10 Tips for Navigating Holiday Parties with Social Anxiety - Social Anxiety Forum
 
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 01:08 PM Thread Starter
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10 Tips for Navigating Holiday Parties with Social Anxiety



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The winter holidays are a gauntlet of awkward social situations and none are quite so panic inducing as holiday parties. Whether it’s an office function, a family party, a neighborhood event or a charity gala, the thought of navigating a holiday party when you experience social anxiety is akin to spending a night in hell. But it doesn’t have to be so bad. With these 10 tips, you’ll be navigating your holiday parties like a pro. 10 Tips for Navigating Holiday Parties with Social Anxiety
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 01:09 PM
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Thankfully I know all these tips already but thanks for posting them.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 01:11 PM
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Great tips. Some of them will come in handy because I'm going to an early holiday party tonight.

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine - and shadows will fall behind you.”

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 01:47 PM
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-24-2015, 02:47 PM
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I agree with a lot of the tips, but there are a few that I'm not sure of. If you are trying to get over social anxiety I don't think you want to be preparing before-hand like the you are making the event into this big "thing". The following for example.

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1. Commit to Going or Bow Out Early

Before you ever even commit to going to the party, make sure you aren’t overbooked. Anxiety means you might need a day or two to prepare mentally for a party and might need a few days to recover. If your schedule is clear, commit to going. The worst that happens is that you end up not going.

If you can’t talk yourself out of your anxiety over going to the party, call the host or the person who invited you sooner rather than later. Explain politely that something has come up, but that you truly appreciate the invitation and would love to catch up with them in the future, perhaps in a more intimate get-together.

2. Mentally Prepare Yourself

Chances are good that you’ve already learned a number of coping mechanisms for easing your anxiety. The day of the party, prepare yourself. Treat yourself well. Exercise, take a bubble bath and eat your favorite treat. Indulge in all the little things that make you feel good so that you’ll be less likely to stress about the upcoming event. Even if your brain has you convinced the party will be a disaster, at least you treated yourself to a stellar day.

10. Have an Exit Plan

You know your limits on social interaction, so set yourself a time limit and leave by that time. Have an exit plan in mind if you need to leave sooner.You could arrange to check in with a friend who could provide an excuse if you need to leave urgently because you’re too overwhelmed. However, most of the time finding the host and simply saying “Thank you for inviting me, I’ve had a lovely time but I have to get up early tomorrow,” is enough to allow you to make a smooth exit.
These seem to be putting a lot of emphasis on thinking about negative things before hand. I don't think you want to go into events preparing for multiple days over possibly negative things like 'making sure you have a plan to bow out early' or 'have an exit plan'.

I think you'd be better off envisioning the event going positively, if thinking about it all. Ideally you are better in a place where you don't think of it at all.

An additional point I think would be beneficial for parties is: Really try and stay in the present. That means, if someone is talking to you in a group, really listen to what he's saying. Focus on them and their words. Instead of getting caught in your own head over thinking things like "what do I say next?" or "I bet people think I'm awkward right now" or "I hope he doesn't ask me a question causing me to talk in front of people", etc....

Stay out of your own head, and focus on the words coming out of peoples mouths. Stay in the present.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-04-2015, 08:05 AM
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I think Lacey has a really good point. Stay out of your head and be present. Focusing on what people are saying and listening is a great way to do that.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2015, 07:42 AM
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Preparing Youirself Is OK BUT it should involve RATIONAL thinking ...


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Originally Posted by lacey23 View Post
I agree with a lot of the tips, but there are a few that I'm not sure of. If you are trying to get over social anxiety I don't think you want to be preparing before-hand like the you are making the event into this big "thing". The following for example.

These seem to be putting a lot of emphasis on thinking about negative things before hand. I don't think you want to go into events preparing for multiple days over possibly negative things like 'making sure you have a plan to bow out early' or 'have an exit plan'.

I think you'd be better off envisioning the event going positively, if thinking about it all. Ideally you are better in a place where you don't think of it at all.

An additional point I think would be beneficial for parties is: Really try and stay in the present. That means, if someone is talking to you in a group, really listen to what he's saying. Focus on them and their words. Instead of getting caught in your own head over thinking things like "what do I say next?" or "I bet people think I'm awkward right now" or "I hope he doesn't ask me a question causing me to talk in front of people", etc....

