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Navigating Social Anxiety As A Young Adult

I’ve talked about my experience with social anxiety in a previous post here on TurningPointCT. It’s been about two and a half years since I wrote that previous post. I thought I’d give you all an update on how my experience with social anxiety has gotten a bit better.

In 2023, I really had to push myself through my struggles with social anxiety. As you become an adult, there are more events that you really want to be at. Or, if you don’t want to go, you might feel obligated to go. In 2023, I had three weddings to go to.

I’ll be honest, the thought of having to go to weddings was really intimidating for me. This is because I’m introverted and someone who struggles with social anxiety. I think one thing that really helped me was knowing I’d have my boyfriend at two of the weddings. The other thing that helped was that one of the weddings was my cousin’s wedding. So at that wedding my whole family would be there.

The First Wedding of The Year

The first wedding of the year was my cousin’s wedding. I was on my own for that wedding because my boyfriend’s out of state friend was here. Thankfully, this was the wedding where not having him was totally fine since my family would be there. At this wedding, I had my parents, my siblings, my niece and nephew, my cousins, as well as my aunts and uncles. 10/10. I was actually really social. I even spent a lot of time on the dance floor, which was something I never did at previous weddings I went to.

Picture of my posing with my niece

The Second Wedding of The Year

The second wedding I went to was Ally’s, who was previously a blogger and more with the project in the past. After working on the project together, Ally and I stayed really close and I’m so thankful to have her as a friend. I was so excited to be able to be there for her special day! However, I definitely did have some anxiety about going to the wedding because I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of people I knew. But, thankfully I had my boyfriend there with me.

Turns out I didn’t need to rely to heavily on my boyfriend for support. Why? Because Ella, another young adult who worked on the project was also there with her boyfriend and so was Michael (who I also met while working on the project) with his partner. It was like a fun little reunion! It was awesome getting to catch up with them and celebrate Ally together! I spent a lot of time on the dance floor at this wedding too!

Wedding Number Three – The One That Really Tested My Social Anxiety

The third wedding I went to, I was the plus one. And to make matters worse, my boyfriend was the best man so I knew there would be a lot of time where I’d be on my own. I remember being so anxious because I wasn’t sure how I’d do on my own for hours.

Before The Ceremony

I showed up to the venue completely on my own. My boyfriend had to get there before me to get ready with the groom and groomsmen. When I got there, I noticed I arrived at the same time as someone I had known who’s husband was also in the wedding party. So, we walked in together. However, they were staying at the Inn, so she went to put her suitcases in their room when we got inside.

After she went upstairs, the groom’s parents greeted me because we had met the night before at the rehearsal dinner. The groom’s parents were super kind so I sat and talked with them while we waited for wedding things to start happening. Later, the woman I had walked in with came back and we started to chit chat again.

During The Ceremony

During the ceremony, I sat with the woman I knew. It was nice to be with someone I knew. I was shocked that not only was I doing fine without my boyfriend, but I was actually socializing and feeling comfortable. It’s not something I would have ever thought I’d be able to do.

The Reception

During the reception after the ceremony, I was finally reunited with my boyfriend. We were sitting at a fun table with the bride and groom’s siblings who were all around our age. They were a lot of fun and also super kind. And just like the other two weddings I went to, I spent a lot of time on the dance floor! It still blows my mind because in the past, I never wanted to be in the action.

Picture of me dancing with my boyfriend

All in all, I had a really successful year being a wedding guest! I really got myself out of my comfort zone because I was tired of being on the sidelines. I still don’t love big social events, but I’ve found ways to be comfortable. Having people I’m comfortable around definitely really helped me out at each of the weddings. It also helps to not feel like you’re surrounded only by strangers.

My Social Anxiety Today

Honestly, I’m still really introverted. When I hear about parties, I’m instantly like ugh I don’t want to go. But, I usually end up fine. I went to my niece’s second birthday party and I was social with people who I didn’t know. I had my boyfriend with me, but we were socializing with my brother and his friends and honestly having a lot of fun. It helped that they seemed to have the same sense of humor we did, which I suppose isn’t surprising since they were my brother’s friends. My sister-in-law was so shocked to see me actually talking that she said from across the room “oh my god Kailey are you actually socializing??” because my family knows I’m notorious for not socializing with people I don’t know.

So, what changed?

Honestly, I think meeting new people at some of the weddings I went to last year really helped me to realize that for the most part, people are really kind. Before I was too shy and afraid to talk to people I didn’t know. But, now I’ve learned that there’s nothing scary about it. I’ve also found it helps me if others are the first to start engaging in a conversation with me because I’m still not keen on approaching people I don’t know.

You can’t stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.

A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

I never thought I’d be someone who could ever be comfortable in a social setting, but I’m definitely learning. I get so excited every time I notice how different I am now. I’ll literally say to my boyfriend “did you see how social I was being!?” I think he has also helped me a lot with it. He’s aware of my struggles with social situations. And, he’s always really patient with me, trying to never put me in an uncomfortable situation. It also helps that he has really kind friends who immediately accepted me!

Is social anxiety something that you’ve struggled with? If so, what’s helped you?


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