How To Navigate Holiday Gatherings While Dealing with Social Anxiety

Young people, feelings and emotions. Portrait of worried man. Italian guy showing anxiety and frustration

Yes, we agree, the Holidays can be incredibly stressful with all the gatherings, tempting foods, and “different” (ahem) family and friend personalities we need to navigate at this time of the year. If you have social anxiety like many of us do, this time of year can be extra weird for you. We get it.

So, what to do? How can you make the best of these social gatherings, without having to completely talk yourself into going, and not only tolerate it, but maybe even possibly enjoy yourself?

Compassion for yourself and others is *key*.


First: Explain to those whom have invited you, if you truly don’t wish to participate, it’s best to say so. Simply state your truth and where you are at this moment in time, true friendship/love relationships should allow us to be freely who we are and give us the breathing room to make decisions that are the best for us at this time.

Second: If you’re not sure if you’d like to go to the event, ask the host if you can let them know the week or the day of the event. This is your “maybe” answer that allows for wiggle room in case you literally feel so burnt out from all the other life “things” you need to attend to at this time.

Third: If you feel you need to go and would like to go but also might not want to engage in the entire event, you can allow yourself to go and then either show up a bit later or leave early for “other commitments”. Imagine, you may go and actually begin to have fun and so decide to stay much longer than you originally intended! Here again, true love and friendship allows us that wiggle room to do what we need to for ourselves. 


Having your own personal plan prior to these events will ensure you have an out, even if you don’t need one on that particular day and will help ease any fear response you may have typically had when making a decision about social activities. 

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