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How to Connect with People when you have Social Anxiety

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Our relationships are the color of our life. When they are going well, they add depth and meaning to our day to day experience. However, when they are not healthy and functioning properly, they color our world with grey, and our emotional well being suffers.

Loneliness & The Struggle to Connect

Sometimes this lack of connection feels like a mistake on our part.

  • We make efforts to socialize, but leave the interaction feeling alone. 
  • We try to express ourselves, but end up being misunderstood.
  • We try to reach out, but end up falling short and protect ourselves by putting up a wall. 

We ask ourselves: "Why do I get nervous around other people? How do I stop being socially awkward? Why is it that the harder I try, the more I struggle?" 

Many times we want to connect, but it goes wrong because we simply don't know how.

 

How To Deal with Social Anxiety & Form Stronger Relationships

Practicing the following social skills and activities can help you in overcoming anxiety, so you can get more out of your social experiences and form more meaningful connections:

 

Take the pressure off.

Internalizing the truth that you will never be able to please everyone is a great way to take the pressure off.

A lot of anxiety in social situations comes from having too high of expectations and then being disappointed and discouraged when social interactions don't go perfectly.  

Getting a little bit nervous when you meet new people or put yourself out there is part of life. Little awkward moments here and there are a part of the process of socializing. So is meeting people who are just too different from you for you to get along with. 

 

Practice personal acceptance. 

This isn’t about self-esteem, which can bounce up and down alongside life events. This is about self-acceptance: Love yourself first—flaws and all.

Once you accept that you are just one more flawed, imperfect human, you can focus more on making connections and less on trying to make some sort of perfect impression on people.

 

Let yourself be vulnerable. 

The failure to be vulnerable is one of the biggest roadblocks to effective connection and communication.

We often get ourselves trapped behind our own walls in order to protect ourselves from getting hurt, but as a result, we end up never fully connecting with those around us, which hurts us even more.

Open your heart up to the realization that you are flawed, mortal, and scared; and allow other people to share their flaws, mortality, and fears with you.

If you do, you will see a sincere difference in how you connect and you will feel less alone. 

 

Be a better listener. 

Improper listening is one of the most overlooked reasons why people struggle to make meaningful connections and, consequently, suffer from social anxiety. People want to feel heard and understood.

Practice Active Listening and listen intently! Make them feel heard, and you will undoubtedly deepen your connections.


Show your gratitude.

Being grateful is imperative if you want any relationship to last.

Oftentimes relationships with those closest to us, be it your partner, your children, your parents; get eroded away over the years by resentment.

Resentment is the opposite of gratitude.

It's feeling like you deserve more than you got; and it's what happens when you build up expectations that don't get fulfilled. 

 

Incorporating new social skills into your routine will take time and patience, and may result in some missteps and even misunderstandings. Don't worry. Changing your social behavior can be a messy process, but it doesn't mean that it is not working, or that it is not worth it.

We all want to have deep, meaningful relationships in our lives. Hopefully this course has given you a new perspective on what it means to socialize, and will help you to progress into a more open, understanding person that is ready to connect on a real level.

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About the Author

Dana Hauck

Dana Hauck

Dana is passionate about helping others find peace, purpose, and fulfillment through her writing. She specializes in relationship advice and exploring how human psychology affects our interpersonal behavior. She can be found traveling the world with her husband and son, learning every language she can, and relaxing on a french terrace with a good cup of espresso!

More posts by Dana Hauck >
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