How are you finding Christmas?
Difficult this year. Since I’ve been on my own I’m just not in the mood for anything this year.
I’m really sorry to hear that. What have you been up to?
Well I’ve tried to keep things the same really – still had the children round, but that was hard.
It’s understandable wanting to keep things as much the same as possible. But trying to keep things the same can emphasise how much things have changed.
But won’t trying something new just keep reminding me that things are different now?
Well sometimes trying something new can be a distraction. And when you try something new the changes aren’t all about what’s missing. So it can be a lot more positive.
But I’ve got really out of the run of doing new things lately. I did all my shopping on the internet because I couldn’t face going out.
The problem is that avoiding things only makes them more intimidating. So not going to the shops or to parties ends up becoming more and more the habit, and they become more and more frightening.
One of my friends was talking to me about a party we’re invited to, and saying they were trying to find an excuse not to go. They don’t want to go – I do, but I’m too nervous.
Have you got someone who could go with you? Why don’t you ask them to go with you as moral support? Perhaps you could even talk to them during the party if you felt anxious.
I have got someone but I don’t want to rely on them all night. It doesn’t seem fair.
What about getting involved, or helping the host? Like doing something new, it can help you focus on something else other than how you feel.
Right, I’ll give it a go. And next year we’ll try going out for Christmas lunch – you have to make new traditions.
If you found this conversation about being socially anxious at Christmas useful why not sign up for my monthly newsletter here with three stories every month on the quirky side of psychology and relationships.