Welcome to our second “Your Relationship Questions Answered” column. Our relationship experts, Hava Rahimian and Tara West, are two friends that met in college and both embarked on careers as licensed counselors (LMFT& LMHC) . They’ve maintained their friendship through the years even as their lives took them to different sides of the country and ultimately different career paths. Tara made a life change a few years ago and took the leap to becoming a fashion styling, shopping and content creator. We have been thrilled to have her as a fashion contributor on Exhale! She and Hava are both working on this column together. This week’s question is about social anxiety.. something many of us can relate to! Sandra Casagrand, Publisher
Dear Hava and Tara,
I’ve found myself feeling anxious about attending social events now that Covid isn’t as much of a concern. This anxiety is definitely inhibiting me from dating and enjoying social situations I would have attended pre-covid. I’m really happy in my bubble but I’m also aware that I need to get back out there! To add another layer to this whole issue is my wardrobe isn’t up to date and where I want it to be in terms of being “party ready” which is just adding to my already existing anxiety! Help!
We’ve all been in a bubble-like cocoon these past (almost ) two years! Of course you’re going to have some anxiety about re-entry. In some ways, this is almost like a rebirth ; You are re-emerging with a new prospective and some uncertainty which can definitely lead to some increased anxiety. With this new rebirth comes new social rules ; are we shaking hands? Are we hugging? How do we avoid these awkward moments? My suggestion would be to call it out and acknowledge the awkwardness! Chances are the person standing across from you is feeling the same way. Perhaps you’re even re-evaluating your old friendships and relationships with a new perspective. Could it be that your anxiety is telling you that you need to establish some new boundaries around what types of social invitations you accept? Lean into these uncertainties and they can provide some clarity.
Re-entry into the social scene means stepping away from the sweatpants and lululemons! It’s possible that your pandemic wardrobe is feeling somewhat irrelevant. Purchase one new piece of clothing you love and incorporate that into your existing pre-pandemic ensembles. This will give you a fresh start with a familiarity that will help keep you grounded.
Hava and Tara
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