How to Go to Parties with Social Anxiety

September 6, 2021 Rachel Grier

Social anxiety makes college extra difficult. You’re surrounded by people you don’t know — far from your old friends — and you’re expected to go to a variety of social events. You could just sit out parties, but this will mean you miss out on some great opportunities to meet new people and have a good time. If your social anxiety is not too extreme, a better option is to use parties as a chance to overcome those negative feelings and gain confidence.

1. Force Yourself to Go

Last-minute nerves may lead you to message the host with a phony excuse or just not turn up. After the initial relief at having avoided a social situation, you may have some regrets. Plus, it will be even more difficult to go to the next party that comes around.

To prepare for a party, acknowledge that you are likely to feel anxious — and don’t allow yourself to cancel. If you can’t trust yourself to find the motivation, ask a friend to go with you. That way, you’ll be letting someone else down if you change plans right before the party, which should make you less inclined to cancel.

2. Set a Target for the Party

Achieving almost anything in life involves setting goals — and there’s no reason why goals can’t apply to social situations. A target for a party could be to hold a conversation with someone new for a certain length of time or to introduce yourself to a particular number of people. Set yourself a challenge, but be reasonable in your aims. This will give you a sense of satisfaction when you leave. Plus, it will be easy to make a new target for your next party.

3. Think of Some Icebreakers

If you tend to freeze up and have no idea what to say to people, come up with some ideas in advance. Think of interesting questions to ask, perhaps based on icebreakers you’ve heard other people use in the past. Alternatively, find ways to turn the conversation naturally to a topic that interests you and that is likely to interest others. If you’re unsure that your ideas are suitable, ask a trusted friend before you go.

4. Give Yourself Time

You may find that your anxiety is at its highest when you first walk through the door. Use those first 10 to 20 minutes to adjust, perhaps just talking to the friend you came with or other people you know. Give yourself permission to wait until your anxiety begins to subside before you approach new people.

5. Don’t Rely on Alcohol

Although alcohol can help you relax, the last thing you want is to rely on alcohol to make it through a social situation. There’s a high risk you’ll end up developing a tolerance and need to drink more just to feel calm. Beyond being bad for your health, this could make the situation worse. For instance, other guests won’t want to be around someone much more intoxicated than them. You may attribute this avoidance to your personality rather than the alcohol, which can lead to greater social anxiety and create a vicious cycle. You can still feel confident with an alcohol-free drink in your hand, but you’ll have a clear mind for engaging conversations.

It’s often easier to meet new people in the more relaxed environment of your student housing. The perfect option for a room for rent near Niagara College is Regent Student Living. Every suite has just three to five bedrooms and you can request to share with friends if you already know people in St. Catharines. Outside of your suite, you’ll have the chance to socialize in places like the lounge, fitness centre, and study room. Take a virtual tour to see all the facilities for yourself.