Conquer Social Anxiety: 5 Steps to Make Friends and Be Socially Confident
“Social anxiety, also called social phobia, is intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation.”
Imagine this scenario:
Today is your best friend’s wedding, and you are the maid of honor (or best man). You already know the responsibilities that are expected of you with this lovely little job: a heartfelt speech in front of family, friends, and of course, complete strangers…before you know it, you have a microphone in your sweaty, shaking hands, and you open your mouth to speak while 200 pairs of eyeballs are focused on you.
What happens next?
If you are anything like me, the continuation of this scenario already makes you cringe and you would do anything to avoid this social encounter of public speaking in which YOU are the center of attention.
Now take a deep breath, and don’t be so hard on your sweet reserved soul.
You’re not the only one with this thing called social anxiety. In fact, social anxiety or “social phobia” impacts millions of people all over the world (SAInstitute). The good news is that communication is a skill that can be learned and even mastered with a willing mindset to see yourself and others from a perspective of value.
1.Punch the fear of rejection in the face
Whether we like to admit it or not, people can be scary, vulgar, and straight up mean. Humans have the ability to reject, despise, trash talk, threaten, attack, oppress, and tear each other down. However, giving too much power to the opinion of people will drive you to value those opinions above all else. Considering that people are very opinionated, emotionally driven individuals, facing rejection at some point in your life is guaranteed. This is why you should punch fear in the face right now, especially the fear of people’s opinions. I strive to remind myself of the only opinion that ultimately matters above all else by asking what God thinks about my character and actions on a daily basis.
2. Accept That You Are Valued
This brings me to step two of becoming a more socially confident individual: accept and believe that you are a highly valued individual, not necessarily in the eyes of people, but in the eyes of the King of Kings!
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.- Psalm 139:13-16
He thinks you’re wonderfully and beautifully made! He wants you to know that you’re already accepted (Ephesians 1:6). Because you are valued, you can approach people with confidence, knowing that your worth is not defined by their acceptance. Remind yourself daily: My words carry weight, my input is important because I am loved, intelligent, and wonderful in the eyes of the most important person to ever exist.
3. Listen, They Matter Too
Just as you are a prized creation, so are the people you are communicating with. When approaching others, it is vital to value them like you value yourself. Being secure in Christ, we have the ability of approaching people with care and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mark 12:33). When both parties communicate in this way, their words, thoughts, and time are a part of a beautiful exchange: a meaningful conversation and a connection. Don’t forget to see others in the same way God sees you.
4. Come Out of Hiding
Even though social media can expand your social life in one way or another, hiding behind your phone or online persona is not going to help you be more confident communicating with people in person and overcoming social anxiety. Yes, the real world with tangible humans exists, and it’s right outside of your comfort zone. Conquering social anxiety is going to require actual human, face to face interaction so….
5. Make The First Move
…Here you are: you believe you are loved and valued. You are confident that your words, your presence, time, and thoughts are important. No longer are you going to approach others with the mindset that you are “more important” or “more valued” than they are. No! You are going to approach people with utmost love and sincerity, speaking life over them, and listening to their equally important words, thoughts, and ideas. You have absolutely nothing to lose, and everything to gain with this new mindset.
Go on, say hello to social confidence and goodbye to social anxiety.
Thanks for reading: 5 Effective Ways To Conquer Social Anxiety. Your thoughts matter! Comments welcome below.