Have you ever felt so nervous about attending a party that your stomach felt butterflies at the mere thought of it? I get so anxious where I have to go to an even where I don’t know anyone. I worry I will look silly. I worry I’ll say the wrong thing. I worry and worry and worry.
If you worry like I do, you really have two options:
- Avoid social situations your entire life and live in a cave as a hermit. (With the internet, this really isn’t such a bad option.)
- Face it and go all in.
I am a recovering shy girl. I say “recovering” because I still struggle from time to time with social anxiety. However, now I use a few confidence hacks to get me through a lot of socializing. Let’s start with the basics.
Choose Your Clothing Carefully
If I wear a shirt that doesn’t fit right, I am going to be tugging on that thing all night. Also, I will think everybody else notices it too and I will feel the need to apologize for my clothing. Clothes are one of the biggest confidence builders I’ve found. So find something you love. Pick a piece that you always get compliments on and wear that.
As a added note, make sure the outfit is clean a few days beforehand. That always gets me. I plan on wearing something and then find it stuffed in the bottom of my hamper on the morning of the event. Or better yet, create a smaller wardrobe and you’ll never deal with that problem again.
All about that Face
Well, more specifically, your voice and where your eyes are. Let me show what I mean:
The biggest shift for me was when I realized one thing:
It’s not about me. It’s about everyone else.
Truly. Everyone else is just as concerned about what others are thinking as you are. Some just do a better job concealing it. Then there are those lucky few who don’t really care what others think. I truly believe that is the key to happiness, but until I reach that point, I always try to keep conversations focused on the other person through:
How many times are you in a conversation and you realize that you are not paying attention to what the other person is saying? Instead, you are trying to rack your brain for what you are going to say next. I fear awkward pauses but, conversations become extremely pointless if this is all you are doing. Even worse, they’re incredibly stressful.
So instead, I try to summarize what the other person is saying and respond to that in some way. It can be as simple as,
“Ya, I understand why you liked that movie. That scene was pretty awesome” or
“I can’t believe Shonda Rimes did that either!! I’m never watching Grey’s Anatomy again!” (Sorry… a little bit of rage left on that one.)
I ask a lot of questions. Really easy questions to start conversation. The more I focus on another person, the less freaked out I am. I usually ask,
“Where are you from?’
“What did you do this weekend?”
“Do you have kids?” (Because once I know someone has kids, there is a mountain of conversation topics right there)
While attending events alone still makes me queasy, these little tricks help me a lot. When I pick a comfortable outfit, control my voice and keep my attention focused on other people, I find that I appear to be a lot more confident than I feel. Dare I say, I actually enjoy myself.
What do you do to keep your nerves under control?