How can I stop being so anxious about talking with new people?
Last Updated: 08/06/2018 at 9:56pm
Monique Thompson, LPC, LPC-S
Licensed Professional Counselor
I am in my 21st year as a psychotherapist. I have worked with over 3, 000 people over the course of my career.
Top Rated Answers
I find if I focus on one person and start asking questions about them rather than just focusing on my nervousness. I also remind myself that most people are so wrapped up in their own lives that they hardly notice my anxiousness...besides, I remind myself, they are probably just as anxious as me!
The people your talking to don't know you yet. Just be yourself and you will find the people that would be great friends for you.
Pretend they aren't new. They're just a person you know, but your not close to and don't worry about messing up. If you do just laugh it off and smile. Its okay to show that your nervous when talking to them, so don't think about it.
If you have time, practice at least the beginning of the conversation. Rehearse different scenarios until you feel comfortable and are less anxious.
I struggled with this a lot over the past year, but setting small goals to help you overcome it really helps! Eye contact is a big part of having a successful conversation so try and focus on the person's eyebrows or between the eyes, if you are unable to use direct eye contact. Also, taking my time and controlling my breathing really helped when I felt like I was losing control whilst speaking. By doing this, you'll be able to feel in control and won't be as anxious when talking- I believe you can find breathing techniques and calming strategies on 7 Cups too!
Something that helped me was moving my focus - instead of panicking about how I was coming across and how awkward I was, I tried to analyse them instead! How are they coming across, do I like their vibe? What nonverbal signs are they giving? Do they seem comfortable? Anxiety is really tricky to manage but the trick is usually in getting out of your own head and trying your best to be present. This is often a compromise of still feeling pretty anxious, but being able to accept that feeling and act in spite of it. Mindfulness may be worth a look, if this is something you struggle with in other areas :)
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