Interestingly, many people face anxiety and stress at the thought of meeting and conversing with new people. The good news is, with the right strategies, excellent counseling and some determination, learning to overcome a social phobia is possible. Ready to start enjoying those amazing summer parties? Here are 5 tips for managing social anxiety and making it your best summer yet!
No. 1: Planning is Key Much of the anxiety and stress that accompany a summer time party can be completely eliminated with the right pre-party plan. From the outfit you choose to the gift you bring (if appropriate), taking time to strategize in advance is not only a smart way to get a handle on the details, but also, leaves you empowered. With details under control, it’s easier to focus on being your best without stressing over a quickly chosen outfit or last minute gift.
No. 2: Shift the Focus From Yourself to Your Surroundings Believe it or not, it takes a lot of work to feel stressed and anxious. The brain must be focused and intent for any situation to escalate, so why not use this to your advantage? Social phobias direct energy inward, so why not force it out? Instead of worrying about how you look or what you should say, consider focusing on the environment around you. Shut down feelings of anxiety and stress by centering on the landscaping or the clothing guests are wearing. Make a game out of taking in details around you and you’ll lack the mental energy required to work yourself into a panic.
No. 3: Ask Questions One of the few guarantees in life is the simple fact that people love to talk about themselves. The next time you find yourself becoming panicked in a group setting, when the attention shifts to you, ask a question. Try to ask the type of question that requires more than a yes or no answer, and if you’re lucky, the subject of your inquisition will elaborate.
No. 4: Arrive a Few Minutes Early, Never Late They say it’s best to be “fashionably late” when attending a party, but why? Here’s a better tip: When you anticipate experiencing a bout of social anxiety, arrive five minutes early, before the space is filled with guests who look your way as you enter. This way you have time to acclimate to the surroundings, choose a place to stand or sit and prepare to meet guests. Arrive late and you could face an overwhelming introduction process, which is always challenging.
No. 5: Have an Exit Strategy In Place No one has to know if you suddenly feel incapable of surviving a summer party. With an exit strategy in place, you can easily and calmly retreat, making a smooth departure to less hostile territory. Again, it could be as simple as a phone call – as long as you have a plan, you can’t lose.
Remember, social anxiety is real, and not likely to go away without a commitment from you. While you can’t change how you feel, you can change how you react. Explore counseling, seek good advice and quickly expand your arsenal of tools for finally tackling that summer party you’ve been dreading.