The result of a society that constantly leans on the convenient short cuts of modernity (Tinder,
Uber Eats, Air Tasker and Bumble) means outsourcing absolutely everything from the comfort of
our pyjamas. No effort required. So, what do you do when you’re plagued with anxiety at the
thought of going out and conversing with real humans?
JOMO = Joy of Missing Out. In contrast to FOMO, JOMO is the idealism that it’s really okay to
not go to everything you’re invited to. There will be plenty more parties, gallery openings, trips,
dinners, presentations and launches to go to, so if you don’t want to go, it’s okay to RSVP with a
Remember, you can leave whenever you want.
This is the single best piece of advice I have ever been given when wrestling with social anxiety.
Know that you can always, always leave and that is your power. If you’re not enjoying yourself
or start feeling uncomfortable you can just leave. Simple. Slip out the back door and apologise
Make back to back plans
If it’s a smaller event that you’re attending and you don’t think you have the stamina to stay for
its entirety then organise to be somewhere a few hours after you arrive. Be polite and let your
host know in advance so they can make any necessary changes to their plan. This means you
have a clear and easy way to leave and it will also help alleviate any pre-arrival anxiety.
Not just reserved for politicians and debaters. Talking points are advantageous if you find
yourself tongue tied or searching for poignant questions to counter awkward silence.
In moments like these, my brain usually defaults to “Would you prefer to have feet made of
Baguettes or hands of Apple Pie?” Not helpful.
If you know the general demographic of the crowd attending the event, or have some vague
insight into the personality of guests around a dinner table, it’s never a bad idea to pre-think
some questions and topics of conversation to help things flow seamlessly.
Try to be present
Once you’re at the event, try extremely hard to be present. If you’re predisposed to getting nervy
it can be tough to avoid seeking refuge in your phone, but ultimately it will only work against you
by portraying you as someone that isn’t open to being approached for conversation.
Set a Small Goal
Sounds extremely anti fun, and therefore counter productive, but if you set small ‘social goals’,
you’re less likely to come away feeling like it was all a waste of time after you hid in a corner and
ate canapes. These goals can easily be personalized as per the occasion. Eg. Speak to 2
business contacts, stay until the cake is cut, meet at least one new person.
Don’t drink too much.
It’s easy to resort to alcohol as a shortcut to social lubrication but the potential of things ending
messily is greatly heightened. Stick to one or two.