Do you ever make plans, and are genuinely excited for them, until the day of? I think we’ve all been there, and it’s extremely frustrating! Sometimes it’s just a case of being too comfy at home, but other times, it’s irrational fear and anxiety telling you not to go. That’s the case for me most of the time. Besides the fact that I am a homebody, I still go into a spiral of negative thoughts in the hour leading up to the event. It gets even worse when I end up cancelling.
Such pre-event negative thoughts can include, but are certainly not limited to:
- What if we run out of things to talk about?
- How can I say I’m ready to leave without sounding rude?
- Am I overdressed? Underdressed?
- What about my makeup? Is it caking? Is it bleeding down my face?
- What if I say something weird?
- This is supposed to run a little late, what if I don’t have enough “me time”?
And on, and on, and on….
Then there is the post-cancellation thoughts:
- Why did I do that?
- They hate me now.
- What reason can I give that won’t make me sound like a total loser/flake?
And on, and on….
Through the years, I have learned a few tricks to kick those thoughts out of your head and “force” yourself to leave your comfort zone.
1. Remind yourself how excited you were for this in the first place.
Ask yourself why you made the plan/agreed to doing this. You obviously thought it would be fun or interesting to do this, so bring up those good feelings again. Confront the negative and say, yes all this can happen, but what are the chances? There’s more of a chance I’ll enjoy myself since I agree to do this or even initiated this to begin with.
2. Tell yourself that you’ll be better for the experience
The worst that can happen is you have a bad time, but you can say you did it, and you have grown from it. It gives you experience in talking to people and in knowing what to wear and how to act at certain functions. It’s all a learning curve, and now you have one more thing on your social resume. You also won’t have to deal with cancellation guilt.
3. Going out this time will make you more comfortable going out again
It’s almost like exposure therapy; the more you are exposed to doing things you don’t want, the more comfortable you’ll get with doing them over time. Once you go out and see that it’s not such a big deal, and that you actually had fun, you won’t be as scared to do more.
4. When you do go out, don’t you always have at least a little fun no matter what?
Think about the times when you actually did decide to go out. They were probably enjoyable or at least had memorable moments. Let this inspire you to think of all the fun this even holds, and how it would be so much better than sitting home alone and going to bed at 9pm.
5. You won’t have FOMO when you see your friends out without you
When you cancel plans, and your friends go out without you, you will no doubt see social media posts within the hour. Doesn’t it hurt to know that you had the opportunity to share these experiences with your friends, but now your watching them second hand. Then the next time you talk to your friends, they’ll have a new inside joke from that night that you missed out on, or they’ll talk about this crazy thing that happened that you just had to be there for. It sucks to be on that side of things, especially when you had control over being there or not.
6. Only plan to be out for part of the time
If you tell yourself that you only have to be out for an hour, you are more likely to go. Then, once you’re out, you’ll be having a good time and won’t be checking the time, or you’ll be having a good enough time that when your hour is up, you think to yourself, I can do another half hour. And you keep going on and on like that until the night is over. Once you’re in the swing of things, you realize it’s not so bad. It’s kind of like working out; say you only have to be on the treadmill for 15 minutes, then that passes and you’re thinking it wasn’t so bad, so you go another 15, and another, and another, until you’re done.
This might be the hardest thing to do. You’re tired from school or work or both, you just want to lie in bed and rewatch your favorite shows and movies. I get that, trust me. But set a goal for yourself, and push yourself to reach it. You can even set a little reward for yourself. Once you reach that goal, it is so satisfying (and I little ice cream reward doesn’t hurt either). You will always have time to relax by yourself, but certain events only happen once, and you don’t want to miss out.
Basically, your brain makes up stories and excuses for why you can’t go to things, but you have to counter that with facts about why it will be good and beneficial if you go. You’ll be much happier that you’re doing things and not missing out. Getting over this fear takes time, but it’s worth it.