It’s very unnerving when you get self-conscious around people when you’re socializing. That’s what we’ll try to get rid of in this article.
It can be difficult to avoid being self-conscious and nervous around people, especially if they’re strangers. This can happen when you’re at a party or a gathering and you know few to no people at all. You’ll begin to think a lot of things that can destroy your self-confidence and you’ll end up acting aloof and/or distant.
Self-consciousness and anxiety around strangers is an understandable feeling, but it is damaging for your social life. You want to have fun at a party but can’t because you get so nervous all the time. Well, that’s why you’re here. Because you’re eager to combat this feeling. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do in this article.
Why You Get Self-Conscious and Nervous Around People
Before you proceed, you first need to take a step back and ask yourself this question:
“Why do I get self-conscious around other people?”
Why indeed? You’ve probably seen a lot of people who are as confident as champions at parties. You see extroverts befriend people left and right. How do they do that? Do they not feel nervous at all, even just a little bit?
Well, they do.
Or they did and they managed to get over it.
You see, some of the most confident people now used to be incredibly nervous around people too. They just found a way around it. They used to be incredibly self-conscious, but through a lot of studying and practice, they became the socially confident people that they are now.
You can be as well.
For now, you just have to get over your feeling of anxiety when you’re around other people.
This may happen for many reasons. For one, it’s your instinct to be wary of people you don’t know. It is embedded in our DNA to be guarded when there are faces we don’t recognize. That’s how we evolved as a species. We were able to survive because we were extremely careful.
We also get this fight-or-flight surge whenever faced with stress, and being out in public could be a stressful notion for you. Your mind sends an adrenaline rush to your body and it makes your heart beat faster, makes you palpitate, and makes you nervous.
To boil it all down, you could either be afraid of socializing or it’s just your evolutionary genes that are causing you to be nervous around people. Whatever the case, there are things that you can keep in mind and do so you can completely combat this feeling. Go from being extremely self-conscious to being highly socially confident by following the tips below.
How To Stop Being Self-Conscious and Nervous When Socializing
These are 10 tips you can use to stop being self-conscious around people so you can be freer to socialize.
1. Stop thinking inwards and focus outwards
You need to stop thinking inwards and focus on the environment around you instead. Start paying attention to your surroundings. Get the feel of the place you’re in. Start focusing on the people around you.
Enhance your empathy and your emotional intelligence whenever you’re out to socialize. By this, I mean you need to be able to figure out everybody’s place at the party. Analyze who’s the host and who their friends are. Know who came with which group of people. Know if two people are a couple or just friends. This will make it easier for you to talk to them later on.
Once you’re actually in a conversation with somebody, Pay attention to them. Listen carefully. Empathize. When you keep on focusing on other people instead of yourself, you will never have time to worry or be self-conscious. Plus, it will enable you to socialize and connect with others better.
2. Dress for image and comfort
You must dress well whenever you’re socializing. Not only will it make you look amazing, but it will also boost your overall confidence. If you know you look good, then you start to feel good. Once you feel good, you won’t be self-conscious around people as much.
Aside from dressing well for the sake of fashion, you should also take your level of comfortability into account. There’s no point if you’re wearing a stunning dress or a sharp suit if you’re just feeling uncomfortable. You won’t be able to act properly or use your body language if you’re iffy with what you’re wearing. Make sure that your complete ensemble is a perfect match of beauty and comfort.
If you feel like you’re not as well-versed with fashion as you like to, don’t hesitate to ask a friend or someone who knows what they’re doing. Advice on this matter will go a long way.
3. Know that people aren’t as critical of you as you think
Have you ever gone to a party and as soon as you stepped in, lingering thoughts of self-doubt and self-consciousness immediately set in? You begin to think that everyone around you is just going to judge you for everything. You’ll think that they’ll begin to watch your every move, listen to your every word, and just wait for a slip up so they can make fun of you.
Well, guess what, that’s not going to happen.
You think that everyone will just spend their time focused on you, waiting for you to make a mistake? They won’t. Trust me. They have a lot of other things on their plate.
Guess what? Some of them, instead of focusing on you, are also pretty self-conscious about themselves.
You don’t need to worry about what others are thinking. They are pretty much occupied with other things. Instead of worrying about what they think of you, start to assess how you can connect with them. That is a much healthier approach if you want to be self-conscious around people.
4. Don’t see your anxiety as an enemy
Yes, being so self-conscious, shy, and having anxiety around people is annoying. It’s a restriction you want to go past. You might even feel a hint of anger towards it. You’ll start to view it as an enemy that needs to be get rid of.
Well, I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t.
Yes, having that feeling of anxiety sucks. It’s annoying. But it is not your enemy.
Your feeling of self-consciousness is placed in your system for a reason. As I’ve mentioned, that’s a defense mechanism your mind puts your body into. You get shy or nervous around a situation you’re uncomfortable in because it makes you extra wary.
You become extra careful.
Your mind is telling your body to be extra watchful because you’re in a situation that is outside your bubble. That is not your enemy, that’s just your mind trying to protect itself.
Instead of seeing it as something to get rid of, see it as something to control.
See, your level of self-consciousness can be helpful. You’re wary of strangers and are less likely to trust untrustworthy people. You’re prepared in case anything goes wrong.
But, this is also bad if it goes overboard. That’s what you should be careful of. Allow yourself to be self-conscious, just for a little bit that it doesn’t restrict your ability to socialize.
Control your mind and your nervousness and you’ll never shiver in a crowd.
