The best ways to deal with social anxiety during the holidays

Social anxiety can be terrible during the holiday season between the parties and the gatherings. It is a fantastic time to snuggle with a cup of hot chocolate and your favorite book. However, it is also the time for reunions: family, friends, coworkers, old classmates… all wanting to get together and celebrate. How overwhelming.

I tend to avoid such reunions unless I feel very comfortable with the rest of the party.  Small talk makes me nervous and meeting new people is not something that comes easily. Family gatherings can be harder; they are completely unavoidable and even more nerve-wracking because the conversations can be fairly intrusive and personal.

Throughout the year, it was drilled into my head that networking is the most important tool of the modern businesswoman, so I promised myself I would attend holiday events. Of course, I had to prepare for the season.

Dress comfortably

The Christmas season is as fashionable as it is festive, and of course I want to rise to the occasion.  Dressing comfortably though is fundamental, it will help with your confidence levels and will also help if you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, like me.


The physical act of smiling makes you more approachable. I used to think that smiling  was an open invitation to come and talk to me, which was something I actively avoided. I have realised though that it makes me seem friendlier and warmer, which people respond well to. Not only is this a nice feeling, but with people coming up to you, you won’t need to go over to them.

Talk about things you like

I personally believe that Netflix is here to save us all from awkward small talk. Asking or talking about the most recent show you have watched is an instant conversation starter. It is a no-brainer and chances are you and your ‘conversation partner’ have at least one show in common, or at least a fair share of opinions.

 It is okay not to be perfect

… particularly when it comes to family gatherings. Things are bound to get awkward when relatives start asking about your relationship and future. Just try to think of the reason behind the questions. When my mindset changed from thinking these questions were asked with judgement to out of care, I worried less about the answer I gave. “Yes, I do have a job. No, I don’t have a boyfriend. Yes, I am happy.” At the end of the day, all they want is an update on how you have been doing.


Related Topics:

The ultimate to-do list for a smooth Christmas

Apps to help your mental health over Christmas

Your 6 worst holiday family problems, solved

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