Parties can be fun with catching up with old friends and making some new ones. However, for a person dealing with social anxiety, a social gathering can be extremely unnerving! It starts with them wanting to say ‘no’ to every party invite they get. They find peace in the boundaries of their homes because that is their territory.
A person dealing with social anxiety often feels elusive and under the spotlight. They feel that no matter what they do, their every move is embarrassing. The talking, the not talking, the dancing, the eating, the drinking, even their entry into and exit from the party is a cause of embarrassment. From sweaty palms, and shivering legs to complete blackout in front of eyes and palpitations, social anxiety can be very difficult. If these symptoms resonate with your feelings of going to a party, this article will help you counter the problem. So that, next time when you get a party invite, it would be a rather joyful and exciting thing, rather than an anxious one.
Often seen as a trivial thing, social anxiety is one of the most common problems of mental health. Acknowledging it as a problem can be the first step in the direction of dealing with it. Do not negate that you have a social anxiety disorder. Looking at it as a problem will help you solve it. Here are the tips to cope with social anxiety at a party:
Don’t say no to a party
It all starts with taking a deep breath in and saying yes to the party. Your mind might tell you a thousand reasons for not going because that is where your comfort zone lies. However, if you want to break a pattern, you must do that by having an affirmative attitude towards the party and just saying, ‘yes’.
Try to know if there is any dress code for the party. And if there is one, adhere to it. However, if the dress code is not known, make sure you choose an attire keeping the time of the get-together, the occasion, the time of the year, and general liking of the host in mind. Once, you know what you are going to wear, half the battle is won as you are ready to lay the first impression right.
Don’t set unrealistic goals
More often than not, when people are frightened by the thought of going to a party, it is because they have really high expectations of themselves. Since partying is not in their comfort zones, they think they might end up embarrassing themselves, making a complete fool out of themselves in front of others. In such cases, set smaller and more achievable goals. For one, you do not have to be at the party until dawn, you can stay for an hour and make a pleasing exit. Another thing is that you do not have to be friends with the whole bunch present at the party. Set a goal of saying hello to just three people. Meeting new people will help you alleviate that feeling of anxiety and will help you know that it is not difficult to talk to new people.
Don’t drown yourself in alcohol
Alcohol is often seen as a way to ease things out and relax the worked-up mind. However, barring one or two drinks, if your idea is to get sloshed, it is best advised to maintain abstinence. As per studies, too much alcohol can be a reason for increased anxiety and sadness in people. Therefore, it might be a good idea to get a break from alcohol and concentrate on non-alcoholic drinks available, as also the scrumptious food being served at the party.
Take a friend along
In case, you have been invited to a party where you do not know even a single soul, it could be a good idea to take a friend along. Not only will you have somebody to hold a conversation with, but you might also actually end up having a great time at the party. Make sure you chose somebody you have known for years. This way, you can ask him/her to push you out of your comfort zone and help you meet new people at the party.
Counter that anxiety
There might come a point during the party when your social anxiety gets the better of you. Do not panic. This is the time when you can show anxiety who is the boss! It will take 15 to 20 minutes before the symptoms of anxiety dissipate. So, tell yourself that the unnerving feeling will not last forever. You can excuse yourself to an open area or even a restroom and practice deep breathing to let the anxiety pass by.
Apart from deep breathing, you can also try getting hold of the situation by:
- Looking around
- Spotting five things that you can see
- Touching four things
- Hearing three sounds
- Smelling two things
- Tasting one thing
This ‘Grounding’ practice will help you level your existence when things seem to be getting better of you. When somebody is getting an anxiety attack, their brain stops working. It almost shuts down and makes them feel elusive. Remember to tell yourself, ‘This too shall pass’ as you practice the above exercise. Before you know, you will find yourself in control of the situation.
These tips to cope with social anxiety at a party will help you get a hold of the situation no matter which social gathering you might be a part of. Be it an after office casual gathering with colleagues, a baby shower, or just a birthday bash, social anxiety can crop up anywhere. However, next time you get an invite, graciously accept it and go with the flow. Remember, the focus should be to enjoy yourself and live it up. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, go one step at a time to counter the problem and tell it ‘who is the boss’!