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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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 Lifehack, The Huffington Post and Paulo Coelho’s blog. Click here to learn more…

86 comments… add one
  • Thanks for writing this!

    I never really thought of #3 but it does make sense.
    I’ll be sure to try it out when I have to interact with people I’m not too familiar with.

  • Deborah Higgins

    How did you get so wise? I am sure it was hard going at times but you have helped so many. I love the expect rapport paragraph and the walking slow. I am so happy I found your blog. I am currently taking your course on self esteem. It is great. With creative and meaningful exercises. Keep up the good work!

  • Great Blog

  • 3rd tip is super cool .
    Thanks for sharing .

  • Sally

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom! So very helpful. Please continue, I check in daily. All the best to you!

  • Om

    I like this article because it relates to me. I’m one of them who always feel nervous when it comes to talking to a girl or speaking in public. I would try #3 because it’s new to me. Thanks for the article!

  • Anonymous

    nice blog.everything should be practical experience & more informative content.thanks for writing this content

  • This article is very helpful. Especially 1 and 3.

    • Daisy

      This, as your other emails, did not disappoint. Great article. Thanks!

  • george deane

    Henrik: Your wisdom seems to have no bounds

  • Yusuff

    Thank you for this helpful idea, the only problem I’m facing all of my days is self esteem.
    If I found myself among 5 or more people, it’s very difficult for me tell Express or defend myself. Up till now, I haven’t get solution to it. But I must try this you 3 logic and what would happen.

  • Anonymous

    I check your posts everyday! They are very insightful and impactful!
    Warm regards.

  • Amija

    Hello I love the things you post it helps me get throgh a lot, can you post some things we can do during quarantine! That would be VERY VERY VERY helpful

    Thank you so:

  • Great tips Henrik.
    I have always had a problem with social anxiety disorder.

    I will have to try your advice out when I find myself in anxiety inducing situations in the future.

  • grace

    Thank you for your tips, I do enjoy reading your past experience and how you adapted / corrected these for the better. Always looking out for your helpful ideas. Appreciate your posts.

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