Before any social event, it’s natural for most people to feel excited and even nervous. Meeting new people is hard for someone with social anxiety. But it can also be fun. The important thing is to prepare for the social event so that you can be calmer, happier, and enjoy the event while it’s happening without so much drama. The following tips show you how to stay calm with social anxiety.
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This is part four of a four-part series on social anxiety. Here are parts one, two, and three.
Set a Goal
Instead of blowing up every single event into an amazing, perfect event that is going to change your world, be realistic. Set a small goal such as meeting one new person, telling one joke, or even just sticking around an hour longer than you normally would. If you know what your plans are when you go to the event, it’s going to take some of the mystery and fear out of it and reduce your anxiety and keep you calmer.
Bring a Support Person
Bringing a support person can help you get over your initial fears, but it’s important to bring the right person. The person needs not to have social anxiety and be willing to help you get out of your comfort zone so that you can meet new people. Avoid clinging to them all night long and not going out on your own to circulate the room.
Determine Some Conversation Starters
Knowing some conversation starters beforehand will help before going somewhere. This is something you can do very well if you know the type of people going to the event. Study the audience and research some conversations that people might be interested in. Ask what they do, how they know someone, and about current events that aren’t controversial.
Take a Hot Bath
Give yourself time to get ready and take a hot bath if you’re super anxious before the event. If you can get a massage earlier in the day that is also a wonderful way to calm yourself down. If it’s a weekend, take some time to chill out and not socialize before the event so that you have plenty of downtime before you go.
Get There Early
While you don’t want to be one of those people who get to a party an hour early, it’s important that you get there before the entire crowd arrives. That way you can build up to being around a lot of people and get used to your surroundings.
Turn Anticipatory Anxiety to Excitement
When you feel the anxiety brewing in your belly like butterflies trying to escape, turn that feeling into excitement and something good, instead of something bad. Let yourself get used to the idea of the event, then at the event, stay until your stated time goal, and until you’ve talked to as many people as you wanted to before the event. The longer you stay, the more you’ll get used to it.
Don’t Drink or Use Drugs
While it’s okay to have one or two drinks if you are used to it, don’t drink or use drugs to fight your anxiety before, during, or after the event. Instead, drink a lot of water, and focus on listening to the conversation and not burying your feelings.
Plan How to Calm Yourself Down
Before the event, think about how you’ll deal with overwhelming feelings of anxiety, panic, or unwanted physical responses. Learn to breathe through your nose and out your mouth slowly and carefully. Decide what you will do in advance to overcome anxiety. Bring yourself into the present and focus on what others are saying, doing, and wearing. Look at the décor, play with your necklace, and think of something to bring yourself into the now.
When you go into social events with a plan, your anxiety will be lessened. You may even be able to accept that you will always feel nerves but that you don’t have to bow out due to them. When you learn to focus on the positives of any social event, you’re going to reap the rewards.
Social Anxiety Resources
Here are a few books that may be beneficial:
The Anxiety and Worry Workbook by David A. Clark and Aaron T. Beck
Thriving With Social Anxiety by Hattie C. Cooper
The Solution to Social Anxiety by Aziz Gazipura
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. Every possible effort has been made in preparing and researching this material. We make no warranties concerning the accuracy, applicability of its contents or any omissions.