If you aren’t a social person, then you may have trouble when it comes to loosening up and interacting with strangers while at parties and various other social gatherings. To become a bit more of an extrovert, you may consume a few drinks. Now, you’ve decided that you’d rather not rely on alcohol, but you aren’t sure of how to talk to people and enjoy yourself at social and work functions without a cocktail or beer in your hand. Here are a few tips to help you out.
If you aren’t sure of how to talk to people and enjoy yourself at social and work functions without drinking alcohol, here are a few tips to help you out.
Switch to mocktails
It could be the act of drinking that helps to ease your tension and anxiety rather than the alcohol itself. Sip on a mocktail while getting to know people and see if that doesn’t help. No one else has to know that you aren’t drinking alcohol, and after a few mocktails, you may find that you’re reasonably relaxed and still sober.
Understand that drinking too much can harm conversations
Sure, alcohol can dull your nervousness, but too much can dull your ability to listen. It’s listening that can truly elevate a conversation and help you connect with other people. Imagine talking to several people at a social event, but not remembering much of what anyone said. You may have cheated yourself out of some great mental stimulation, not to mention making a new friend or two.
Ask yourself if your drinking is an indication of a deeper problem
Perhaps you do a lot of drinking while at home by yourself, not just while at social gatherings. If so, do you understand the signs and symptoms of a functional alcoholic? Even though you may maintain relationships and hold down a job, the fact may be that you still have a dependence on alcohol. Have an honest conversation with yourself about how often you drink and why you drink. Depending on your answers, you may want to look into getting treatment for your drinking as well as the underlying reason for your drinking. Talking to a therapist may be a good idea.
Engage in events that don’t involve food or alcohol
There are ways to interact with people that don’t involve drinking. For instance, you can participate in a book or film club or go for a hike. To help you decide which non-drinking activities would be the best fit for you, think about which social skills you want to improve, ones that may be the reason you drink at social functions in the first place. For instance, if you have trouble thinking of interesting topics of conversation with strangers, think about what passions and interests you have that you can easily talk about for hours on end. Then, find a social activity that involves that passion. If you love plants, join a gardening group. Maybe you want to learn more about cooking, which makes attending local cooking classes a perfect idea.
You don’t have to become intoxicated or buzzed to let your guard down at parties. Rather than focusing on your nerves, concentrate on the gathering itself and the people there.
One reason why you may have a hard time going to parties with a lot of people (strangers, specifically) is that you tend to psyche yourself out before you even arrive. Feeling anxious about looking foolish in front of a lot of people, saying the wrong thing, or feeling awkward can ruin the night before you even leave home. Bear in mind that you more than likely won’t be the only person in attendance who is more introverted. Rather than focusing on your nerves, concentrate on the gathering itself and the people there. Is someone wearing a shirt that you like? Does the host have interesting books that you may want to talk about? Is there a dish you’d like the recipe for? Allow your curiosity to override your anxiety.
You don’t have to become intoxicated or buzzed to let your guard down at parties. Instead, shift how you interact and your perceptions on how you interact with other people.
What are your favorite tips for socializing without drinking?
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