The following list of advice was compiled based on Facebook comments on social anxiety advice. It seems that the top advice given was to put yourself out there, pretend to be someone more confident than yourself, have an escape plan (but don’t use it), and reclaim control in some manner.
Here are 15 tips to consider if you are looking for social anxiety advice.
1. Put yourself out there.
“What I won’t allow myself to do is avoid all socialization. I tell myself to try it. If I survive 15 minutes and build up from that I’m doing great. I know there is always the option to leave but I need to give things a chance. There’s good people in the world and I won’t meet them staying inside.”
“The best way to overcome a fear of something is to just go do that something. Like ripping off a band-aid. I never wanted a job that required public speaking and now I do it all the time. Was it painful at first? Yes. But it did get easier.”
“I force myself to go. Sometimes my husband talks me into it. In my mind, it’s called growing pains for a reason. I can’t grow and be better if I never leave my comfort zone. Has it been hard? Hell yes. Has it been worth it? Hell yes.”
2. Take small steps.
“Set a goal for a realistic duration of attendance and try to stick to it. ”
3. Don’t be afraid to get the help of professionals.
“Therapy, mindfulness based therapy and skills learning will vastly improve your social anxiety.”
4. Find a support group.
“I once joined a meet up group for people with social anxiety & was good because every one was accepting & understanding. It was kind of ironic though.”
5. Set goals.
“Setting goals helps too. You can say I’m going to give it 60 minutes or I’m going to get out once a week for 45 minutes.”
“Sometimes I pretend to be a friend who seems very socially adept. I ask myself what she would do in this situation and then I do that.”
“Believe that you are a social stud. Lie to yourself and tell yourself how much you like those situations. Anxiety gives you anxiety about having anxiety. Just do it. Uncomfortable is just a feeling. Just like math or English or science or anything else that is learned, being comfortable in social situations can be/is learned.”
“I usually shift into my “customer service” persona. Since I have spent most of my life working customer service, its the most comfortable mask to wear.”
“Pretend you are an actor performing & fake it till you make it.”
“What I did was change my entire life. Moved away, started afresh, pretended to be somebody confident. It bloody worked.”
7. Have a wing person.
“Where possible, have someone you know at the social gathering with you who knows and understands your anxiety. If you need to leave, find them, let them know and they can handle letting people know you’ve left so you don’t feel obligated to make the rounds to say goodbye when you’ve already hit your breaking point.”
8. Have an escape plan.
“I find that if I have an ‘escape’ plan that i’m comfortable with, then I usually feel comfortable enough to not have to escape.”
“Telling yourself you don’t have to go can take the edge off. It’s ok to go and it’s ok not to go.”
“If you need to retreat to collect yourself, make sure you have a safe place to find the solitude you need (your car, the bathroom, etc.).”
“If, upon arrival, you make it clear you are only there for a little while because you have another engagement/ previously scheduled obligation, it will allow for you to leave without too much fuss. If things are going well and you want to stay longer, you can say things got postponed/delayed so you can stay a bit longer.”
9. Three deep breaths.
“For any anxiety. My first step is 3 deep breaths. Fill your belly, then lungs, and hold at your throat for a second or two. The exhale deeply and fully, empty from your throat to you belly. My dr told me when anxiety starts, you automatically start the short lung breaths that never make it to you belly. Then you can’t focus your mind, b/c it’s now in flight or fight mode. This helps me quite a bit. It’s not a cure, but it helps.”
10. People don’t care.
“Other people are mostly interested in their own life. be kind to yourself.”
“Don’t take yourself so seriously. People are often more worried about themselves than you.”
“No one is giving you the attention you think they are.”
11. Go out to a restaurant by yourself.
“Go out to eat to a local restaurant solo every once in a while. Start sitting in booths or tables and then eventually choose to sit at the bar. It’s a great way to work yourself into feeling more comfortable slowly.”
12. Be prepared.
“I do my best to let those close to me know that I need extra time to prepare for social events and I prefer they be able to give me a rough estimate of the number of people in attendance and if there are people I dont know, so I can extra prepare.”
“Run the scenario through your mind. What is the event going to be like? Who’s going to be there? What is expected? Walk through things logically. If your anxiety pops up with a “but what about xyz?” or “but abc could happen!” walk through those scenarios also. ”
13. Buy a book.
14. Tell people.
“I’ve found that admitting to, or telling people that I have social anxiety has helped me.”
15. Reclaim control.
“Dont let it bully you. Put it in its place.”
“Your brain is lying to your body. Recognize it’s happening and that’s half the battle.”
“I have at times given my anxiety a personality, it’s scary and dark and then I imagine it as something silly and try to laugh at it, you can’t be bullied by a fluffy puppy or kitten.”
“When I feel a panic attack coming on I try to distract myself by engaging my brain.
I have someone ask me questions about something I need to think about before I answer. Like “How do you bake a cake?” or “What did you do last summer?” Thinking about the answer and then telling it gets my mind onto a “different track” and I calm down.”
Do you have top tips in terms of social anxiety advice?