Christmas season is approaching fast, and with it, parties galore. While many people are excited about going to parties, those like me, with social anxiety are not to so enthusiastic. It's actually moderately terrifying. You may be able to get out of most of the Christmas parties, but maybe you can't get out of one of them, or you don't want to be kept out of the loop. For whatever reason, you're going to a Christmas party. Leading up to it, you might not be nervous, you might not even be nervous until you ring the doorbell. If you've got social anxiety though, you'll probably get really anxious/feel awkward at least one point during the party. This list is up so you can mentally prepare for, and push yourself through those parties.
- Christmas is a great time, and there are lots to look forward to. While parties aren't the most fun thing to do when you have anxiety, maybe these tips will help you to feel more comfortable. I hope that they gave you a little more confidence, and helped you get a new perspective. Maybe you'll even see parties as fun after this! Finally, remember that this party is not the end of the world. Even if it was the worst party you've ever been to, it's probably more enjoyable than say, spilling boiling hot cocoa on your arm. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, all!
Calming down by breathing
If you start to get overwhelmed at the noise or meeting new people, or how you think people are portraying you, close your eyes and breathe. Slow your breathing, it'll slow your heart rate, and instantly make you feel a little better. If that doesn't work, find some tea/cocoa. They probably have it at a Christmas party. Just breathe into it and ignore all surroundings. Focus on the smell, the feel of the steam, then the taste. Focusing on smaller things can help you calm down very quickly.
Bring a friend alongFour Person Standing on Cliff in Front of Sun · Free Stock Photo
Bringing a close friend, or someone that you're able to talk to can give you the confidence of numbers. When it's more than just you, you're protected. You know that he/she'll have your back, and support you. They'll be there if you need them, and give you a hug if you need it. Just remember to give back to them, so it's not a one-sided friendship. Make sure they know that you're there for them too!
Talk to one person you didn't knowFour Group of People Smiling and Laughing Together · Free Stock Photo
Breaking out of your comfort zone can actually help you feel more comfortable at the party. If one of the first things you do is initiate a conversation with someone, the rest of the night, when they initiate conversation or ask you questions, it'll be easy. You've already done something scarier.
Avoid judge-y PeopleStress Handwritten Text on White Printer Paper · Free Stock Photo
Try to avoid people that are going to stress you out, because it'll make your time there infinitely more enjoyable, and more fun. If you don't talk to the people who bring you down, you're a step higher than you could be. This doesn't always work, because sometimes they start the conversation. If this happens, do not panic. Calmly and politely excuse yourself to the bathroom.
If they talk to you again and start to criticize you/bring you down, there arenod your head and tune out. Listen to a different conversation, or think about one thing about them. Do they have a nice dress on? Is there makeup good? Does their hair look good? Are their shoes unique? Compliment them on it! They'll be so stunned they'll start talking about themselves, or they'll stop talking. Either way, the focus is off of you! Whether it's an "enemy" of yours or a relative who won't stop asking why you don't have a date, stop them politely, and say something nice to them, or even ask them a question. Once the focus is off of you, you can relax, and maybe learn an interesting fact about that person!
People don't care if you're weird/will forget conversation
If you've got anxiety like mine, you often lie awake in bed, thinking about how awkward, loud, or just plain stupid you were at an event. You think about how all your friends must hate you because you were so odd. This sometimes limits me to talking only to a close friend as 'weird' as I am. I push myself to a corner and just say light conversation, instead of getting into actual details, and making closer friends. I've got a piece of information for you, and it's one that I just started getting over. Now, you probably already know this, but might need a little reassurance about it. Nobody's gonna remember.
When I'm thinking back to how weird I was, I never think about my friends. I barely remember what they were wearing, let alone how they acted or what they said. Chances are, the same thing's happening with your friends. Most people are too focused on what they're going to say next, where they're going to go next, to even take into account what you're doing or saying. (Trust me, I've been awkward enough times to know that this is true). And even if they were paying attention to you, the awkward comment or gesture that you made didn't phase them, or stand out to them.
Make a checklist/'plan of attack'Click Pen on Notebook Beside Chronograph Watch · Free Stock Photo
If you're already spiraling down, you need your focus away from the center of your anxiety. Make a plan or a goal about where you're going to go, what you're going to do, who you are thinking about talking to. It could be a mental checklist, or you could write it in the Notes app on your phone. It doesn't matter where you put it, but it will probably help if you make one. The plan helps your brain because a.) it distracts you, and b.) gives you a goal; a structured order of events. It's not a big, scary party with no organization or aforethought. Having a goal also makes you feel more accomplished, as you're able to look at the small victories you made. You could also make a plan beforehand so that if things start getting bad, you'll know what to do to calm yourself.
Take a step backFrozen Trees during Winter · Free Stock Photo
Stepping away for a minute can do wonders. Feel free to slip out the door into the cold winter air. I find that this does so much for mental rejuvenation. I step outside and think about how calm it is. If we're in a neighborhood, you can look at the beautiful lights and decorations that other people set up. There's no shame in stepping back. Whenever you're ready you can head right back inside!
Have no fear of leaving earlyGreen and White Wreath on Black Door · Free Stock Photo
If the party gets to be too much for you, and all else has failed, there is no shame in leaving early. If you watch the door, people are probably coming in and out frequently. You're not locked into the room, and you're not trapped by social etiquette. Don't stress yourself out more by feeling like you cannot leave. You can. Don't feel ashamed or awkward about it, just nod and wave to the person hosting the party, and exit. If it's easier, of course, you could wait until a person, or a family is walking out, and join them so you're not the only one leaving. Again, it's better to leave early, than to stay, and make yourself more anxious or stressed.
Christmas is a great time, and there are lots to look forward to. While parties aren't the most fun thing to do when you have anxiety, maybe these tips will help you to feel more comfortable. I hope that they gave you a little more confidence, and helped you get a new perspective. Maybe you'll even see parties as fun after this! Finally, remember that this party is not the end of the world. Even if it was the worst party you've ever been to, it's probably more enjoyable than say, spilling boiling hot cocoa on your arm. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, all!