Do you have a fear of judgment, fear of crowds, or fear of saying the wrong thing? Perhaps they all make you run the other way. Fear is one thing that can keep you away from situations… Specifically situations where you have to interact with others. While in the short term, avoiding certain situations can relieve your fear, it will only reinforce your social anxiety in the long term. Cause you’re not doing anything about it! But I have some good news for you! There are ways you can cope with socially awkward situations.
#1 Being Taken Advantage of
People with social anxiety often lack assertiveness. They’re afraid of upsetting others or being judged negatively. However, being more assertive can help a lot. It’s a skill that can improve relationships. It lets others know what you need and what you expect. Practice being assertive by stating your needs in a calm way and listening to others’ needs as well. This way, you can reach a compromise.
#2 Blushing In Front of Everyone
Blushing is a common symptom of social anxiety. Whenever you’re singled out or made the center of attention, you probably find that your face flushes red, and you know just how shitty this can be. While you may never completely stop blushing, there is something that might help. Try monitoring your thoughts about the situation. Say things to yourself like, “People are probably not noticing as much as I think they are.”
#3 Panicking if Asked on a Date
Dating can be difficult as is. But it’s much worse when you have social anxiety. You panic just thinking about it! A first date takes the stress of talking to someone, and ramps it up with additional pressure and romantic scrutiny. It’s a good kind of stress, though, at least if your date goes well. If you suffer from social anxiety, it’s best to choose an activity that either gives you something to talk about, or doesn’t require you to talk the whole time. Also, try not to sweat it, even if things get uncomfortable. We’ve all recovered from embarrassing early dating mistakes.
#4 Standing Alone at a Party
Most likely, you don’t even want to go to the party, but your friend coerces you to go. Once you get there, your friend goes off chatting with people, and you find yourself alone. You need to do something, and at this point, small talk will be the key. Making small talk is usually easier if you plan what to say in advance. If you don’t know someone, try topics like weather, news, sports, or you can mention something about the party. But try to keep it positive. If you know the person well, you can mention something that connects the two of you, be it from the past or present. But again, try to keep it somewhat positive. In any case, if you find yourself alone at a party or gathering, look for someone who also seems to be lacking company. Offer an opener such as “Quite the weather we’re having, don’t you think?” Now, this doesn’t sound too original or exciting, but it will be enough to start a conversation.
#5 Talking About Taboo Subjects
People get uncomfortable talking to each other about all sorts of things – money, religion, politics, and so on. Even more so if you have social anxiety. However, there’s a lot we can learn from other perspectives on all topics. The key is to stick to the facts and try to find common ground when discussing controversial subjects.
#6 Not Knowing Any of Your Neighbors
Are you afraid to talk to your neighbors? Perhaps you worry that they have negative thoughts about you. But unless you gave them reason to, this is probably not the case. They don’t even know you! Simply offer a smile or say hello. You can also offer to help. For example, offer to help with groceries or hold the door for them. It’s really that easy.
#7 Having to Use a Public Washroom
You may be very uncomfortable using a public washroom and you find yourself anxious or agitated once you’re in the washroom stall or at the urinal. Sometimes, social anxiety can make it difficult to actually go to the bathroom, as the muscles that control your bowel movements and your ability to urinate can freeze or tighten up. Breathing exercises can help you to feel calm and relaxed, which will then help to loosen up your bladder or bowels and allow you to go. Get in a relaxing head space by putting on headphones and listening to music on your smartphone. You may find it helpful to distract yourself by playing your favorite game on your phone while you let out a big one. This will allow you to focus on the game, rather than your discomfort or embarrassment.
#8 Giving Up on Things Because of Your Social Anxiety
You might be contemplating on starting a new venture, but, your social anxiety keeps getting in the way. You give up before you even try! Don’t give up on your goals because of social anxiety. It’s still possible to achieve what you want in life. Set goals for yourself and work towards them—either by using self-help books or with the help of someone you trust – like a friend, a relative or a professional.
#9 Spending Holidays Alone
Many people with social anxiety feel alone on special days of the year, such as Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and even on their own birthdays. Try making those days feel like any other day of the year. Or, plan something special to do for yourself.
#10 When You Feel Misunderstood
People with social anxiety are often misunderstood by others. You may be asked why you’re so “quiet” or why you don’t speak up more. It’s best to think in advance about how you will respond to this situation the next time it happens. This way you won’t be caught off guard and have nothing to say in reply. You can respond with something like: “I get that a lot. Actually, once you get to know me I can be quite talkative.”
Social anxiety can take over your life. It can control everything you do or don’t do. You probably don’t want to live your entire life this way, so you should consider breaking free from this rut. To get started, do something that is totally out of your comfort zone. Try signing up for a class or an activity that requires you to be around people. The only way you can really conquer a fear is to face it.