Have you ever sat legs-a-twitching, alone in car munching on your fingernails, waiting for someone you know to walk past before entering a club/dinner/any social event? Chances are you’re not alone.
There’s something about living in such a confined community that makes a lot of us metaphorically claw our own eyes out when we’re faced with having to engage in social activity. Happily, there are a few ways to deal with it.
Here are the ways:
1. Fake it till you make it
Remember that girl who used to walk into Ryans and men and women would swarm around her like she was giving away free Twistees? There was also the male equivalent whose back was never left un-slapped, his drink never empty, his forehead never sweaty.
Well, even if you are not that person, fake confidence will take you a long way away from feeling like the eternal social pariah. The truth is if you fake confidence for long enough it will soon convert into the real stuff.
2. Hi, my name is…
Maltese people generally don’t make introductions. How many times have you sat at the Sliema Ferries trying not to look awkward whilst your coffee-buddy small talks for fifteen minutes to a passer-by they’ve met?
Make a mental note to always introduce your friends to each other. Next time around they might pay you the same courtesy and you’ll feel less like an alien.
3. FOMO No Mo
It’s an epidemic. FOMO (the Fear Of Missing Out) is the single most detrimental affliction to a collective peace of mind. Maltese are crippled with anxiety at the sheer possibility of missing out on a nano-moment with their chosen clique. Here’s a tip: nothing will happen that your friends won’t fill you in on later.
Stop going to things you don’t want to go to, stop being places you don’t want to be. It’s probably a big part of what’s making you anxious. Because you have to either feign excitement or be lousy company all night because you hate the fact that you’re in PV when you could be watching GOT. There WILL be other good times – it’s actually a fact.
4. No Judgement
Let’s face it, we love to gossip. The staple question you put to your friends as you’re lying on the beach trying to keep the creeping boredom at bay is: “So, any gossip?”
It’s fine, you’re normal. Gossiping is a national sport, and as toxic as it is, it would be crazy to think we can change it. What we can work on is judgement. You might have an opinion about that underage pregnant girl, or that unfaithful boyfriend/girlfriend, or that old school friend who (rumour has it) is gay. Truth is – you have no idea what they’re going through or how they got to where they are so don’t throw that first Biblical stone.
Imagine we could all stop judging each other? None of us would ever have to feel anxious, ever. Now that would be Maltopia.
BONUS: Be nice to each other!
Firstly, you’d be a fool not to listen to decades of Panto Dame advice. Secondly, there is no greater balm to the malady of social anxiety than to treat people as you’d like them to treat you. It’s not rocket science, it’s super easy. And the pay-off is massive.