8 ways to cope with party anxiety

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Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

Pick a comfortable outfit

An inappropriate outfit can make you stand out like a sore thumb. So, take a really good look at the invite, it’ll will give you a clue about what kind of party it is. Call a friend if you’re not sure, and show someone what you intend to wear. Look your best, but avoid being OTT, especially if you don’t want to draw too much attention toward yourself.

Bring a plus one

There’ll always be other people from your circle of friends in attendance, but you if you don’t feel particularly comfortable around them, bring a plus one. You’ll have someone to talk to and you can look after each other. And meeting new people gets easier if you come with your own wing woman/man.

Take a chill pill

Social gatherings are not as serious as we make them. Be attentive when people talk to you, don’t be quick to judge or impose any strong opinions. If you make it easy for people to be around you, they’ll want to be around you.

Avoid having too many expectations

Look forward to hanging out and having a good time with everyone. If you know someone you don’t like will be there, don’t focus on how much you don’t like them, focus more on how you can have a good time even with them around and without starting a fight with them.

Decide when to arrive

If it makes you feel better, get involved before all the guests arrive. Ask if you could come and help set up. By the time the party starts, you would’ve already formed a connection with the hosts. You can also be on time so you can hang out with the first few people that arrive. You’ll have plenty to talk about before the party starts and you could be the best of friends by the time you leave.

Decide what and how much to drink

Most parties are fuelled by alcohol, and it’s easy to overdo it. If you’re not familiar with the crowd, you may want to keep your drinking to a minimum. Yes, everyone will offer you a drink, and the trick is not gulp it down, but sip it and hang on to it for dear life to avoid being offered too many refills.

A few sips of drink may also help you loosen up, but still be poised and appropriate with people.

Know when it’s time to go

It’s okay to leave a party if it’s not your flavour. If you feel like you’re suffocating, dash to the loo, a quiet room, or outside for a moment to breathe. This is when you can decide whether you want to stay or not. Should you decide to stay, break away from a big group and look for a one-on-one person you can chat with.

See a doctor

Feeling a little anxious about being around people, or being a bit shy are very different from having social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety disorder is an extreme fear of being scrutinised and judged by others in social or performance situations. If you suspect that you may have social anxiety disorder, speak to your doctor or counsellor.

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