Social anxiety can be a lonely place and lead to feelings of isolation, can cause a loss of relationships, and lead to a significant amount of stress. I have had social anxiety since around the time I hit double figures. If, like me, you’d like to minimise the impact that this has on your professional and social life, here are a few tips to consider.
Note: if you’re very happy with where you’re at with your anxiety and have no interest in making a change to how much social interaction you have, please ignore this post – I’m certainly not going to judge you, and nor should anyone else.
- Diarise your communication
By committing to reach out to someone in writing it becomes a lot harder to keep putting it off. It will also give you some time for your brain to think about what you want to say, reducing the time you’ll spend writing the message and that post-send anxiety.
It’s almost impossible to volunteer your time without being exposed to new people. Not only will the warm and fuzzy feeling of helping people counterbalance your feelings of anxiety, but people who volunteer are on the whole just a bit nicer than the average human meaning there’s a greater chance of finding people you actually want to spend time with.
- Leverage social media
Before attending an event, particularly one where you may have to network (the worst), look up the names of the panelists and also some of the attendees if possible. Give these people a google or search for their social media profiles; use this as research to come up with some easy ice-breakers or topics of conversation when your mind inevitably goes blank