Socializing is a big part of university, but this can be difficult for students who feel anxious about social events. Whereas you should definitely avoid events you have a bad feeling about, it’s useful to push yourself to attend more parties and activities on campus to ensure you have the proper university experience. Here are some ideas to help you break out of your shell.
1. Practice Mindfulness
Put yourself in the right frame of mind for an event by practicing mindfulness before you leave your apartment. Find a quiet place to sit, close your eyes, and imagine what a positive experience would look like.
2. Wear Clothes That Give You Confidence
Pick an outfit that’s suitable for the event and makes you feel great. For instance, it’s worth having a pair of shoes you always use for social events because you’ll feel like yourself when you wear them.
3. Have Realistic Expectations
Sometimes, social anxiety is due to expecting too much from yourself. In actual fact, it’s enough to simply show up. It’s great if you do find the confidence to be the life of the party, but this is far from necessary. Instead of striving for perfection, your goal should be simply to attend the event.
4. Decide to Stay for Five Minutes
You can do almost anything for five minutes — and that includes going to a social event that makes you anxious. Do this by initially deciding to stay for just five minutes. Then, take a few deep breaths and see if you’re able to commit to another five. If you use this technique at every event you go to, you’ll soon find you forget about it as the evening progresses and end up staying for far longer than five minutes.
5. Talk to People
If you have friends at the event, seek them out straight away to distract yourself from your anxiety. If you don’t know anyone at the event or your friends are yet to arrive, talk to someone new. Striking up a conversation with a stranger may seem like the most intimidating thing you could do, but standing around and waiting for someone to talk to you will only make you more anxious. You should find that most people are happy to talk to you, especially if you explain that you don’t know anyone.
6. Give Yourself a Reward
Reward yourself for attending a social event with a relaxing activity when you arrive home. This could be catching up with your favorite TV show, taking a long shower, or eating a tasty snack before bedtime.
Struggling with social anxiety can make university isolating at times. It helps to take small steps to build up your confidence, such as meeting new people in small groups rather than at big parties. One place where you can meet new people is at your student housing. THEO has apartments for rent near UOttawa that are just for students. You can choose to have your own room in a shared apartment, a shared room, or an apartment to yourself — whatever makes you comfortable. Apply now.