I have various parties and events coming up which will put me in situations where I will need to be socialising with a lot of people at once. Pre-Rupert I also used to find this nerve-wracking but going out where I know there are going to be crowds now fills me with panic! So here are my top tips for dealing with the anxiety:
- Wear something comfortable – I don’t mean trackies, but wear something you know that you normally feel great in. Now is not the time to change your “look”! That way, even when you get that common “I feel terrible” feeling, you know that you will actually look ok.
- Pre plan your questions! This is a winner for me as it means that when you are chatting to people and your brain and your mouth really struggle to connect in a sensible way, you have pre-planned at least 3 questions that you may have even practiced in the mirror. Remember you don’t have to go too complex, just 3 easy questions that will start you off – when you get into the conversation you will start to relax:
- “Isn’t the weather terrible today?”
- “Where did you get your outfit from, it’s gorgeous”
- “How do you know x person?”
- Talk really slowly – Talking slowly is actually really important as you may find, like me, when someone asks you a question you are rushing so much to answer them that your answer doesn’t actually make sense as all the words come out in a funny order. I do this so often and then my anxiety increases tenfold after as I feel like a complete muppet. So speak slowly, you will actually find that for the person listening this doesn’t feel too slow, so relax into it. This one is something that takes practice and a level of confidence, so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen overnight.
- Take a regular time out – This one also needs to be considered as you don’t want to take so many that the host thinks you are being really rude, but it is important as you want to be able to have some time to take a deep breath and shake off the nervous energy before round 2. Having kids helps as you can go off with them for a little bit and re-connect, but even if you don’t, go to the toilet wash your wrists with really cold water and then say in the mirror “You can do it” before you go out again.
- Put your game face on – This is essential. Without sounding mean, no one wants someone who looks like they are about to burst into tears at their party – so go in there and own it. Yes it won’t feel comfortable, yes when you go for your time out you will probably cry but you have got this. “Fake it until you make it” is the only motto that works in this situation.
Yes this is all so much easier than said – but I promise you that if I can do it, then you can do it too. You may not be able to sleep for a week before the event worrying about it, but as much as you can, practice the steps above as it will help you on the day.
What else do you do in a social situation to help your anxiety?