Social anxiety can be a difficult thing to deal with at university, especially in your first year when you’re first getting to know people. While for some, attending different events and meeting people can be energising, for others it doesn’t come so naturally. There can be a lot of pressure to make these years the best of your life and meet your lifelong friends right away, and it can be difficult when the reality doesn’t live up to these lofty expectations. So, here are some ways to cope with social anxiety at university.
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Being social doesn’t have to mean going to a huge event. It can be helpful to practice with shorter interactions to work on building your confidence first. This could be as simple as saying hi to your flatmates, or dropping in for a quick chat in the kitchen. The more you do this, the more you’ll get to know the people around you, and you’ll become more comfortable talking to them.
When you’re anxious it can be easy to forget to smile. After all, when you’re in panic mode, it might not feel very natural to do so. However, smiling at someone can help you look more approachable and friendly. Plus, it tricks your brain into feeling more confident, and pretty soon you might be smiling for real.
Find Common Interests
Small talk can sometimes feel pointless and dull. When a conversation isn’t very interesting, it can be difficult to stay motivated to keep it going. So when you’re talking with someone, see if you can find any common interests with the other person. Once you do, you can start to develop a better rapport.
Give Yourself An Out
Another one of the best ways to cope with social anxiety is to allow yourself to leave whenever you need to. It can be much easier to attend an event if you have an exit strategy lined up just in case. That way, you know that if you get overwhelmed, you can leave without any trouble. Ironically, the knowledge that it’s okay to dip out when you need to can help you feel much more comfortable, which often leads to staying the whole time anyway.
Be Kind To Yourself
Don’t be too hard on yourself if the social aspect of university is overwhelming. It’s okay if you haven’t met your lifelong friends yet or found your tribe. They will find you eventually. In the meantime, put yourself out there a little bit at a time and practice self care.
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