For some people, the idea of being in a social setting is comparable to a torture treatment. The anxiety and the pressure to talk one on one or to a group leaves a select few in sheer panic. Understandably, this can create more awkardness and ultimately, shyness - the exact opposite of what was intended.
Here's a few tips to help with being comfortable in a social setting.
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- Prepare. Unless it was an impromptu event, chances are you were aware that you had somewhere to go and people to meet. Rather than waiting till the day of to start getting ready, use the days ahead to your advantage. Figure out what you will wear a few days before the event. Try the outfit on, make sure it fits. If it needs to go to the dry cleaners, drop it off. Pick out the shoes, polish and shine. Women - select your jewelry. Men - pick out your belt, tie and cufflinks. When the day arrives, you will have less anxiety because you will be all dressed up and ready to go.
- GPS. Map out your destination if you have not been there. Determine drive time, factor in possible traffic and avoid any unnecessary stops in advance. Get gas earlier in the day. Need a hostess gift? Buy it in advance. The day of the event, try to keep your travel from Destination A to Destination B. The less stops you have to make, the less stress you will create. You won't feel rushed or pressured because your errands will have all been done.
- Excavate. Do a little digging around about the party and who may be attending. If it's your usual group of friends, ask around and see if anyone is inviting anyone new. If it's a new group, do a little research and find out about the people you know. Google is your friend. Getting a sense of some of the people at the party gives you a comfortablity that they are just people, too. It also helps with ice breakers for striking up conversation.
- Find a Plus One. If you have the option to invite a guest, bring one. It can be a friend of the same or opposite sex. Having someone to accompany you to the soiree will not only help relieve the anxiety, but give you someone to talk to, too. Just be sure to still mix and mingle. Socializing is key.
Use the above tips to lessen the anxiety and that nervousness in the belly. Be yourself, have fun and set out to make a new friend. Don't let anxiety get the best of you. There is someone out there for you to meet. As Carrie Bradshaw advised, "Refuse to settle for anything less than butterflies" - the good ones.