We're now in the height of summer, the official time of the season for pool parties, barbecues, beach gatherings, and general warm weather fun.
But unless you and your friends keep your circle pretty tight (and there's nothing wrong with that), you're likely to end up at a gathering with a large group of people you don't know at some point. And for those of us who get anxious in social situations, that can feel like a nightmare scenario.
"Social anxiety is triggered whenever you feel like you might be evaluated by someone else, and at a party there are a lot of people, and it’s a pretty unstructured social situation," says Ali Mattu, PhD, assistant professor at the Columbia University Medical Center. "There’s no clear rule about what to do, or who to talk to, or what to say, and all that uncertainty combined with the social evaluation can make a party a pretty difficult place to be."
But rest assured that your social anxiety doesn't have to stop you from going out with people. Read on for a few tips that'll help you get through a party and have fun doing it.
If you are experiencing anxiety and are in need of crisis support, please contact Anxiety UK on 0844 775 774.