Example of how you can handle your social anxiety
Let´s say that you have been invited to a party. You would actually like to go but you have anxiety about what to say if someone starts to talk with you. You wish that you could talk and have fun like many of the people you know do but instead you get anxiety and you can´t think of anything to say.
You feel that a party situation is like a nightmare where people can start talking with you and you are certain that you will not have anything to say.
Let´s say that you are at the party now and that you sit beside someone that you have not met before.
Example of what you can say to the person sitting next to you:
– How do you know Nils who has the party? Do you know many people here?
– The food is good, I would like to have the recipee since I like to cook, do you like to cook?
– Since you know Nils from work, do you have the same kind of job?
My comments: It is often easier if you ask questions, both because it probably makes you more relaxed since the focus is on someone else, but also because people often like to feel validated so that increases the possibility of a good response.
Be observant that the responsibilty for the conversation is not only yours. If the other person doesn´t contribute to the conversation you can try to be quiet for a while and see what happens. Also ask yourself how interested you are in talking with the other person. Often when you have this problem you forget about your own needs. Also if you feel that you start to panic since you don´t want to talk with the other person, say that you need to go to the restroom, have a glass of water etc.
Finally no matter how you think that you have handled the social situation try to observe your self-critical thoughts and think that you practice on being nice towards yourself. Do something nice towards yourself like call someone you like, buy something small, take a bath etc.
Cognitive Behavior Psychologist Monica Emanell