forgive yourself
Agonising over that 1-second awkward second….
Overthinking that look that someone gave you across the room…
Me too. We’re in this together.
Remember that, as anxious individuals, something that we perceive as a ‘danger’ situation, is usually not dangerous whatsoever.
That look she gave you? Probably not intended as malicious. Probably just had something in her eye.
That 10-second ‘awkward’ pause. Probably not actually that long. The word ‘poignant’ comes to mind.
If you feel like you screwed up/said something weird/acted like a martian. You didn’t.
Let it go. Give yourself a compliment.
Now, go show the world how amazing you are. Light up that room with your awesomeness.