Social phobia and parties
Parties and social events: Do you love them or hate them?
Summer is the time for weddings and fetes and is also, for many, the BBQ season. If mention of such an event has you planning your outfit or considering your transportation, that’s great, but if the thought of attending a social get-together fills you with dread, maybe it’s time to consider some strategies to make them easier and more enjoyable.
So what is it about parties and gathering that are so troublesome to you?
Many people who seek hypnotherapy for social phobia have give these examples:
- You feel uncomfortable because people don’t really seem to care about what you say or how you are feeling; they never ask you questions about you, preferring to tell you the ’ins and outs’ of their life.
- Conversations can be awkward due to differences in interests. Maybe sport is just not your thing and you don’t care who won the ladies football world cup or how Andy Murray is doing at Wimbledon. You don’t want to get into a ‘lively’ debate about politics. You definitely aren’t interested in hearing about a stranger’s work or relationship problems, but don’t know how to ‘escape’ without causing offence.
- You find it difficult to handle unwelcome interruptions; just when you find someone you feel comfortable with and get into an interesting conversation there is always someone who butts in and takes over, leaving you feeling left out.
These are just a few ways social phobia can make celebrations and events a challenge, rather than a pleasure. When you decide to attend a celebratory event or party, here are a few strategies to help make it less painful:
- People like to talk about themselves, so have a think about who you are likely to meet and some questions you could ask them. For example, how they started their business or how their holiday was. You may learn things you never knew, leading to further questions and conversation.
- Everyone loves a compliment so find something nice to say about the person you are talking to, such as ‘I love your house/car/haircut’ – but it must be a sincere compliment or your body language will give you away.
- ‘Big’ yourself up before attending an event, think positive thoughts rather than spending time thinking about how you don’t want to attend and how awful it is going to be. Ensure you are looking and feeling good – a smile will immediately set you on the right track.
Social phobia is very common and can result from a range of life experiences or simply from low self-esteem. Whatever the reason, worrying about how dreadful it will be will only make it worse. One simple tip is to focus on others and not your own discomforts; when you brighten up someone else’s day with a few questions or compliments it’s amazing how good it can make you feel too. If this strategy doesn’t work, then a professional hypnotherapist may well be able to help.
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About Lorraine Mcreight
Lorraine McReight is an award-winning hypnotherapist with a therapy and training centre in Wimbledon, SW London. She is the principal of The London Hypnotherapy Academy and is the editor of the professional journal, Hypnoversity. She is also the development director of the NCH (National Council for Hypnotherapy) in March 2015.