If you’ve ever felt nervous or tense before interacting in or during social situations, chances are you’ve experienced social anxiety to some degree. Don’t feel singled out, most people experience social anxiety at some point in their lives. These feelings can come as a result of countless social interactions, such as during a job interview, an important presentation, or a first time meeting. Whatever the case may be, it’s normal to feel a bit anxious beforehand. The important thing is you don’t let it overpower your ability to enjoy and interact in social situations.
If you feel that it’s becoming too much of a problem in your life, here are a few tips to help you overcome social anxiety.
Ask Yourself “Why?”
Often times you’ll find that you can reason with yourself that the things that make you anxious really have no backing to them. You can start by identifying what exactly it is that’s making you feel anxious in the first place. After you’ve done that, do your best to think rationally. For example, if you’re feeling anxious for a job interview because you think you might perform poorly, ask yourself why you think that? If you’ve done the proper preparation, you can take comfort in knowing that you’ve done all you could to prepare the best version of yourself.
Don’t Focus on Anticipation
Anticipation is what causes many of us the most grief when it comes to social interactions. The feeling alone can make us want to back out of these situations. The key here is to be wary of this, and to focus less on the anticipation and focus more on the action itself. What I mean by this is to practice “thinking” less, and “doing” more. By taking action and engaging in social situations, often times you’ll feel more comfortable during the actual interaction (as opposed to the anticipation itself). Not only this, but we tend to become better at socializing the more we do it. Once you get “warmed up”, it comes easier.
Visualize the Worst-Case Scenario
Though each of these strategies can be more effective than others (based on the individual), this one helps me the most. If you’re feeling anxious before entering a social interaction of any kind, try to visualize the worst-case scenario. For instance, if I am going to meet someone for the first time. The worst-case scenario could be that I make a poor first impression, or perhaps the person won’t like me. Will it be the end of the world if either of these things happen? Of course not! Once you are able to accept the fact that you’ll be able to overcome any worst-case scenario, your anxiety may dissipate altogether.
I hope some of these pointers help you in your future social interactions. Like many other things in life, you get better the more you practice. You’ll also find that by continuously putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, your confidence will grow and you’ll find those uncomfortable situations few and far between. Ultimately, social interaction can be something to look forward to and enjoy, as long as you’re able to manage your social anxiety properly. Do you have any other ways you like to manage your social life? Please feel free to let us know!