9 Hacks To Counter Social Anxiety While In Social Situations And Networking Events.
Social anxiety is one of the commonest problem affecting many of us. As per NIHM, at least 12.1% of adults in the United States experience social anxiety at some point in life. People having social anxiety are struggling to cope with social situations. Some of them developed coping tricks but some are still don’t know what to do when in social situations.
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WHT IS SOCIAL ANXIETY?
Social anxiety is nothing but fear of crowded places or fear of unknown people or fear of performing in front of a crowd aka performance anxiety. Social anxiety is also called social phobia or social anxiety disorder.
Symptoms of social anxiety are people feel shy, nervous, awkward, and panicked in situations like social gatherings, get together, family functions, networking events, business meetings, and conferences.
In extreme cases they feel panicked, their hands and legs start shaking, the mouth gets dry, the heart starts pounding, and cold sweat. They also get the symptoms of anxiety disorder.
They often unable to find out the reason, that why they feel anxious in social situations and why they afraid to go out in crowded places?
Once started the feeling is uncontrollable. As soon as they reach between people they start getting symptoms. So, to avoid this feeling they try their best to avoid going out or If in case they need to go and can’t avoid, in this case, they either try to escape as soon as possible or stay quietly in the outskirt of the function.
WHAT CAUSES THE SOCIAL ANXIETY?
The root cause of social anxiety is the fear of being judge and fear of judgemental people. A person has subconscious fear that people will judge him for his weakness and disabilities or they will pass some demeaning comment on him If he fails to do something or if he does something stupid activity.
For example, he fears that if he makes mistakes while presentation, or while making speeches at the events or conference people may judge him and demean him or people will criticize him if he fails to win the game or an argument.
This fear leads to toxic shame. They feel extreme shame in being judged and getting criticized. Which eventually leads to avoiding crowded places like social gatherings, networking events, family functions, and conferences.
In extreme cases, a person feels anxious even by thinking about going to crowded places. Even with a simple thought, they get nervous, start cold sweating, the heart starts pounding, hands and legs start shaking.
But no matter how much social anxiety you have, there are some social instances where you can’t avoid going to crowded places such as get-togethers, family functions, meetings, school, college or office, etc.
And in these events, there is always a possibility that you may have to host a function or raise a toast or make a presentation or perform in the skit.
Though this seems dead difficult, every time you cannot give an excuse but you have to find a way to tackle your problem.
Maybe you are consulting with a doctor or therapist for the treatment of social anxiety. But until you get total confidence you have to find out the hack to attend to the social situation without being anxious.
It is also for the people who are not anxious in social situations but sometimes gets nervous especially in large functions and when you don’t know anyone out there.
Here are some effective tricks you can use to tackle your social anxiety in social situations,
1. PRIORITIZE YOUR PRESENCE.
You can prioritize your presence in the functions, you do not have to attend every function or social situation. Set your priority to which social situation you can avoid and to which situation you have to go anyhow.
You have to find out the social places you really don’t enjoy going to. Suppose you don’t like going to bars, clubs,s and get together. On the other hand, there are social places where you feel happy to go such as family functions, shopping mall, park, school, college, library, etc.
You can easily choose the social instances where you will feel comfortable and you can avoid the instances where you feel anxious and where your attendance is not important. No one can force you to do that.
Prioritizing your presence can help you to lessen the anxiety.
2. CHOOSE YOUR PEOPLE.
If there is a social instance where you can’t help but you have to go at any cost. No problem, don’t avoid it just go and attend it with full confidence. Do only one thing, choose your people and make your team.
After reaching the functions first thing you have to do is search for people with whom you will feel comfortable, those who are not judgemental and are well behaved.
If possible, go along with them from before reaching the function. Because if you accompanied them from home, there are fair chances that he will stay with you throughout that event and back home.
You will feel safe and less anxious while hanging out with such people.
If you try to hang out on your own you will feel lonely and like an alien who came to an unknown place.
So whenever you got a chance to attend such functions, choose your safe people and form your team.
