Social Anxiety Solutions

Social anxiety can keep you sitting at home. Our solutions help you get out and forge connections that build your well-being.

It appears in your inbox without warning: an e-vite to a holiday party! Hosted by a co-worker you barely know. Also on the guest list: 25 strangers.

For many extroverts, this is the stuff dreams are made of. What a great opportunity to meet lots of future friends! But if you’re more wallflower than social butterfly, a party invitation may cause a few, well…butterflies.

If you’re an introvert, the very idea of mingling with the masses can be exhausting. If you’re shy, imagining a sea of strangers adds an element of fear to an otherwise festive season. If you suffer from social anxiety, the thought of walking into a roomful of unfamiliar faces may instill terror in your heart.

“Uncomfortable” is how one Chicago man describes time spent at gatherings. When he was growing up, says Tim Ocampo [not his real name], his strict parents wouldn’t let him attend parties. When he finally had the freedom at college to go out, he often found he didn’t know what to do or say.

“Since I wasn’t exposed to these events, I didn’t feel like I developed those [social] skills,” recalls the 35-year-old, who would often latch onto one person for the entire night.

These days, he’s selective about what events he chooses to attend. And when he’s in the thick of it, he gives himself a pep talk: “If I was invited to the party in the first place, I must offer something of value. I’m there for a reason, and whatever perspective I have is appreciated.”

Honing your interpersonal skills and bulking up your self-confidence are just two of the useful strategies that make social encounters more manageable. Not so helpful: Avoiding them altogether. 

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