Overthinking in social settings can happen to anyone. However, people who overthink in all settings can be paralyzed by social settings. What do overthinkers worry about in social settings? They ruminate over things they’ve done in the past during social events and worry about what is going to happen at their next social event.
What is ruminating? Ruminating is replaying things repeatedly that happened during the past.
“I looked like an idiot the last time when I met someone new. Why did no one tell me my zipper was down.”
“No wonder I was voted least likely to succeed in high school. I can’t speak up at business meetings.”
“The last time I said something at a party, no one said anything back. That was the most embarrassing moment ever.”
How about worrying? Worrying is fear about what is going to happen in future social settings. These fears can end up keeping an overthinking from accepting social event invitations and choosing to stay in for the night.
“Will they like me? What if I say something stupid or offensive? What if I don’t understand what they are talking about?”
“What if I have broccoli stuck between my teeth and never notice?”
Unfortunately, we aren’t limited to just an internal monologue. Us overthinkers also use visualization when we’re ruminating or worrying about social events. We visual rehash the events that previously occurred. These events are an endless loop in our minds. Not to mention, we also love to visualize everything that could go wrong at a social event. Moreover, these imagined events are usually way out of proportion for what is likely to happen.
Again, these destructive thoughts end up keeping us from going to new events. As a result, we miss out on opportunities to mingle at work events, meet new people, and which would eventually lead to great friends. However, there are ways to stop overthinking in social settings. By implementing these tips to stop overthinking, we can accept those social event invitations and meet new people. Furthermore, some of these interactions can result in long-term friendships.
Tip One: Realize When Overthinking Occurs
The first tip to stop overthinking in social settings is to realize when we are overthinking. This is the key to stopping overthinking. Once we realize that we are ruminating over something that happened in the past or obsessively worrying about what “could” happen at a social event, we can acknowledge that we are having these destructive thoughts.
Tip Two: Challenge Those Thoughts
Once we identify those negative thoughts, we need to challenge those thoughts. How do we challenge these thoughts? We consider how likely the event is to occur the way we are thinking. Will we have broccoli in our teeth or leave our pants undone? This is not likely to happen as we’re worried about it and will check our teeth and our zippers. Not to mention, it is not the end of the world if we don’t understand what someone is talking about. We can ask for them to explain. It is a great way to make the other person feel intelligent and helpful by asking them to tell us more.
Tip Three: Focus on Problem Solving
Instead of being paralyzed by overthinking in social settings, we can use our thinking skills to our advantage. We can focus on how to problem solve any situation that we are concerned about. By being action oriented, we are identifying how to solve a problem. For example, if we are worried about no one speaking to us at a social event, we need to consider why no one spoke to us.
“Did we speak loud enough? Were we looking at the person? Did they know we were talking to them? How can we make sure that the next person I speak to knows I’m talking to them?”
Tip Four: Take Time for Thinking
Even though we are striving to stop overthinking in social settings, it is unreasonable for an overthinker to stop thinking. It is our natural way to solve problems and navigate our way through life. As a result, it is necessary to establish a period every day where we think about things that have happened in the past and what could happen in the future. However, we need to put a time limit on how long we are going to ruminate and worry about social settings.
Tip Five: Stay in the Present
As an overthinker in social settings, it is beneficial to focus on the present. When we focus on what is happening right now, we don’t have time to ruminate or worry. When we’re present, we can relax and be ourselves. Focusing on the present takes practice. How can we practice focusing on the present? To focus on the present, we need to pay attention to our senses. We can focus on what we see, hear, smell, touch, and taste.
Tip Six: Realize that Other People Worry as Well
The next tip for stopping overthinking in social settings is realizing that other people also worry about whether they will say the right thing and whether people will like them or not. Once we realize this, it is easier to accept that other people are not as focused on us as we fear.
Tip Seven: Begin by Interacting with People We Know
It can be difficult to stop overthinking when we are dealing with strangers. It is best to start practicing with people that we know. We can begin by interacting with people we’ve lost track of over the years or acquaintances that we don’t know well. With these interactions, we’ll feel less pressure to impress people. As we become more comfortable with stopping overthinking, we can move to different types of social settings such as networking events or meetups with new people.
Here’s a guide how to stop being the quiet one in social settings.
What do you think of my recommendations? Do you think they will help you stop overthinking in social settings? When you think back to a time you were present in the moment in a social setting, were you following these steps? I look forward to hearing your comments below!