I see it sitting all innocent on the counter with the rest of the bills. The pretty lavender envelope with its fancy pants writing on it. It’s an invitation to yet another wedding-christening-engagement-shower-what have you. Now I have to come up with yet another excuse while trying to make sure I haven't used it before with that person. Will they believe I can't get a babysitter for my dog? hmmm that's a new one...
Having social anxiety is seriously exhausting.
Knowing I am going to have to interact with people outside my inner circle terrifies me. Even my inner circle terrifies me sometimes. Will I be funny and witty enough? Will I be interesting? Can I hold the conversation without embarrassing lulls where they are convinced I have an IQ of 4? Most times the conversation in my head is entertaining but what comes out of my tongue tied mouth makes people look at me with pity as the socially inept fool. Or is it just in my head that I feel they are looking at me like that?
When I was in my early twenties, plying myself with alcohol as soon as I entered a party was the way to grease the conversational wheel. Then I would be attending with lots of people I knew that could drive me home if I got too drunk. Now I realize a liver is an important organ and try not to destroy it too much so I tend to not drink when I go out. My doctor had suggested anti-anxiety medicine which helped with the anxiety but zapped me of any personality which was defeating the point. So now I try to go out sans parachute which makes my comfort level slightly higher than ground level, - although I will admit I only go to about 10% of what I am invited to – but I have found some tricks to help me get through.
Outside: Make sure I look good (well as good as it gets I guess) and am comfortable. Clothes fitting well, hair done neatly, even a mani/pedi, can do wonders for your image because you won’t be fiddling with your clothes, or feeling uncomfortable in your shoes to add to the nervousness. Plus looking good (even if its in your own mirror) makes the confidence go up and anxiety down.
Inside: Avoid excessive caffeine or sugar which will cause even more jitters than the ones going on in my head. Scan the paper (oh who am I kidding? I scan PerezHilton) to have the latest celebrity dirt as a conversation starter – I never said the people I was nervous around are scholars! Having filler for conversation lulls definitely helps.
Finally, I try to go in with an excuse of having to be somewhere else in 2 hours so I will have my out if need be but if comfortable I can “make a call” and get out of the other engagement.
Doing this has helped this social caterpillar occasionally overcome her social anxiety long enough to be a social butterfly!