As we get older, many of us start spending less time in social situations than we did when we were young and wild. Whether it’s work that gets busy or mom-ing it up or maybe both, it’s hard to get out as much as we might like to. Sometimes this can lead to some anxiety when we do actually get out of the house or office and try to do something social. The longer we go without getting out, the harder it seems to be. The longer this cycle goes on, the more frustrating and saddening it can become. If you’ve been there (or are there now), have no fear, we’re here to tell you that it’s possible to overcome those worries and feel confident and fearless in social situations. If you haven’t read “Feeling Fearless: 3 Tips to Boost Your Confidence NOW”, you’ll want to start there. Once you’ve started using those tips, the steps below will help you even more in social situations.
Step 1: Dress for comfort. We’re not talking sweatpants and a t-shirt here. Dressing for comfort means that you are comfortable in what you’re wearing because: it fits, it’s flattering, it’s weather/temperature appropriate, it’s appropriate for the occasion and it fits your style. No matter how comfortable sweatpants are, you won’t actually feel comfortable in them during a night out with friends when everyone is dressed up. If you’re dressed up but your dress is too low-cut for your comfort or you don’t like how your legs look in it, you won’t be comfortable. And, if you’re wearing something with spikes and you’re more of a lace girl, you most likely won’t feel comfortable either. If there are things in your closet that don’t make you feel comfortable, just get rid of them. Make sure you have at least a few go-to outfits that you can feel comfortable in at any time.
Finding an outfit that fits the bill can feel really daunting at times. Especially when it comes to the fit. As much as we hate to admit it, our clothes fit pretty differently at different times whether our size/shape/weight have changed or not. Using Fearless Tape can be SO helpful in situations when something almost fits or won’t quite stay in place. It can be a lifesaver when you’re trying to find something you feel comfortable in.
Step 2: Spend time with the mirror and then move on. Literally and figuratively. Spend time getting ready so you feel great about yourself. But then, move on and get over it. If you spend the night constantly thinking about whether or not your hair or eyeliner look okay, you’re not going to feel confident enough to have fun and relax. Even if it means you need to leave work early or have the babysitter come earlier or maybe even be a couple minutes late, make the time that you need to get ready. Take that last look in the mirror to remind yourself you look awesome and then forget about it. You look great and feel comfortable with the way you’re dressed, now go have fun!
Step 3: Stop comparing. Seriously. Just stop. Tell yourself it’s not worth it and move on. We get that it’s not as simple as writing it or saying it so here are some tips. First of all, it’s fine to notice that someone else’s hair or outfit looks amazing. You’re going to notice. But don’t fall into the trap (that we so often do) of thinking that just because her hair looks amazing yours doesn’t or yours is somehow sub-par.
We know this sounds completely cheesy but it works... Whenever you see someone who looks amazing and you start to think less of yourself, change your frame of mind and think of the things about you that are totally gorgeous. At first you might have to remember things that your mom or significant other have said. Eventually, once you’ve reminded yourself of these gorgeous things about yourself often enough, you’ll start to believe them for yourself. And honestly, if someone believed it enough to say it out loud to you (even if it was your mom), then other people are thinking it too. You never know when you’re the one others are looking at and wishing they could look like.
Just make a decision now that you’re not going to let yourself feed into those feelings. Stop it right when it starts and move on with your night. Do you want to feel crappy or happy? Choose happy and have some fun.
Step 4: Set boundaries. One of the reasons so many people have a hard time in social situations is that they don’t set boundaries for themselves. Are there things you don’t like to do or talk about? Are there people who suck all of your energy? Do you not handle being hungry or tried very well? Define what things make you unhappy in social settings and remove them, avoid them or stop them when they’re happening.
Make a commitment to yourself that you won’t tolerate being miserable to make others comfortable. If there’s someone you can’t stand being around, avoid events they’re a part of. If you can’t avoid being there, have a plan to politely excuse yourself when they’re around. If you get hangry, keep food in your purse or plan your night around being sure you have access to food when you need it. Can’t handle being tired? Leave when you’re getting to that point. Make sure those around you know that you’re done when you’re done and hold yourself to it. These things can be hard to get used to, but it’s SO worth it once you do. Often it’s our lack of boundaries that are causing the most problems in our lives. You’ll find that when you set boundaries and hold yourself to them, so many of your issues and anxieties will diminish.
Step 5: Have a confidant. Unless it’s completely impossible for the situation you’re in, have someone with you who knows your boundaries. If they don’t know your boundaries before hand, don’t be afraid to open up to them. You’ll be surprised how many things people will open up about when you open up first. You don’t have to bear your soul to anyone, just be real with them. When someone in the group you’re in understands your boundaries, you’ll feel a lot more comfortable acting on them. If they know you’re not used to being up late or that you get majorly hangry, you’ll feel more comfortable eating a granola bar or going home at 9pm because someone knows why and was expecting it. If you get overstimulated by being around too many people or being in environments that are too loud, make sure someone you’re with knows that so you’ll feel more comfortable taking a break or leaving if you hate it too much. And, since you have someone who knows beforehand, you might be more likely to have a buddy if you decide to do something you find more fun.
Some of these steps might be easy for you while others may sound impossible or hard to get used to. We’ll tell you right now that no matter how long they take to get used to, it’s much easier to practice these steps than to spend the rest of your life being uncomfortable. Take time to feel your best, find a support system, know your limits and follow them unapologetically.
How do you keep yourself feeling fearless in social situations? Let us know on Facebook and help other feel fearless as well!