What happens when someone with Social Anxiety plans a social event?
Did you know that I am a socially awkward introvert who usually avoids events that may involve initiating conversations with people I don’t know?
I know what it’s like to enter a room and immediately wish I was at home. I seek out the furtherest corner and stand awkwardly until someone takes pity and talks to me. I of course stumble my words or say the ‘wrong’ thing, then spend the rest of the night reliving the cringe-worthy moments, while mentally chastising myself.
The last time I stepped out of my comfort zone and attended a networking event it was god awful. Everyone was dressed up with full hair & makeup, sipping on glasses of wine and chatting happily in their tight groups of cliques. Thankfully for this event I went with someone I knew but even she noticed how unwelcoming the event was for newcomers. This was a networking event for the confident. This was not an event for me.
This experience well and truly cemented in my mind just how completely hopeless I feel at social events. It was a bit like being back in high school and watching the popular kids from a distance, wondering why they always seemed to say the right things and never lacked for friends.
Up until recently I just put it down to my lack of self-esteem as to why I can not walk up to a group of women and ease myself into the conversation (just the thought of doing this fills me with dread actually!). I know now that it’s just another aspect of my long running battles with anxiety.
Social Anxiety they call it apparently. It’s the anxiety where you overthink every little detail of an event.
So why, oh why, would I want to then organise social events that were all about bringing strangers together!
I grew up in small country towns and have never had problems meeting people. I had a large circle of friends and acquaintances prior to living here. Then I came to Townsville and found it’s completely different. Small fish in big pond comes to mind, but there was something else that I still can’t quite put my finger on.
Townsville Women has always been about building a network and an online community where local women could connect, ask questions, and gain advice. Not long after I started the website I knew it would lead into events in the ‘real world’ because I know just how important social connections can be, especially in this transient city we call home.
Many of us have moved here away from family networks, away from support groups, away from our villages. We might miss that sense of belonging to a community and get-togethers with local women. We yearn to get out and meet people but don’t know where to start in the ‘big pond’ of Townsville.
This is the very reason why I push aside my own social anxiety issues in favour of setting up the Townsville Women events. I still feel anxious leading up to a Townsville Women event so I want you to know that if you are too, you aren’t alone. It’s my own experience that ensures you will always be welcomed at one of our events. I know what it’s like to stand on the outskirts looking in and I don’t ever want you to experience that at a Townsville Women event.
As we lead up to our first “Ladies Night”, I know there may be a few of you out there feeling apprehensive about coming along to an event where you may not know anyone else. I’m working hard behind the scenes to ensure our first Ladies Night will be an enjoyable night for everyone – the extroverts and the introverts alike.
We will kick things off with a fun game of ‘speed friending’ – kind of like speed dating! This gives you the chance to talk to everyone at least once. Even with a short 2 minute introduction you will feel more comfortable about approaching them later in the night. And approach them you will, as another of our activities is ‘Friend Bingo’! This activity involves asking specific questions of people and ticking them off your Bingo sheet.
Worried about your small talk skills? Don’t be! I’ll be providing a selection of conversation starter cards that will be available for you to pick up at any time during the night.
Feel embarrassed when you can’t remember names? Everyone will have a name tag with not just their name but also a fun fact about themselves (aka, another conversation starter!)
Our Ladies Night has a set 2 hour timeframe but the location means that if you are relaxed and enjoying yourself, you don’t have to leave straight away. We can all head into the main bar to continue chatting.
As you can see my goal is to make this event (and every event for Townsville Women) as friendly and welcoming as possible to meet the needs of new attendees, just as much as the regulars. I hope our events are as enjoyable for the socially outgoing as they are for my fellow socially awkies.
So if you have been wanting to make new connections with other local women but haven’t been sure how to, why not come along to our first Ladies Night Social Networking event. It’s only $35, you’ll receive a drink upon arrival, there will be delicious food platters served and each guest will go home with a goodie bag. We also have a $50 Intimo Voucher to giveaway to one lucky door prize winner!
Ladies Night Social Networking Event will be held at Riverview Tavern in Douglas, 24th August from 6pm til 8pm.