Everybody gets socially anxious at some point in their lives, even those who seem the most outgoing. It's quite normal to feel that way in determined situations, and parties are no exception. I love partying, I really do. It's one of those things I enjoy the most. I even get excited and spend quite a lot of time planning what I'm going to wear. But let me tell you that sometimes it can be quite appalling and difficult.
When I first left for university, I found myself incapable of talking to other classmates. Eventually I started opening up to new people and attending parties with them. And that’s when anxiety hit. I can’t even express how terrifying it was to be there in the middle of a crowd I didn’t know, attempting to put two words together. If I didn’t talk with my friends I would just stand there and crack an awkward smile whenever someone said something. I’m glad to say I’ve kind of overcome that anxiety and I feel more comfortable whenever I have to socialize with different people, well, at least that’s what I think. So, here are some tips that really came in handy for me.
Don’t use alcohol as an icebreaker
As much as I like having a couple of drinks at parties, try not using it as a potion to lose your inhibition. At the beginning it may sound as a great idea. Because when we're slightly drunk we tend to become more outgoing. The problem is that this isn’t really us socializing with others. The worst part is when you happen to meet these people again when sober. Try starting a conversation while sober, meet the people at the party and, yes, you can share some drinks, and see where it takes you, but you must make your first social moves while you’re fully conscious.
Don’t isolate yourself
You don’t want to be the loner leaning on the wall looking at how others have fun the whole night. First of all, if you’re there, it is because someone invited you, so first stay with that person. Eventually, others will gather around and this is the perfect opportunity to engage in the conversation. See which subjects they’re bringing up are interesting to you or steer the conversation to something you like. If you become an active part of it, you won’t even notice if your friend or the person you came with is still there. Just keep in mind that you're at a party, so you don’t have to talk about the economic situation in the Middle East. Try with simple subjects.
Don’t overthink things
When we’re anxious about attending a social event and we know we’re not good at socializing, we tend to overanalyze everything, and this actually can make us feel way more anxious than actually attending the event. Instead of worrying about being awkward and worrying about being judged, have fun. You don't have to act like anyone else nor should you be constantly thinking that someone is looking at you weirdly.
It’s not a punishment
The most important thing to bear in mind is that this is a party, so you’re supposed to have fun. If you start thinking of it as a burden or a punishment you have to endure even before getting there, you’ll definitely have the worst of times. Parties are events to have fun, to dance a little, socialize a bit, have some drinks, and forget about the nuances of everyday life. Go with that in mind and things will be way easier. That being said, if you start feeling very uncomfortable it's okay not stick it out until the end.
Even if you don’t like these events, at some point in your life you’ll have to attend one. It’s just something you’ll have to do, so the moment you start seeing them for what they are, events to have fun, rather than social nightmares, you’ll definitely have a better time, even if you only plan on going to those you have to attend.
We recommend these:
Songs That Reduce Anxiety According To Science
Differences Between Stress And Anxiety You Should Know
Illustrations by @cuervo_ibañez