5. Don’t keep agreeing with your negative thoughts
Your thoughts of negativity will find a way to get back into your head and make you even more self-conscious and nervous. This only happens when you constantly agree with your negative thoughts.
Muster up the courage and the strength to say “No. That’s not true”.
Don’t encourage your mind to let those negative thoughts grow. Disagree with them.
When your mind says “These probably don’t want you around”, say “Yes, they do”.
Whatever you do, if the thought is irrational, harming, and absurd, say no to it. All it takes is one “yes” to make that negative thought grow and allow others to come in. But say no to one, and saying no to the rest will become so much easier.
6. Know your weaknesses and strengths
Take the time to list down what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are, in terms of socializing. Which aspects of yourself do you feel like can be helpful if you want to make friends in public? Which ones will restrict you? List those down.
First, you need to start thinking of your weaknesses as aspects of yourself that can be worked on. You’re too self-conscious? Well, that’s what you’re here for. Learn to overcome it. Do you feel like you’re not that good in telling stories? Do something about that. Research on how to become a better storyteller.
Then, assess your strengths and take advantage of them the next time you’re out to socialize. For example, if you love joking around, use that the next time the mood needs to be lightened up. Step up and make everybody’s moods better. Make everyone laugh. If you feel like you’re good at listening, then great! Make use of that.
Think long and think hard on what those strengths and weaknesses are as it will make your next socializing event better for you. By then, you’ll know which of your skills you can use and which ones you can avoid. In the meantime, you can work your hardest to transform those weaknesses into good things in the future.
7. See everyone as equals
You need to stop putting some people on pedestals and think they’re way too awesome for you or that they’re out of reach. Nobody and I mean nobody should be placed in that category. In terms of making friends and building connections, everybody is basically up for grabs.
Conversely, you shouldn’t also look down on people. The point here is you should look at everyone as equals. We’re all human beings with our own stories, experiences, histories, etc. Treat everybody with respect, kindness, and if you want to befriend a person because you feel like they have a good personality and you can connect with them, you should do so regardless of status.
That’s the only thing you should consider when it comes to making friends with people and building connections. It’s not about what their status in life is, or you think they’re too awesome for you, or they’re not enough. It should only be about if you think you two can be good friends. If you know in your heart you can make that connection with somebody, nothing should stop you from making friends with them.
8. List down the things that make you nervous and repeat them on your mind
Are there any specific scenarios you particularly feel very nervous about? Scenarios and settings that scare you or make you more self-conscious than others?
What you can do here is to take note of every single situation that makes you very nervous and self-conscious, even if they don’t involve socializing. Just think of everything that makes you nervous.
Done? Good. Now, list those down. Then, think about those things for a good minute.
Picture yourself in those scenarios. Put yourself right in the middle of it, and imagine it going wrong in the worst way possible. Think of the most awful scenario you can think of.
Now, think about what needs to happen for that horrible situation to happen in real life. Is it realistic or is it too absurd?
If it’s the first one, then figure out ways you can avoid that scenario from happening. On the other hand, if it’s too absurd for reality, should you be afraid of it? No, you shouldn’t.
Keep on doing this and repeat every single scary situation in your head and assess if they’re realistic or irrational. The more you do this, the more socializing will become less and less nervous-inducing.
9. Make a connection with people
Once you go past the nervousness phase and get to talk with someone, now it’s time that you do your best to connect with them. The more people you get to connect with, the more people you’ll hang out with during social gatherings. The more that happens, the less you’ll feel nervous at all.
Here are the best ways you can connect with someone:
- Listen. The best way to make a connection with somebody is to just listen to them intently. Pay attention. Pick up on interesting things they say. Look them in the eyes when they’re talking, lean a little closer in their direction.
- Probe. Whenever they say something interesting, ask them to expand upon it further. If they say something you don’t particularly understand, ask them to repeat it for you so you can. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask.
- Don’t be afraid to break the touch barrier. Put your hand on their shoulder whenever they say something funny and you’re laughing, or whenever they say something sad and you want to comfort them. Shake their hand before and after the interaction.
- Relate to them. Say something and find something you feel like you both share an interest in.
- Open the possibility of a future friendship by asking for their contact details and saying something like “We should hang out again sometime”
10. Just have fun
Finally, the best thing you can do to battle your self-consciousness around people is to have fun when socializing. The idea of making friends or being given that opportunity should be exciting to you. Friendships are an amazing thing. Not only are they fun but they are necessary. Be excited about that notion.
All of this will be all for nothing if you’re not having fun and if you’re unhappy with the idea of making friends. Maybe that’s the first thing you should try to handle before you try working on your nervousness.
Think about what having friends will do for your life, both personal and professional. You’ll have people to celebrate with on your good days and people to comfort you on your bad days. You’ll have people you can share your ideas with and give you connections if you need them. You also have access to support, emotionally, and personally.
Having friends in life is an amazing concept. Embrace that and be excited about it. Once you do, you’ll be excited to socialize and make friends. The idea won’t make you nervous then.
Achieve Social Confidence
Once you finally manage to control your nervousness and you won’t feel so self-conscious around people anymore, you’ll achieve what’s known as “social confidence”. This is where you can act freely and talk to people without having to worry about failing or making a mistake. You won’t feel dread and fear anymore, just excitement and fun. Those people you see who have fun in social settings? Those are people who have social confidence. You can have that in your life too.
If you want to take it to the next level and be even freer when socializing, then take the time to improve your social skills. This will help you be less nervous in social settings and help you make friends better.