I have anxiety. I have always had anxiety. Growing up, it was mainly stressing over school work and just life as a whole. But, what I didn’t realize was I also had social anxiety. I wasn’t necessarily an introvert, but I always stressed if I was likable. Did my friends really like me? Do they want to hang out with me? I was always unsure of my standing with others.
When I went to college, I began to realize I was actually an introvert. No longer did I live in a place where I had friends since elementary school and automatic similar interests like being on the same sports team or in the same class. I had two very extroverted roommates my freshman and sophomore year. It helped me ease into making friends. Then, my junior and senior year, I had an introverted friend like myself. Thankfully, I found Justin, who is very extroverted.
But, he noticed early on in our relationship, I’m kind of shy and inward when meeting new people. I never really noticed it until then! And here, I had gone 22 years thinking I was an extrovert! But, as I began to experience some major anxiety with school and PPD, I realized my social anxiety getting worse.
It has been the worst these past two years. At big, noisy events, I can only stand to be there so long, even with friends. At events where I don’t really know anyone, I literally start shaking and start coming up with excuses to leave early.
It may not seem like I am an introvert online. I share a lot here on this blog. I’m not afraid to network or put myself out there. But, I’m behind a screen.
I’ll probably shock you, because you may not realize it, but a lot of your favorite bloggers are actually introverted!!!A lot of your favorite bloggers are actually introverted, including @themorrelltale! Click To Tweet
I have a love/hate relationship with blogger events. When I lived in Utah, many of my blogger friends became in-real-live friends. The vast majority of us were Mormon, teachers, young wives and mothers, loved to read, and all lived within an hour of each other–Salt Lake Valley. Utah bloggers are very good with networking–online and offline.
Utah bloggers are very good with networking–online and offline. There were so many blogging events. I wasn’t nervous to go to those because I knew at least one of my friends would be there, or a blogger I knew online well would be there.
However, once I moved here to Dallas, Texas, I noticed there weren’t as many Facebook groups for DFW or Texan bloggers like there was for Utah and/or Mormon bloggers. There weren’t as many networking events. But, I joined these groups anyway, hoping to make some blogger friends.
I’ve gone to two blogging events since moving here in July. Both times, I barely spoke to anyone, I definitely started to fidget, and I left early. I have to learn how this new blogging community works.
But, here are some tips that I try to remember whenever I go to blogging events.Four tips for introverted bloggers when going to networking events IRL. Click To Tweet
Go with a friend
In Utah, I’d go to Twitter or my blogging Facebook groups and ask who else was going to the event. I’d typically make plans with a blogging friend to go together. Usually, we both had anxiety, so we were very empathetic to the situation and could help bolster each other. Some events are exclusively for bloggers, but if they allow a +1, take a friend or family member regardless if they are a blogger.
Have a charged phone, a water bottle/comfort drink (for me, it’s always a bottle of Pepsi), and some business cards to exchange. You may make a friend and will want to find her/him online! Having a comfort drink is like having a security blanket. And, with a charged phone, you can use it to take pictures, be on social media, or texting your husband for support.
Have a support system at home
My husband knows my social anxiety very well. He knows my personality. Whenever a blogging event comes up, he’ll say, “Go. Have fun. Take your time.” He’ll text me to check in on me. He’ll immediately answer when I text him freaking out. Justin will encourage me to try to exit my comfort zone. And, when I just want to go home, he’ll support me in that, too.
Research the event
Many blogging events cost money. Definitely go research the event before even deciding to go. Who will be there? Anyone you know? How much will it be? What will you get out of it? Are there structured activities or is it just a meet and greet?
Hopefully, these tips will help you, and me, get more out of blogger events even with social anxiety!