- Set clear boundaries. This could be boundaries for yourself, or with other people. Don’t be afraid to give yourself the grace you need, and don’t be afraid to set boundaries with other people. Not comfortable with hugs? Set that boundary. Don’t worry about their feelings – set your boundaries and stand by them.
- Focus on comfort. Don’t panic about what you’re going to wear, or if you look “socially acceptable.” Wearing something that you think fits what is “fashionable,” but that makes you itch and want to crawl out of your skin, isn’t worth it. Even if it’s a themed costume party – find something that you are comfortable in, and rock it.
- Focus on your breath. This is a simple one, really, and a tried-and-true trick. If you’re getting overwhelmed, just focus on taking some deep breaths, only thinking about the air coming in and going out of your body.
- Focus on one person at a time. Don’t try to have multiple conversations going at once or feel like you have to jump into the crowd of people having a massive discussion. Find one person you’re comfortable talking to, and focus on having a conversation with them, to start.
- Go into social situations with a buddy, when possible. Depending on the gathering, find a friend or family member who can accompany you, someone who will be a guaranteed friendly face to have in the crowd.
- Be ok with leaving early. If you’re completely overwhelmed and none of the other tips are working for you, it’s ok to leave early. Don’t feel pressured to stay until a “socially acceptable” time. Your mental health is important, and if you need to leave early, go for it!
How to Know When you've Buried Your True Identity
Get the four steps to recognize when you’ve morphed to fit the expectations of others.