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How To Handle Social Anxiety

It sucks balls being an anxious person. You're great when you're with your friends but there are certain scenarios that you just naturally find difficult. These anxieties make things very difficult but there are ways to get past them that mostly involve throwing yourself headfirst in which is way, way easier said than done. It takes practice and time to get used to something you aren't comfortable with so don't worry about messing up the next time.

1. Public Speaking

Public speaking is a classic and probably shared by the most people. It doesn't necessarily have to be on a stage, it can just be when someone asks you to retell a story or if you're giving a presentation. All that you can really do is rehearse what you're gonna say, even if it's just thinking a sentence ahead at a time. Deep breath beforehand, and speak slowly to avoid word vomit. After one or two you'll get into the swing of it and it shouldn't be a problem to do without a large swig of whiskey beforehand.

2. Big Crowds

Big crowds can be pretty terrifying to be around, it's just too hectic and there's far too many people around you at once. It can really be a problem because it makes it so hard to enjoy things like festivals or concerts. It helps to remember that they're all just individual people, and if necessary just imagine them as singular rather than as a large group. Don't worry about bumping into people when trying to navigate it, it's just one of the hazards of being in a crowd.

3. New People

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It's nice to meet new people, especially if you tend to keep to yourself. One thing I find handy is to remember that you aren't going to hit it off with absolutely everyone you meet. Some people just won't understand each other. If it's the silence that bothers you, learn a few go-to questions and small talk. Ask if they've ever seen whatever tv show, the weather, what they do, things like that. It'll fill the silence and give you a lot of freedom to move the conversation.

4. People You Fancy

People tell you to be yourself when approaching someone you like but what about when you're a brooding, awkward recluse that panics a lot? People like us need a different approach. One thing I find handy is to try and ignore the fact that you like them when you start talking. Think of them as just another one of your friends that you don't wanna marry and make 18 children with. Thinking like that will only put self inflicted pressure on you. It's a lot easier for us to be ourselves when we ignore the panic.

5. Cashiers

Maybe it's because the cashier always looks really pissed off, like they're just waiting for the chance to give out to someone. In reality they just look that way because they want to go home. Take it from someone who has worked in retail. We see a lot of people do a lot of stupid stuff but we never remember any of it because there's just too much for any human to remember. When you fumble with your wallet we won't really take notice of it. Don't worry about the people behind you, it feels like you're wasting a lot more time than you actually are and panicking is just gonna make it much worse.

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6. People Looking At You

You notice someone looking at you, or in your general direction. Suddenly you're all self conscious and now a little paranoid, whatever you were doing is now ruined by it. It's not as bad as you think. There's no need to be so self conscious, for all you know they were checking you out, or if they might just be looking at what you're looking at. I find it easier to just quickly assess if there's anything on my face then assume they were checking me out. You're never gonna know so you may as well think the best.

7. Eating

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Eating is difficult, especially when you're in college cafeterias or worst is on a date. You feel the need to take these tiny little bites so nobody thinks you're a pig, your eyes are directly looking at your food and you're really conscious of the amount on the plate. It seems like a tonne of food when you get nervous because everything gets worse when you're nervous. For the most part people are only gonna be looking at their own food or whoever's directly in front of them. Eating and staring at someone to the left of you makes them the weird ones, not you. You paid for the food so eat it all. Think about anything else and your subconscious brain will do the the eating for you.

8. Authority Figures

Anyone in an authority status is applicable here. When speaking to a lecturer it can be terrifying. They know what they're talking about and you just don't wanna be wrong. In reality they have hundred and hundreds of student and you getting something wrong isn't going to drive them insane, they probably get that in every single class. Just answer if you can, the only person that's going to care is you.

9. Being Indecisive

Nobody likes making a decision that turns to shit. The problem here is that you think every single decision is going to turn to shit no matter how small. The worst is when you're put on the spot and have to decide quickly. I would suggest taking your time with it. Even if it's which chocolate bar you wanna get take the time to consider. If you really need to decide quickly then go with whatever your instinct says, your brain has already decided what it wanted but it's just the social anxiety making you second guess yourself. In the end whatever decision you're making probably isn't going to lead to the end of the world.

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10. Bathrooms

Bathrooms I believe are worse for men. At least in the women's you've your own stall and you don't have to stand beside someone with your junk out. Both can appreciate the fear of holding it in until you get home in case you make a lot of noise doing your biz. The thing to remember is that nobody is paying attention to you peeing. The rules are eyes forward at the wall or firmly on your own junk. If anyone deviates from that then they're the weird ones, not you.

 

 

Video: Social Anxiety & Prank Call | #AskZoella

 

 

Credit: Zoella

Sean Quigley

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