During Lockdown, my little introverted self had a sense of ease, as I wasn’t going out. While I do love seeing family and friends, and I did miss them, I didn’t experience much pressure when it came to social events, as they were nonexistent.

Now, everything is back open again, and I have a crippling sense of anxiety and nerves before heading off for any type of social event. While I love my friends and I love seeing them, I tend to overthink everything that could go wrong and start to dwell on the negativity, even though I am fine when I get there.

This blog post will share insight into how I prepare for social events as an awkwardly shy and quiet introvert and how I try to calm my nerves. As always, I hope this blog post can help anyone who can relate, regardless of if you are an extrovert or an introvert, as both can experience these feelings.

What happens before a social event
I didn’t know how much to share about my overthinking nature regarding a social event. I’ll be honest; I felt a bit silly writing everything I think about before a social event over and over again.

But then, I remembered that blogging has shown me that we are not alone in how we feel sometimes, so I wanted to be honest as it might help others feel less alone, just like other content has made me feel less alone.

Fixate on the Negative

What if I’m under-dressed? What if I’m overdressed? What if I don’t get along with anyone? What if, what if, what if…

I’ve lost count of how many what-if scenarios stumble around my head before a social event. I think of every possibility aside from the positive scenarios.

People

My partner is an extrovert, and the concept of meeting new people makes him happy. Me on the other hand, I fill with dread at the idea of meeting new people. It is strange; I like meeting people in some ways, but that initial conversation worries me the most. I wish you could just skip to the part where you know certain areas of their personality enough to know what to ask and talk about, you know?

I went on a little tangent there, so back on track. Before a social event, I like to know who is going, as it provides a safety blanket of people I can talk to during the event. Facebook groups are a lifesaver for this, as are groups chats on messenger, as you can see who is going without asking around.

Questioning the Venue

Does anyone else try to find interior pictures of venues they are going to before a social event? Or do you do better things with your time? I feel safer and more relaxed when I know the layout of the venue. I want to know what the seating is like, where the toilets are, where the exits are and even how busy it will be on the day I am going.

Venue

Even when I get to a venue, I feel like I am examining the space to understand my surroundings.

Tips on How To Properly Prepare

Here are a few tips that have helped me prepare for a social event as an introvert. I hope they can help you.

Talk to Someone

The greatest asset I have is my partner and close friends, who understand that I overthink things like a social event. Take my partner, for example; I will discuss any concerns I have with him, and sometimes just talking can help ease my nerves.

I know not everyone will have someone close to talk to, so I hope this blog post is a way to say, hey, you are not alone when you feel this way.

Focus On the Positive

I know it’s cliché, but focusing on the positive and the real scenarios rather than the one’s you create in your head can help. Focus on the people you know and the people who you like at the social event. Focus on why you are going to this social event in the first place.

If you start to focus on the negative, you can do what I do, and do a full-body shake. Does anyone else do that when they have a negative thought, they make a sound or body movement, as though that will shake it away?

Have a Plan

I feel so much more secure when I have a plan, and in this case, an escape plan. While I reiterate that my friends are lovely, sometimes, a social event can be too much. I like to tell myself, if it’s too much, you can always get a taxi home, or you can go to the house party and leave if they go to the pub. 9/10 the escape plan is not needed, but something about having a ‘way out’ makes me feel more comfortable about going to the event in the first place.

The Time Before

If you can, focus on a social event you have before that went well. When I start to feel the negative scenarios consume my mind, I like to remember what happened at the last good social event I went to and tell myself, this time can be like that, just focus on the positive.

Have Fun Getting Ready

Put your favourite playlist on, and have some fun getting ready! While distracting yourself isn’t always a good option, in this case, I think it is. The main issue I have for social events is that I will steamroll through a list of possible scenarios just before the event begins. These thoughts consume me, and I want to back out of the event, no matter how fun it is.

Do I Have to Go?

For every social event, one question always crosses my mind – do I have to go? No matter the event, no matter the people, no matter the venue, it always happens. I convince myself that a cosy night at home might be better, even if I was looking forward to the event. I don’t know why I do it, but the question always pops up.

Before a social event Summary

As you can see, I prepare for a social event by gathering as much information as possible. So I guess a social event is kind of a research project for me. I feel comfortable knowing the event inside and out, but I need to learn to let go. I understand that things will happen out of my control, but emotionally, I worry.

I find distracting myself with music, activities or even a card game with my partner before setting off really helps.

Be Honest

Sometimes your thoughts win, and you end up backing out of an event. Some days it is too much, and it is okay if you do choose a cosy night at home. If you can, be honest with your friends and family about why you don’t want to attend.

I used to think that saying I am too overwhelmed to go to an event wasn’t a good excuse, and others would think I was overreacting. Granted, some people will still think that, but the people who care about you will try to understand it from your side. Be honest with others and yourself, and don’t go to an event if you genuinely do not want to go.

Summary

How did you like seeing into the mind of this introvert? I know not everyone will experience everything mentioned in this blog, but it did feel good writing it.

Since Lockdown ended in the UK, I have been trying to calm my nerves before social events, as they got worse during those endless months of staying at home. It can be scary to jump back into social events, especially for someone like me, but I know that I will have a good time when I get there; I just have to keep reminding myself of that.
Timing

What time is the event? What time can I leave? I think about the time a lot for social events. I want to be on time, but not too early. I need to know how to get there, and how to get back, and if it’s an all-night thing.

As always, I will end with a question that I hope you will answer in the comments below.

How do you handle social events?
Do you find them relatively easy? Or do you overthink like me? Or does it entirely depend on the type of social event?