Social Anxiety & What To Do

Does small talk exhaust you and make you want to run for the hills? I know it does for me!
The more I work with people the more I realise a lot of binge drinkers are in fact quite shy people. We are often introverted, like quiet time or prefer small groups of people we know well. 
When out of our comfort zone, we tend to use alcohol to give us confidence and can rarely stop at just one.  The nervous energy drives us to keep on drinking and before too long we are so drunk we don't remember large portions of the night. 
Now this isn't true for everyone but if this is you, please keep reading. 

On the How I Quit Alcohol Podcast, we've caught up with two great speakers on this topic Patrick Kennedy and Ben Schiller. 
Patrick Kennedy addressed our hatred of small talk and how it causes us serious discomfort. We deep dive into how we often use alcohol to escape awkwardness.  The problem with this is we usually end up acting in ways that we don't like, which the following day sends our anxiety through the roof. 
Patrick is a big believer getting comfortable with small talk and social anxiety, and this is exactly what we are trying to address. Listen more to Patrick over on our podcast right here.

We've also spoken with therapist Ben Schiller in great detail about social anxiety, do I have it and what the hell do I do about it? Listen here.
Ben talks about what to do when we feel social anxiety creep in. He sheds light on how social anxiety can take on many different forms. Some people may have full blown panic attacks, for others, it can be more subtle.  
To find out where you sit with social anxiety, try answering the following questions:
  1. Do you ever feel anxious when having to go to a social gathering of people you don't know?
  2. Do you feel self conscious and judgey or yourself when you are talking to people?
  3. Do you feel like people are judging you while you are talking?
  4. Do you get a flushed face, sweating palms or an anxious tummy?
  5. Do you often feel exhausted after being around people you don't know that well or after having to make small talk?
If you answered yes to at least two of these questions you are mostly like an introvert who experiences social anxiety. 

Our fears of being judged, not being good enough or not being likeable drive us to reach for a drink to tame the awkward feelings.  The problem is that the dutch courage we get from alcohol can often lead us to doing things which is actually out of alignment to who we are at our core. 

What if you are just a quiet person? What would be the worst outcome if you didn't show up being the life of the party? Who would you be without the thought that you must not make a mistake or make sure everyone is having a good time?

Just notice what is coming up for you next time you are facing a social situation that is making you feel uncomfortable and ask yourself:
  • What is behind the uncomfortable feelings? 
  • What am I actually afraid of and what am I afraid will happen if I don't show up being "all the things"?
  • How would I feel to actually be true to myself?
I mean, wouldn't the world be such a different place if we were to walk around being our authentic selves?  Wouldn't we be so much happier and a hell of a lot more sober.