Posts Tagged ‘#Socialanxiety’

When Social Anxiety Meets The Dating World

Posted by: admin

August 21st, 2018 >> social anxiety and dating

When Social Anxiety Meets The Dating World

Can you be socially anxious AND also be able to date?

If you struggle with social anxiety, you might believe that the answer to this question is NO….how can you have social anxiety and be able to go out on dates? Well, good news…. there ARE ways that people with social anxiety can make dating work!

Anyone experiencing social anxiety knows that it can be an extremely life hindering battle. The persistent nervousness and accompanying negative thoughts can be crippling and sometimes it’s difficult to leave home unless it’s absolutely necessary.

However, we were born to live in community, to love and be loved. Social anxiety can make it difficult to initiate romantic relationships, but that does not mean we don’t want to have physical and emotional intimacy with someone special.

Having social anxiety does not mean that you have to live in isolation or that you won’t be able to find that special someone. You just need a different approach.

Here are 5 DATING tips that can help you work through your SOCIAL ANXIETY:

Practice Celebrating Who You Are

A hallmark feature of social anxiety is the fear of being judged. People with social anxiety are often their own worst critics. Usually, the only person judging you is you.

Minimizing self-judgement can be done by frequent positive self-talk.

Answer the following questions:

What is it about your personality that a romantic interest would find attractive?  What physical qualities do you have that you like about yourself?  Try to name a few.  Frequent acknowledgement of these attributes can help build your confidence.

Create a Mock Dialogue

Consider the social settings where you might meet someone for a date. Mentally place yourself in that scene. Next, think of a few lines that you can easily memorize and could use during your date. Having a few phrases memorized can help to ease you into the flow of conversation. By using this technique, the pressure of saying the “right” thing can be reduced, which can reduce your overall anxiety.

Don’t Hide Your Nervousness

It’s ok to be nervous! Remember that your romantic interest is also human, and could also be feeling nervous during a date. Dating is not easy for anyone and first dates can be especially difficult for everyone involved.

Admitting that you are nervous is ok and most likely not something that your date would perceive as negative.

If You Get Nervous Keep Going

For those with social anxiety, it is common to want to run away from conversations after you think you made a mistake or said the “wrong thing.” Learn to accept those embarrassing moments.  Maybe you can turn them into a joke.  When dating, one thing that people look for in a potential partner is a sense of humor.  Whatever you do, make sure that you own the awkward moment and embrace it!

Meet People Under as Little Pressure as Possible

When you are looking to date, you might want to avoid social settings that are large.  People with social anxiety typically find partners at small venues and not around large crowds. Small groups tend to ease anxiety.

You can also try meeting your “hot date” through a friend.  Let your friends know that you are looking to date and ask them if they have any acquaintances they think would be a good fit.  Meeting someone through a trusted individual tends to ease pressure and you might find a good match!

When to seek Professional Help

If you are struggling with social anxiety, the best method to gain better control of your life is through therapy. Consider reaching out to a therapist or joining a support group.

I hold social anxiety groups at my Sherman Oaks office. Contact me at (818) 426-2495 for more information on overcoming social anxiety!

 

Anita Avedian, LMFT, CAMS-IV
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Certified Anger Management Specialist IV
Director of Anger Management 818
Social Anxiety and Dating

Disclaimer: The recommendations given in this article are not a replacement for therapy. Please consider seeking help from a mental health professional if you are experiencing mental or emotional distress. If you have a medical or psychological emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Thank you.

References

Social Anxiety Disorder. (n.d.) In Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Retrieved from adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/social-anxiety-disorder.

Conversation Starters for People with Social Anxiety

Posted by: admin

April 22nd, 2015 >> Social Anxiety and Shyness, Uncategorized

Have you ever been in a social situation and didn’t know what to say? Social anxiety can lead to avoiding starting conversations because of our insecurities. We might think that we don’t have anything interesting to say or that people wouldn’t care about our opinions. How many times have you been to a party, or a conference, or out for an evening of fun, and seen people that you’d like to get to know. But rather than allowing yourself to be vulnerable and exposing your interest, you chose to avoid approaching them? Though these worries may be common for many people, it is extremely difficult for the people with social anxiety.

If you have social anxiety, and would like to take some steps towards overcoming this concern, answer the following questions:

1- What is the worst that could happen?

2- Will introducing yourself result in being criticized or teased?

3- If you don’t hit it off with someone right away does that mean you won’t ever get along with another stranger?

If you really think about numbers two and three, the answer is probably “no.” What’s likely to happen when you have a small conversation with someone is that it may not lead into something meaningful; however, the practice of starting such conversations will help you build some confidence to approaching more people. Eventually starting conversations will lead to the possibility of developing more meaningful and deeper relationships. Think about it: we’re all strangers before we become friends, associates, colleagues, or even lovers.

In order to better prepare you for starting a conversation in any situation, we have four tips for you to try.

First, don’t worry about the first words out of your mouth being the funniest, cleverest or most meaningful openers. It is common for someone with social anxiety to have the perfect approach, and opening. We are very critical of ourselves. A casual introduction or comment on the weather works just fine. For example, “I noticed your smile and think it’s very endearing.”

Second, depending on where you are when meeting someone, you can ask rely on comments pertaining to your current surroundings. If you are at an event, you could ask how the other person knows the host. Or whether they’ve been part of the event in the past.

Third, talk about a positive aspect rather than a negative experience. It’s not fun for people to hear negativity.

Fourth, ask open-ended questions and maintain a good balance of comments, stories, and questions. Be sure not to ask too many questions consecutively. And also make sure you’re not the only one talking. Oftentimes it is easier for the socially anxious person to ask questions and take the attention away from themselves.

These four tips can be practiced in a safe setting such as a social anxiety group before you take them into the world. Each time you initiate a conversation, it will get easier. Moreover, the more you practice, the easier it gets. Conversations are wonderful learning tools. Once you have developed a few simple skills, you will be on the road to developing more meaningful relationships.

“There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation.” ~James Nathan Miller

 

Examples of Conversation Starters

1. “I don’t know anyone around here so I thought I’d come talk to you.” or  “I’m a little nervous talking with strangers, but I just had to come say hi.”

2. Talk about something you know the person is interested in. “What about the game last night!” “Yankees (or other team) aren’t doing so well this season.” Or “Your flowers are looking lovely.” 

3. “You look like a [lawyer/CEO/baker/some noble profession].” The person is bound to ask why  you guessed that particular profession

4. Talk about a funny, embarrassing moment.

5. “What’d you get up to earlier today?

6. ‘You look lost. Do you need help?”

7. My daughter’s birthday party is this weekend. It’s taken so much planning! What do you do for your kids’ birthday parties.

8. I bet you $50 you’re gonna turn me down.

9. ‘I notice that you bought some apple cider vinegar. I have always wondered, what are the health benefits?’

10. That’s an interesting T-shirt. What does that symbol stands for?’

11. Do you have any trips coming up?

12. Are you watching Game of Thrones? House of Cards? Enter popular TV show here __________?

13. I’m planning a special occasion meal. Do you have any restaurant recommendations?

14. I’m looking for a new book? I really enjoy (biographies, fiction, sci-fi) Have you read any good books lately?

15. I love your necklace, tie, ring, brooch? Where did you get it?

16. Are you looking forward to anything special this week?

17. How did you hear about this event? How do you know the host of the party? Do you come here often?

18. Did you have a chance to listen to the news today? I didn’t have time to check in. Did I miss anything?

19. What are you passionate about?