You know the feeling of going into a party or a networking event and knowing absolutely no one? Nerve-wracking doesn’t even begin to describe it. As the owner of a company called “Social Yoga”, one would naturally assume that I am an extroverted social butterfly. While this is certainly true in select scenarios; for the most part, I can’t say I love large-scale events. (Which is perhaps why I founded a company in which bigger isn’t better and we focus on facilitating intimate/ small-group yoga classes- another story, another time.)
Here are some of my best tips for easing any anxiety that may arise in those moments where you’re thinking: What have I gotten myself into?
Stay in the moment
Things are always bigger and scarier in your mind. We put ourselves through the wringer when we start thinking about all the things that don’t exist. You know- the “What if” scenarios, the future, and the “wonder what they’re thinking” kind of thoughts. Will we make a good impression? Was our handshake limp? Are we lingering too much around the snacks? Get out of your head and into your body. Which leads me to my next point.
You don’t need to bust out your Ujayi (or darth vadar) breath, just become conscious/ aware of the next few inhales and exhales. There is a quote I often say in class- you can’t breath in the past, you can’t breath in the future so paying attention to your breath means you’re instantly paying attention to this moment. A few moments of being present and you’ll realize that all the anxious thoughts are just that- thoughts. If you’re worried about looking strange, head to the bathroom- just don’t inhale too deeply in there.
Your mind is your sidekick so instead of recruiting the lame, annoying, Debbie downer sidekick, bring out the big boys. If you’re in the bathroom already, close your eyes and visualize your confident self walking back out there and striking up a conversation.
A little dose of compassion
So you’ve imagined being an ace conversationalist- it’ll manifest right? I’m not too sure what the statistics are on manifestation but when it doesn’t work, that’s when a little dose of self-compassion comes in. It’s okay. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and try again. There are so many people in the room, you’re bound to find someone or a group of people with whom you will click. We are often our worst critics when instead; we need to be our own best friends.
A large dose of perspective.
At the end of the day, odds are that most people there are just as out of their element as you are. Leave your ego at the door and recognize that there is no “me vs them” mentality- everyone is just a regular person wanting the same kind of things you want- be it connections, fun, or just a good conversation. There’s nothing to lose through a conversation and so much to gain (new friends, partnerships, or just a fun fact or two.)
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Written by: Anita Cheung, @thesocialyoga
Editor: Sara Rose McKenna, @smckennaSC
#SOCIALintheCITY Created By: Sara Rose McKenna, @smckennaSC
Social City Networking INC.: SOCIAL in the CITY 2015