Getting Social When You Have Anxiety

It’s so easy to say it’s important to find your ‘mummy tribe’ but the reality of this is very different if you suffer with anxiety.

In our recent poll, 85% sent you said that the thought of getting social makes you feel anxious. Your biggest worries were feeling judged by other mums especially around parenting choices and your child’s behaviour. Many of you were also worried about starting a conversation, feeling awkward or uncomfortable and people not liking you.

Thinking about having a conversation with a stranger can be terrifying; what if I say the wrong thing? What if I don’t make sense? What if no one likes me? It can be hard, but just remember that we are all there because we have something in common; we are all mums. We have all wiped bums, know what it’s like to have lost all sense of privacy and almost every one of us will have struggled with sleep deprivation, even mums lucky enough to have babies who sleep through will have had some experience of this in the early days.

It’s easy to forget what it’s like to be around others when you spend so much time at home with your little people. We totally understand it can feel daunting, just remember though that if you are feeling nervous the likelihood is that other mums will be too. You aren’t alone in how you are feeling. – we can promise you this.

Sometimes just the idea of leaving the security of home is enough to want to make you want to run back to bed and hibernate for the entire year. We totally understand that. Horror stories of cliquey groups of mums who look down their noses at anyone who isn’t in their little club (can be enough to scare us off).  You know the ones; the mums who look like they have their sh*t together all of the time, those who are immaculately turned out.  Truth is that’s our insecurity talking, helping and encouraging us to make snap judgements of others. It’s easy to forget that no one is perfect.  Almost everyone you meet will have invisible insecurities of their own.  Truth is if one person doesn’t want to be friends with you it really is their loss. You’ll find your group of friends. What’s the saying? ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’.  It may take time to find those mums who are worthy of your friendship but know this: they are out there!

With the help of your answers we’ve pulled together a simple little list of things you could try if you are feeling anxious about getting social.

  • Chat with other mums online first in order to get to know them a little. Be yourself, be friendly, be open and honest. If you aren’t acting like yourself online, how are they supposed to get to know you? The idea here is to build up an online friendship first.
  • Having someone host the social who will introduce you to others and ensure there is someone to speak to there. We are working on having a network of ambassadors across the country. Maybe start by attending a social that is hosted so you know that the host will be friendly and welcoming.
  • Small get togethers in a familiar venue. Stick to smaller socials and perhaps those in a venue you are familiar and comfortable with.
  • Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people had a better understanding of anxiety? Mums are many things but rarely mind readers of other adults (their own children maybe but not usually other adults, especially when they may be hiding their feelings well). So, be honest with people, let them know you’re feeling anxious and you never know they might be feeling the same too.

It may be easy to meet people but not to actually make friends. We believe it is a case of finding your people, those that bring out the best in you, those that do not judge, those that will be there always and will become your ‘go to’ friends. We’re not saying finding these mums will be easy, nor do we want you to think that the first mums you meet will necessarily be the ones. It can take time and it certainly takes effort but it is possible, we are living proof of that.

Written by Danni, Mummy Social Team (with the help of Rebecca Charlton, @dramediesofanexetermum)

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