How to Reduce Your Social Nervousness: 3 Simple Steps

“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.”
Benjamin Franklin

One very common question I’ve gotten over the years goes something like this:

“I always get nervous before a date/meeting/social gathering and that holds me back from being my true and best self and from doing and getting what I want. What can I do to overcome this?”

This is an issue that used to hold me back in the past and I’ve more experience with it than I would have ever wanted.

Back when I was still single I often got quite nervous before a date.

And before that, when I didn’t have a date at all in a long time, I got nervous before most social situations.

It was no fun.

Things weren’t hopeless though. And today I would like to share three small habits and steps that, simply put, totally changed my life.

Step 1: Slow down.

A few minutes before you step into the meeting, job interview or date that makes you nervous slow down.

Walk slower to the meeting place. Move slower.

Then stop.

Step 2: Breathe.

Stand still or sit down for a minute. And then just breathe. Take a little deeper breaths than usual.

Make sure you breathe through your nostrils and with your belly.

Focus on just your slow in-breaths and out-breaths for 1-2 minutes.

This will calm your mind and body down and make it easier to think clearly and normally again.

Plus, that singular focus on your breathing will draw you back into this moment instead of leaving you lost in the thoughts of past failures or destructive worries about your near future.

Step 3: Assume rapport.

Assuming rapport means that just before you met someone you pretend and think to yourself that you are meeting one of your best friends.

Doing this will allow you to naturally slip into a much more relaxed, comfortable, confident and enjoyable emotional state and frame of mind.

In this frame of mind the conversation and smiles tends to flow naturally, without much thinking.

Just like with your best friends.

It’s, in my experience, a very simple habit to adopt but at the same time it’s also an incredibly powerful habit for tapping into your best social self.

By using these three steps over and over they will become habits that are easy to use. And over time as you get good results in social situations the old normal of feeling nervous will be replaced by a new normal.

A normal where you’re – at least most of the time – relaxed and confident in social situations because all your recent experiences put together have changed how you view yourself and what you expect on dates, in meetings and other such situations.


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About the Author

Henrik Edberg is the creator of the Positivity Blog and has written weekly articles here since 2006. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Gothenburg and has been featured on Lifehacker, HuffPost and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • social life has a way of tricking people into doing things that are inappropriate without even knowing it from the onset.

    Thanks for this simple, but very important and useful guide

  • Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful article here up on the website. My problem was always like I just get stuck so much in the head that I just hurt the natural flow of conversations. It’s like my mind is always in the future and just looking through things for the future possibilities. Really liked the article, please keep up the good work coming up on regular, love reading em :)

  • I would try to work on this but I just pray it helps me out on my social nervousness

  • dharmik

    thanks sir feeling inspired !!!!

  • Samantha

    thank u for these! it’s so helpful.

  • Anna

    Thank you for these reminders keep up the good work!

  • Julie

    Wow you’ve just made socialising seem a whole lot easy.
    Thank you

  • george deane

    One cannot operate beyond the limitations of one’s personality.
    Trying to be someone other than the one you are will be perceived by the other person as being contrived, artificial and insincere. Being your natural self will be greeted by the other
    as something positive.

  • Arin

    Good one as usual always. Will remember this :) Thanks Henrik, have a good one. Cheers!

  • Subhash chand

    Thanks for sharing your tips on social nervousness… Deep breathing is really helpful…I have experienced….

  • Lu

    I thank you very much for your very well thought out article. Your professional approach is inspiring. Thanks for sharing your personal experiences. Thanks.

  • Cydni Raven

    I have this one written in my journal. I’ve read it before social events and it really helped my frame of mind. Thank you for your continued positivity and honesty Henrik! I wrote these ideas into a new journal. Reading it over again helps to ingrain it in my mind!

  • Thanks a lot for the great article. I often get stuck in my thoughts, messing up how I talk. My mind is too busy thinking about what’s next. I really enjoyed your article, keep posting. Love reading them :)
    Cheers, Niv