Overcoming anxiety in social settings

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Since I happen to have and enjoy a career that requires me to interact with the public and attend large social events, you would think I have the personality of a social butterfly.
But I don’t.
Since I can remember, I was dubbed as the shy, quiet and soft-spoken one. However, once I get to know you, I will talk and talk and talk.
To this day, I still get shy in front of large crowds, especially when it’s me they are talking about.
Some people mistake other’s shyness for rudeness. Not all of us were meant to be the life of the party or a “chatty Kathy.”
For the most part I embrace my shyness, but also realize that I need to break the boundaries of my comfort zone once in a while.
I came across an interesting article on www.inc.com. The author offered some suggestions as to how to overcome social awkwardness.
The first suggestion the author makes is to wear mismatched socks for a day. After some time, you may not worry about what others may think about the socks.
The author also suggests asking people for the time at a shopping center during a busy time of the day. This addresses the fear of stranger rejection, the author states.
Finally, the author suggests implosion, “tackling a challenge so intimidating that once you’ve made it through, your original goal no longer fazes you.”
The second suggestion is one I’ve had some experience with. Most every day I talk to strangers and ask them if I can take their picture for our Good Morning feature.
I admire and envy confident people, which I also think is an important trait to possess.
According to Merriam-Webster, confidence is the feeling or belief that you can do well and succeed at something.
However, while I do think confidence is an asset, I’m not a big supporter of being egotistical.
Since my start in the newspaper industry, I have overcome quite a bit of my social anxieties and fears. I still have a long way to go so if you see me around town in the near future wearing mismatched socks, you’ll know why.

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