You may also like to read, TOP 6 REASONS WHY YOU FEEL LOST IN LIFE AND CAREER AND HOW TO BOUNCE BACK.
3. FIND THE SAFE SPOT FOR YOU.
If you are alone in the function and you don’t have anyone with whom you can talk and hang out, find a safe spot where you can hang out for the rest of the time after finishing your work. The place where you feel safe and less anxious. This will help you to lessen your anxiety.
4. IF ALONE BE THE INITIATOR OF CONVERSATION.
If you are alone, bored, and anxious in a social event and don’t have anyone whom you personally know, take a lead and be the first to start the conversation.
Initially, you will feel awkward and anxious but if the person in front responded well your anxiety will vanish into the thin air and both of you may develop a good rapport. That way you can kill your time as well as make some new friends.
If he doesn’t respond to you positively or neglect you, do not take it personally just move on and try with someone else.
But more chances that you will get a positive response. Because people feel valued if you approach them to talk and initiate the conversation. Another reason is they may be someone like you who is lonely or anxious or both, who don’t know what to do and waiting for someone to approach and talk.
But don’t bore people. If you think they are not interested to listen change the topic or cut the conversation. This will help you to desensitize your social anxiety.
5. DONOT JUMP TO THE CONCLUSION.
You have social anxiety because you have fear of judgemental people. You think that they will judge you for your flaws and your mistakes. This thought makes you more and more anxious.
But it could be just your thought only and people don’t think like this about you. Maybe they have good vibes for you and like to talk and hang out with you. You just have to stop to jumping onto the conclusion.
Everyone has their own problems and anxieties. They are not free to think about you; you are the one who is making this problem sound bigger. Don’t overthink it until you heard or experience it all by yourself.
6. BE OPTIMISTIC AND REASONABLE.
Reframe the situation in positive ways. For example, attending a function may increase your social confidence, maybe you will add new friends to your list, maybe you will get a new lead for your business. This can also happen; it is not necessary that you will get a bad experience every time.
Be reasonable only believe in things you heard yourself and not on imagination.
7. TRY AND FAIL.
Confrontation and desensitization can gradually help you to get over social anxiety.
But until and unless you face the situation there are thin chances that you get over it.
The day you realize that this social anxiety thing is more in your head and no one even bothers about you, you will get confident.
When you realize that no one is judging you will feel relieved. But for that, you have to try desensitization deliberately. So, it is better to try and fail than not trying only.
Though you are anxious and reluctant to attend I suggest you to go and take part actively. Prepare yourself for good and bad experiences that you may get. Don’t take anything personally.
After a few attempts, you will find out that your anxiety is gradually falling and you are getting more and more confident in social situations. Face your fears, prepare for consequences just don’t try to control them.
8. BE YOURSELF.
As Vanessa explained in the book “CAPTIVATE” that, fake it till make it won’t work in this condition.
People will easily find out that you are faking your emotion to cover up your true emotion. Because of that they will either stay away from you or start feeling awkward when around you as they don’t know how to deal with this.
Instead of hiding your original emotion, be honest with yourself. When in the function you can reveal it to a safe person.
When you open up about yourself chances are people will also open up about themselves. It will help you to create a good repo with them.
9. PREPARE THROUGHLY.
If you have performance anxiety. Prepare yourself thoroughly in advance for your presentation, write down the script, practice at home. This will minimize the mistakes and make you confident.
Join the toastmaster to learn what to say while raising a toast.
It is fear of being judges or fear of judgmental people. These people have subconscious fear the people will judge and demean them for their flaws and mistakes.
Social anxiety or social phobia is caused by an extreme fear of being judged by other people or fear of unknown people.
Advice and treatment from licensed practitioners and counselors will always remain the first choice. But until you get it cured you have to find out the coping hacks.
Here are the 9 hacks which will help you to counter your social anxiety while in a social situation,
1. Prioritize your presence.
2. choose your people.
3. Find the safe spot for you.
4. If alone be the initiator of conversation.
5. Do not jump to a conclusion.
6. Be optimistic and reasonable.
7. Try and fail.
8. Be yourself.
9. Prepare thoroughly.