How to Reduce Your Social Nervousness: 3 Simple Steps

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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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Henrik, Happy 7th Birthday!
    Keep on keeping on and spread the inspiration. We can all use it!

  • dany

    I have a problem and hope u can help me out.
    I am not very talkative and mostly dont have anything to talk about. i’m an introvert. so it is really hard for me to make friends and mingle in a new environment.
    i really wanna mix with people but sometimes i end up looking stupid. i dont want that. please help me…

  • ernest

    congratulation! and happy 7th anniversary
    Henrik, i must say u have been amazing all these years, kudos

  • Tanish Goel

    I had an interview and I tried your technique. It worked. I have been reading your blog for 6 months and I am surprised how you come up with all these awesome ideas.

    live long henrik edberg!!!

  • Kelley Garner


    I am so happy to have found your blog! I have used many of your suggestions and I intend to use your 3 steps as well. I also share your thoughts and experiences with my 14 year old daughter. Such a great way to help her learn to deal with the real world!
    Thanks for making my day!

  • Tamiru

    Very important idea @ z rt time 4me thank u

  • Hello Henrik,

    Thanks for a nice post again, it is a feeling most of us have experienced at some point in our lives. Have you read the book: “How to stop worrying and start living” from Dale Carnegie? In his book he reflects upon some of the issues I see here in the comment section.

    Awesome book and everyone can learn something from it :-)


    • Thank you, Anders. Haven’t read that one yet, so thanks for the tip!

  • Being nervous is a human natural emotion. We just need to learn how to handle it, and usually it gets easier when you get experience. However, I think it’s possible to be 100% nervous free whenever you an important meeting. Even if you are confident, being slightly nervous will always persist, because you want that meeting or job interview badly. If you don’t want something, why would you be nervous anyway?

  • sorsie

    Thank you Henric for your great mind. Long life for your you and the positivity blog!

  • Adolfin gino

    happy 7th anniversary day…keep rocking with your positive blog…

  • Kirthika

    Thank you so much Henric for this wonderful tips. I am also having this nervous on some special meetings and interviews .

    I will use these steps for further meetings… I believe it definitely work.

    Once again thanks for your wonderful sharing….!!!

  • Henrik,

    Great tips here. I have always been naturally a bit shit and reticent and have had to “force” myself into social situations.

    Similar to your #3, I have always lived by a philosophy of “fake it, til you make it” when it comes to social situations. If you are scared -do it anyway and try to ACT like you perceive people with higher levels of confidence and ease would.

    The thing is that when you do this, soon enough you DO have that confidence and ease and really don’t have to fake it any more.


  • Great reminder!! As most great advice, one tends to learn it, see how good it is, then forget it ever existed. I have heard and tried to apply these tips in the past, but I somehow keep forgetting. Knowing how it helps many others inspires me to try again. I specially need to learn how to slow down and breathe.

    I have a call that I have to make today about a job, so it will be a good opportunity. Your post came at a great time :)

  • Abdullah Iftikhar

    that was helpful….
    thank u Henrik may God bless u :)