Updated: February 9, 2018
Whether you're naturally shy, unconfident or self-conscious, or social situations make you nervous because you seek validation from others and you have a problem overcoming anxiety of meeting new people, this article is for you.
I get it.
When placed in new or unfamiliar situations and conversations with people you don't know, you're afraid of getting tongue-tied, saying something stupid or out of context, doing something stupid, not presenting yourself appropriately or otherwise embarrassing yourself.
Or you're afraid of being scrutinized or unfairly judged by people who either don't know you or don't know you well.
Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.
I've struggled for most of my life in similar situations because I'm an introvert.
Fortunately becoming comfortable or at least less uncomfortable or anxiety-ridden in social situations is behavior that can be easily learned, and practice makes perfect.
I have learned, and learned to make use of a number of tactics and strategies to help me to cope or overcome my issues.
You can do the same.
Here are six clever hacks that have helped me. Now you can use them to overcome your anxiety of meeting new people.
6 Simple But Powerful Tips for Overcoming Anxiety When Meeting New People
1. When meeting someone new or a group of new people, be the conversation-starter.
Often our anxiety about meeting new people centers around our concerns of whether we will be knowledgeable about the topics of conversation, and/or our ability to participate in conversations in a meaningful way.
But if we start the conversation, we can ensure that (at least in the beginning when things are usually most uncomfortable or awkward) we know what the topic is about, and we can choose a topic we are proficient in and comfortable with.
2. If you're attending a group social situation (such as a "meet and greet") alone and you don't know anyone else there, stop by the refreshment table first and get something to drink.
This allows you time to casually observe your surroundings and get a read on the atmosphere of the room; to get your bearings.
Allow yourself a few minutes time to begin to feel more comfortable.
Scope the room and find an individual or a small group of people that looks friendly or interesting.
Once you've picked them out, walk directly up to the group and (after politely listening and waiting for a pause in their conversation, or an invitation) introduce yourself.
If they seem open and willing to make room for you to join in, become a part of their conversation (make a comment or ask a question based on what you previously heard). Or, start a new conversation with them (which again, allows you a little more control of subject matter and sense of ease).
3. Be a good listener.
If you are faced with meeting a new person or a group of strangers, one of your best weapons against the stress and anxiety the situation may bring is to be an excellent listener.
This can be an extremely useful tool for dissipating anxiety in two different ways.
First, if you're in a situation where you are well acquainted with the subject of conversation, listening well will allow you to identify opportunities to become engaged in the conversation and contribute to the discussion in a positive, productive and meaningful way.
In doing so, the other individuals involved in the conversation will take notice, and begin to form a positive first impression of you.
If on the other hand, you are not familiar with or well versed in the topic of conversation, being a good listener will allow you to see opportunities where you can be inquisitive and ask relevant, thoughtful questions.
This will give other s engaged in the conversation and opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise.
The result will be that their confidence will be boosted, they will appreciate being given the opportunity to share, and they will appreciate your interest and attentiveness.
4. Search for common ground.
When you meet people and find you have things in common, your attitude toward them immediately changes.
You feel more comfortable, and they're also at ease. Sometimes within a very short period, it can seem like you're old friends.
Whether you're meeting one person or a group of people for the first time, search for what you have in common.
Listen and ask questions (without overstepping social norms and being intrusive or getting too personal). Find as many things as possible that you have in common.
In doing so, you'll begin to feel comfortable and at ease, and the individuals or group of individuals with whom you are interacting will begin to relax as well.
Not only will this relieve any stress you may be feeling and make conversation enjoyable, it could very well become the basis for forming new friendships and/or business relationships.
5. Adopt an attitude of "C'est la vie!"
That's Life! You aren't a perfect being, you exist in an imperfect world and "stuff" happens.
Most things in life are beyond our control no matter how we try to convince ourselves otherwise.
That means that sometimes the unexpected happens or mistakes are made.
So far, the world hasn't come to an end.
So just accept the fact that in your interactions with people sometimes things go wrong, and if they do, It's Okay!
You're okay and you'll be fine.
It'll be a very small bump in the road, or maybe a funny story you can add to your conversation arsenal.
Just let go of the notion that things have to be perfect, and if they're not, something horrible will be the result.
Things are rarely if ever perfect, so don't put unnecessary pressure on yourself that you have to be perfect when meeting new people or they'll hate you. They won't.
6. Stop focusing on yourself and instead get excited about the possibilities of meeting new people and developing new and interesting relationships.
Whether you're working to improve yourself, change your career, your life or your situation, expand your circle of friends or influence, or grow a business, the common key to success in all of those things is personal relationships.
So when you're faced with a situation where you'll be meeting new people, don't obsess over yourself.
Instead, get excited about the many opportunities you'll have to make new contacts, gather new stories and information that can help you, and the ways that your potential interactions may enhance your life.
Then, instead of stress and anxiety, you can at the very least experience nervous excitement.
That emotion puts you in a different, more positive mental space that leads to better, more fruitful results.
And there you have them.
Six Clever Hacks Every Introverted Girl Should Know for Overcoming Anxiety of Meeting New People
If you have a story about overcoming anxiety when meeting new people, please share in the comments.
And, if you like this post, please share it with your family and friends. Thanks! You're awesome!
Kimberly Clay is the founder and creative force behind What She Say. She’s a business professional, writer and editor who’s been creating and managing digital content for nearly twenty years. Her work is now focused in the areas of self-improvement and personal development, and she is passionate about helping other individuals, especially women, to find a path for living their best life.