Stay out of your own head, and focus on the words coming out of peoples mouths. Stay in the present.
I tend to agree with Lacey's comments. A lot of the suggestions made in this post involve safety behaviours centred around avoidance, or part avoidance. This maybe useful if you are trying to just live with your SA but totally the wrong thing to do if you are trying to overcome it.

Provided you have got to the stage where you have some control over your ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts) and can rationalise your thinking, it can be however be very useful before an event to rationalise any ANTS before an event and eventually come to a conclusion along the lines of "there will be positive and negative aspects of this event but overall I'll be OK". It is not healthy to think either entirely negatively or entirely positively about anything but to think rationally instead.

Last edited by al71; 12-05-2015 at 07:45 AM. Reason: Accuracy
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2015, 07:49 AM
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My tip to myself is to not go.
Parties are not my thing.
If it might get me ahead at the workplace, and I can use it to my advantage, than maybe.

Being the person that gets overlooked can work to my advantage. Just be cool and collected and pick my moments.

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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2015, 07:51 AM
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I've never been invited to a holiday party >.>


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-05-2015, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by al71 View Post
I tend to agree with Lacey's comments. A lot of the suggestions made in this post involve safety behaviours centred around avoidance, or part avoidance. This maybe useful if you are trying to just live with your SA but totally the wrong thing to do if you are trying to overcome it.

Provided you have got to the stage where you have some control over your ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts) and can rationalise your thinking, it can be however be very useful before an event to rationalise any ANTS before an event and eventually come to a conclusion along the lines of "there will be positive and negative aspects of this event but overall I'll be OK". It is not healthy to think either entirely negatively or entirely positively about anything but to think rationally instead.
Though, I agree that there seem to be many people who are more interested in coping with (or perhaps managing) rather than changing their anxiety, the approach you recommend isn't going to address all aspects of anxiety.

Thinking and belief related issues need to be addressed from feelings/emotions (e.g. fear). Especially if the feeling intensity is moderate to high. Much like you can't be rational and try talking to a barking dog that is about to bite you, dealing with the fear feeling needs different approach. Yes, I know from personal experience of changing such issues.
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post #11 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-06-2015, 08:08 AM
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Though, I agree that there seem to be many people who are more interested in coping with (or perhaps managing) rather than changing their anxiety, the approach you recommend isn't going to address all aspects of anxiety.

Thinking and belief related issues need to be addressed from feelings/emotions (e.g. fear). Especially if the feeling intensity is moderate to high. Much like you can't be rational and try talking to a barking dog that is about to bite you, dealing with the fear feeling needs different approach. Yes, I know from personal experience of changing such issues.
I think what al71 is saying (and I could be wrong), is that it is useful to rationally look at at possible events that could crop up before hand, so that you come to some kind of conclusion once in the situation that doesn't trigger the fear response.

For example, lets say I walk into a party without rationalizing certain thoughts (that could trigger the fear response) beforehand. I see a group of people look in my direction and then start laughing, causing me to think something like "Oh, they are laughing at me, probably because I'm awkward, (or whatever)" causing our fear response to trigger and producing anxiety.

Rather, if you had thought of the situation rationally beforehand, you may come to some other conlcusions that don't trigger you to be fearful causing anxiety. Perhaps you consider that there could be all sorts of reasons they are looking in your direction laughing that, from a rational standpoint, don't require being scared.

Perhaps these people are talking about something completely different prompting laughter and just happened to be looking in your direction. Perhaps they are laughing about someone else around you. Maybe you did something funny, which made people laugh and that's not something you should be scared of. Or maybe, you legit did make an *** out of yourself, but in reality it's not something worth being scared of because people have 50,000 a day, and it's really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme if you made an *** of yourself because people's thoughts are going to change to a million other things very soon.

If you had rationalized the situation beforehand, then when it happens your automatic response shouldn't be fear. It should be "well there's a million reasons they could be laughing, none of which are something to be fearful of".

I don't think just trying to be positive blindly about situations works, but usually when someone rationally breaks down a situation they end up at a conclusion it's not something to be scared of.
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