Meeting new people and maintaining meaningful relationships can be difficult for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for those with social anxiety. Learning to manage anxiety can help you build confidence and find connection.
Practice by challenging yourself. Try to speak up more in class, strike up a conversation with the cashier at the grocery store, or even host a party.
1. You should learn to accept yourself.
Getting past social anxiety can be hard, but it is possible. It takes patience, courage, and a willingness to try things that might feel uncomfortable at first. It is also important to understand what situations trigger your anxiety. This will help you avoid the people, places, or activities that are likely to make it worse.
It is also important to learn how to challenge unhelpful thoughts and beliefs. These include mindreading (assuming you know what another person is thinking), personalizing (thinking that a social mistake is about you), and fortune-telling (assuming that a social mistake will lead to the worst outcome).
Finally, it is important to remember that other people have the same feelings as you. Many groups exist for people who have social anxiety, and they can be a great place to meet someone who understands what you are going through. These groups can also provide a support system that can help you overcome your fears.
2. You should learn to be yourself.
If you are dating someone, it is important to let them know about your social anxiety before things get too serious. This is not something that you should be embarrassed about, and most people will appreciate your honesty.
For example, you may tell your date that you feel uncomfortable in certain situations, such as being around large groups of people or having dinner at a restaurant. You can also talk about the types of activities that make you most comfortable, such as watching sports or playing games.
You can also explain that you sometimes have difficulty staying focused during conversations because of your anxiety. This can help your partner understand what you are experiencing and give them a better understanding of what you need from them in order to be happy. In addition, you can ask your partner about the things that make them anxious so they can avoid putting you in situations that trigger their anxiety.
3. You should learn to love yourself.
You can’t expect to overcome your social anxiety if you don’t love yourself first. It’s important to take the time to appreciate your strengths and talents. You should also learn to respect yourself and value your opinion. This will help you avoid saying “yes” when you really mean “no”, and it will allow you to set healthy boundaries in your relationships.
People with social anxiety often tell themselves negative things when they’re in a social situation, such as that they’re afraid of looking foolish or making a fool of themselves. These negative thoughts can actually reinforce their fear and make it worse.
It’s important to talk about your anxieties with your partner so they can understand what makes you uncomfortable. It’s also a good idea to discuss what situations will be tolerable with your partner so that you don’t unknowingly put yourself in a situation that triggers your anxiety. A therapist can help you with this process.
4. You should learn to love someone else.
Having social anxiety is not a reason to avoid dating altogether. It is possible to be in a happy and healthy relationship if both people are willing to put in the effort. It is important to understand what triggers your partner and how to support them when they are uncomfortable in public or social situations. This will help to prevent resentment in the future.
For example, if your partner is anxious about going to a restaurant, try suggesting something else for them to do such as having dinner at home or ordering take-out. This will allow them to experience a social situation without feeling so overwhelmed.
Dating is already difficult enough, but if you have social anxiety, it can be even more challenging. The good news is that it’s not impossible to find a loving partner, and you can work on your anxiety with the help of a therapist. Whether you’re struggling with anxiety or you’re dating someone who does, better help can match you with a licensed couples counselor.