If you have anxiety, especially in social situations, going to a party may seem like the last thing you want to do. There are many things to think about before and during the party that can really send an anxiety sufferer over the edge. However, if you find yourself in a situation where it is unavoidable or you truly want to go but are just unsure how to deal with your disorder, there are many tips and methods to help make your next party experience easy and fun. Don’t let your anxiety disorder hold you back any longer and get out there while you still can.
- Find a friend that understands your disorder to tag along.
Having a friendly face present will automatically make you more comfortable. However, having a friend who also knows and understands your disorder, is a true help in this situation. They know you have something holding you back and will not force you to do anything that makes you uncomfortable. They also can be a great way for you to get involved in conversations without having to put yourself out there on your own. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed or anxious, they can sit down with you and talk to you until you feel better. They also will be more open to leave if it becomes too much for you. However, the party will probably go over better than you expect and your friend can be a good back up system to reassure you someone is there for you.
- Prepare for the party well beforehand to eliminate any worry the day of.
As soon as you find out about the party, ask any questions that may cause you worry. These questions can be something like, “What should I wear?” or “Do I need to bring anything?” This will eliminate the stress that may come from worrying if you will stand out or be unprepared for the event. It is also important to pamper yourself the day of to lower your cortisol levels and any extra anxiety or stress. Do things such as take a bath, read a book, or workout. Doing things you enjoy will naturally put you in a better mood and alleviate anxiety before the party.
- Remember that you are the only person that is thinking about you.
This may seem rude, however anxiety sufferers often worry about what everyone is thinking about them. When you are at the party, you may convince yourself that this is true, but it is simply not. No one is thinking about what you wore or what you said in that last conversation. Most people are feeling the same way and are only thinking of what others think of them. It is important to not get too far into your own head. Realize everyone has their own things to think and talk about and no one is really as concerned with you as you may believe to be true.
- Try arriving to the party a bit early.
Of course check with the host first, but it will be very helpful for you to arrive a little early to the party. This will let you get a feel for your environment before all of the guests arrive. This can help you decide where you would like to sit or do during the event and you can even find a little spot to decompress if you start getting overwhelmed at all. Another benefit for arriving early is that you will be there first before all the guests arrive. Therefore, you will not have to walk into a room full of faces and have a whole round of introductions to take on. Instead, you will be able to meet the guests one-on-one as they trickle in. This can also help you make friends with other early arrivers before their friends are there.
- Participate in any events or games during the party.
You may feel that participating is putting you in the spotlight. However, choosing not to participate will actually draw more attention to you. Try your best to not worry about embarrassing yourself. Instead focus on having fun and making new friends. The other guests will be happy for you that you even tried and want to be involved in something they are also doing. This is one of the best ways to really feel comfortable with the other guests. However, if you truly do not want to participate, it is OK to turn down the invitation. If you feel bad about it, you can always use an excuse such as “I’m starting to get a headache.” or “I need to use the restroom quickly.” Both of these options can get you out of the situation without offending anyone encouraging you to join them.
- Remind yourself that a party is a happy event.
If you are feeling dreadful about your upcoming party, remind yourself that parties are meant to make you feel the exact opposite. Train your brain to see this event as a positive experience and only try to fill your head with positive thoughts about it. Having a negative outlook on the party will only increase your anxiety and worry. Therefore, don’t prepare as though you just want to get through the event as smoothly and quickly as possible, but prepare as though you know you will have fun and make many great memories even though it may cause you a bit of anxiety along the way.
Going to parties is something that no one should be held back from. It is important to enjoy your life and go out of your comfort zone every now and then. It may seem scary, but with these tips, it is sure to go over smoothly and you will probably enjoy yourself more than you ever imagined. If you or a loved one has an anxiety disorder, it is important to do as much research as possible. Find adequate resources and information, and figure out a treatment option that is right for you.