Social Anxiety Doesn't Have to Get the Best of You This Holiday Season

black man drinking champagne
Photo Credit:

The holiday season can be the best or worst time of the year. Family gatherings and gift-giving, tight budgeting and colder weather all ask a lot of you. But after a treacherous year and a half in quarantine, large social gatherings may be even more daunting.

Let’s get you ready to meet and greet family and friends, new and old, with ease and confidence.

If You're Heading to Their Gathering...

Social anxiety makes everyday interactions difficult due to the overwhelming fear of being scrutinized or judged. Anxiety’s tight grip might be even more crushing when you’re desperate to make a good impression on your partner’s family. Here are a few ways to work through the fear.

Come with conversation starters

Enter with a few impersonal conversation starters. Feeling prepared boosts your confidence and eases the fear of awkward silences. Conversation starters can be as silly as “what’s the wrong thing you ever wore,” or simple like, “have you done anything exciting lately?

Set personal goals

You may seem weird to think about setting goals for a social situation, but doing so beforehand is as strategic as it is motivational. Walking into a situation with a game plan makes it less daunting by nature. Goal setting gives the interactions a veil of purpose instead of a feeling of obligation. For example, one of your goals can be as simple as to shake hands with your partner’s parents. This helps you socialize, gives you the satisfaction of accomplishing a goal and the encouragement to carry on.

Be the helpful guest

This is one of the easiest ways to get into the good graces of your partner’s family. Someone who is proactive and kind enough to lend a helping hand is viewed in a positive light and it makes you more approachable. However, observing the family dynamics is key here. If you can glean that someone is very particular or stringent about a practice, it may be best to give your goodwill somewhere else.

Learn to listen

Active listening requires you to take in, comprehend, respond, and retain what is being said. Tasking yourself to remember two facts about a few people you meet can help ensure you're listening to understand instead of to respond.

Ground yourself first

Whether you need to do a meditation practice everyday the week leading up to the event or just take a couple of deep breaths in the car before heading inside, grounding yourself can prove mentally beneficial. Indulge your senses in a cup of Blue Me Away while you get ready the day of to help calm your nerves and alleviate any