May 28, 2020

Social Anxiety: Taking The Stress out of Meeting New People

Us humans all have a desire to connect with each other on a deeper level. To create meaningful and lasting relationships and friendships. Ones that feel supportive and nourishing. To have a shoulder to lean on, and someone to have inside jokes with.

Unfortunately, the feeling of social anxiety often looms over us, keeping people from going out there and making these connections. 

What’s The Deal?

Social anxiety (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/social-anxiety-disorder-more-than-just-shyness/index.shtml) can range from mild to total phobia, and affects an estimated 7.1% (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/social-anxiety-disorder.shtml) of adults in the U.S. 

Even for someone who doesn’t have full blown social anxiety disorder, meeting new people can be nerve wracking. 

Maybe it was the lonely months you spent at a new school after moving as a kid or the time you got a facefull of gravel when you tripped while hiking on a first date. There’s an endless number of human experiences that can create social anxiety. Whatever your story is- we all have them.

How to Deal

You’ve connected with a rad person that you seem to have common interests with. Congrats! That’s the first step. 

Then the anxiety creeps in. The inner dialogue of “What if they don’t like me? What if I say the wrong thing? What if I don’t feel comfortable with them?”. All the self doubt comes pouring in. 

Now What?

Before meeting this new person, whether it’s a date or a friend meet up, you need to get in the right headspace. Whatever your rituals are, running, facials, meditation, dancing around your living room- do what makes you feel good. If you’re feeling confident and self assured going into the meetup, that attitude is infectious- and will spread to your new buddy. 

Choose activities that minimize stress. Anything that boosts your mood, and is interactive is a safe choice.

Classes that teach you fun new skills like cooking, ceramics, and painting are effective ice breakers. They let you focus on creating and crafting, while still giving you space to talk and get to know each other. Plus, they’re pretty much guaranteed fun. 

Yoga and workout classes allow you to simultaneously spend time together and get your endorphins pumping before really talking. By the time you get to chit chatting, you’ll both be riding high and ready to connect!

Activities that revolve around mutual hobbies or interests that you both have means instant bonding, and keeps both of you somewhat in your comfort zone. Maybe you have the same favorite band that happens to be in town tonight. Or both have a deep love of bird watching. Awesome. Go with what you know. 

Connecting on apps like Join Me Tonight makes the meetup process that much easier by linking you up with people who are ready to make plans right then and there. 

Nerves are Normal

Meeting new people is nerve wracking. You’re not alone in that. Navigating relationships can be awkward and confusing, but that’s part of the fun. 

Sometimes even just admitting “Hey I’m a little nervous, but I’m excited to meet you!” gives both of you an opportunity to get to a deeper layer of authenticity. 

On Being Human

We’re all human. Sometimes we don’t say the right thing. Or dates don’t go as planned. Making mistakes and learning is all part of the process. There’s humor in being messy, and sometimes slip ups offer awesome bonding opportunities. 

If something silly does happen, don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself. Creating opportunities for joy and humility allows us to see the humanity in each other.

Speaking of humanity, We all have our quirks. They’re what make us unique. Whether it’s your dorkiest hobbies, the way you eat, or your little compulsive tics- we’ve all got them. So don’t try to hide yours, they’re what make you you. 

If you can’t be yourself, they’re not worth it. If you feel like you need to change your behavior to please someone, chances are they’re not someone you need to keep in your life. Relationship building is not about people pleasing. It’s about true connection. If you’re presenting parts of yourself inauthentically, then that’s what the relationship will be based on. 

Remember, if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. There’s always more fish in the sea. More dates to go on. More friends to make. Not everyone is going to get along. It’s just a fact of life. Carrything this attitude, allows you to sink into the moment, so that you can be present with your new friend. It also keeps you from grasping and holding on to something that’s not meant to be. 

Above all else, enjoy yourself. Life is too rich and full of opportunity to not try to savor every moment that you can. The more you enjoy yourself, the better you’re going to make the people you’re with feel. What’s more rewarding than that?

So get out there. Make the connection. Ask them out. Plan the meetup. What are you waiting for? 

Hop on Join Me Tonight, and get out of that bubble!

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