Community, Mental Health

Extending one’s Social Network – NB Social Anxiety Sufferers

Adapted from Marc and Angel’s blog…www.marcandangel.com

Family 2013 255

1. Learn to enjoy your own company.

Ironically, the prerequisite to building healthy relationships is being comfortable when you’re all by yourself. Appreciating solitude starts with the conscious awareness of the freedom it brings. It’s also important to note that being desperate for the company of others will hinder your ability to authentically interact and communicate. You’ll be more worried about achieving external validation instead of just letting your truth flow and being open to establishing honest human connections.
2. Get in touch.

Dig back into your past and make a list of people you wish you had stayed in better touch with. Then contact them. An email or text message might work best to break the ice if you’re contacting someone you haven’t talked to in a while. If you have lost a person’s contact information, Google them, or look them up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc. Or perhaps you have a mutual friend or acquaintance who can put you in touch.

This practice might sound overly simple, or even a bit silly, but taking the initiative and reaching out to relationships is almost always appreciated. The return on investment for the short amount of time it takes you to send some emails and texts, and hopefully make a few phone calls and lunch dates, is huge: HEALTHIER RELATIONSHIPS. You’ll be left asking yourself: “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
3. Be generous and help others.

You have two hands, one to help yourself and the second to help those around you.

It’s one thing to take the initiative with people you already know, but what about all the people around you whom you barely know?

Introduce yourself to someone nearby. When you’re connecting with someone new always start with generosity. Focus on how you can help the other person. Do you have information that could benefit them? Do you have a skill that could assist them through their current situation? Do you know someone who they should meet? Don’t let rejection once or twice hold you back. You yourself may not like everyone you meet, so don’t expect others to like everyone they meet either,  but keep trying! Don’t give up and you WILL get better at it with practice.

One of the best investments you can make in yourself is to take a genuine interest in other people. The more you help others, the more they will want to help you. Love and kindness begets love and kindness.
4. Join an active community of likeminded people.

The best places to plant new seeds of friendship are at local, organized meet-ups on a particular topic that interests you. A meet-up might be a professional association, a community focus group, a fitness class, a weekly group meditation hour, or any other gathering of people who share a common passion.

The easiest way to find a community to join is to make a list of your core passions and keywords that represent them. Think about everything you enjoy and every issue that has meaning to you. For example:

personal development
spirituality
blogging
software development
graphic design
acoustic guitar
meditation
yoga
cooking

art or craft

social anxiety?

Alternatively, add the name of your city to your keywords and use them as a Google search query (for example: “cooking class Austin”). This will help you find local meet-ups, social groups, bloggers, businesses, and events related to these topics.

5. Leaders and Mentors/Fellow bloggers

Take an interest in their work, if it interests you. Email them…. what can you lose?

The lesson here is: don’t limit yourself. Take a look at the blogs you have bookmarked, the email lists you subscribe to, or even your bookshelf, for example, and ask yourself: Which of these bloggers, authors, and entrepreneurs might I like to get to know? And then reach out to them. Most likely, many of them will reply.

Bloggers, authors and Internet entrepreneurs in particular seem to be more easily accessible by email and social media than other public figures. Obviously, you may never meet or even get a personal response from some of the people you contact this way, but it’s still fun to make an attempt, and you never know what will happen. You just might make a solid connection with someone that inspires you.

Final Thoughts

If you feel like you could use some help in the social arena, why not make today the day you choose to break out of your shell and ponder about reaching out to the wonderful people around you?

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