If you’re the type of person who struggles with any category of social anxiety, you’re not alone. It can be debilitating and impact your career, relationships (or lack thereof), and everyday life. It can make it hard to go on dates, go on job interviews, or even accept a compliment. I have several tips to help you improve social skills, boost social confidence, and be more OOtgoing (outgoing).
1. Start seeing a therapist, psychiatrist, or behavioral specialist.
Yes, this might involve making a phone call to set up an appointment or even sending an email, but don’
Working with a therapist may help you understand yourself and why you may have social anxiety. Some people have PTSD from having been bullied. Some people have rejection sensitivity dysphoria which is common among those with ADHD and can be misdiagnosed as a social phobia. Some may deal with social anxiety disorder. There could be a combination of things that make it difficult for anyone to socialize until they are addressed and unpacked.
For me, it’s a combination of having been bullied, dealing with my ADHD, and just being a natural homebody until I feel like socializing. Sometimes being in crowds and loud noises can be overwhelming. At times, being in a room of people with varying yet strong opinions can be intense. I fear rejection and bullying even in my mid-30s.
What have I been doing about it. I’ve been seeing a therapist for over a year and I’ve made enough progress to surprise myself. I also take time to realize that I’ve grown up. I’ve learned how to stand up for myself. I live my life believing that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I recommend getting a recommendation from your primary care physician. You can also use a site like Open Path Collective or Better Help. I prefer sites like these because I can customize my search for a therapist. I have experience with using Open Path Collective because it was imperative for me to find a therapist that is also a Black woman, of the same faith, and who has experience with my mental health conditions.
2. Remember that everyone is human.
You may be quirky, shy, nerdy, curvy, thin, have a speech delay, be differently-abled, or anything, but you’re still no different than any other human being. Everyone has insecurities, fears, traumas, etc. Nothing is wrong with you, no one is better or less than you, and you owe no one an explanation for your existence. You’re just as worthy as anyone else. You hold your head up and walk into every room as if you belong there because. you do!
3. Find an acting class!
I know how scary that sounds, but I promise I’m not trolling you. I actually mean find a class where you can practice being yourself. Essentially, that’s what acting is. Acting is the practice of observing, listening, and reacting as yourself. That’s it! Well, the art of acting isn’t as simple as it sounds, especially if you’re aiming to be a professional. However, it can and will help you open up and join a community of people who understand what it’s like to be where you are. Most actors had social anxiety or even still do have it. Yet, we know how to just roll with those awkward moments if they ever do appear.
I’ve been taking acting classes consistently for over two years. I’ve taken a few classes in person, but most classes are online. I highly recommend taking classes with The Houde School of Acting. The online and in-person classes are super affordable (never cheap), they’re fun, can be taken from anywhere in the world, and can help you spread your social wings.
4. And always let your hobbies be your guide.
Whatever you love to do, there’s bound to be a community for that. You could search all over the internet or social media to find groups or events in your area, but that’s time-consuming and can still foster loneliness. OOt Social helps you and your friends find communities and current deals in your area. You can even earn OOtchievements when you get your friends to download the app. It’s free to join and available for iOS and Android!
For more information check us OOt at https://ootlive.wpcomstaging.com