If you have met me, you know already that I love to talk, but believe or not, about 2 years ago I used to have a lot of social anxiety. If you experience this too, let me give you some suggestions that can help you with that. 😊
- What you have to say matter: One of the lies that we tell ourselves when facing social anxiety is that no one will care about what we have to say, so we rather be quiet. I have learned that this is a HUGE lie because what we have to say matters! We are all different (thank goodness), and we have so much to add in a conversation. It doesn’t matter how much you have done, how much money you have, or how attractive you think you are. You are YOU, and this is amazing because each of us can uniquely contribute to this world.
- Face it until you make it: This is surely one of the best ways to face any challenge that you may ever encounter. By facing your fears you show who is the boss of it all. YOU are the boss and you won’t let your fears prevent you from becoming who you want to be.
- Practice it: I know how challenging it can be to start a conversation with someone you aren’t friends yet. I’m terrible at small talks, and I rather have a deep and long conversation, but not all situations allow us to do that. When I moved to SLC, I was in a very social ward where everyone talked with each other, and that was when I learned how to small talk! Lol. Start by asking the person’s name, where they are from, what they do. If you’re meeting that same person again you may ask how their week was, what were the good and bad things that happened in the past days… You can have a good conversation by just asking these simple questions!
- Be present: It’s interesting that one of my biggest fears was that if I was getting the person bored, so I was constantly looking for signs if the person wanted to withdraw from our conversation. When I did this, I couldn’t focus on what the person was saying, and I would be brief with what I was sharing. Silly, uh?! So be present!! Give your best in those short minutes you’re talking with someone, and you will see how it turns better than you had imagined.
- How to close a conversation: Sometimes I used to not start a conversation because I didn’t know how to close it and it would worry me of how I would do it. Now I have learned that’s really not that bad as I used to think. When you feel that’s time to go, make a pause, and then you can say something like “It was nice talking to you [say the name of the person]!” You can add other things if you would like such as, “I hope to see you again soon”, “I hope you have a good rest of day.”
- Try an anxiety medication: I actually started taking anxiety pills because I was having irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), but surprisingly it helped so much with social anxiety. I don’t credit it all to the medication though, because although I felt less anxious to talk with people after I started with the medication, I still had to work hard to be where I am today. The medication just gives you the courage to face people, and you still have to do everything else.
I know that it’s easier said than done but trust me, I’m the living proof that these things work! I don’t have social anxiety anymore and now I can easily talk to anyone. It feels great to be who I wanted to, and I hope you can find your way as well to free yourself from social anxiety.