Millions of Americans find social settings uncomfortable and anxiety-inducing. The Onion provides some tips for dealing with social anxiety:

  • If you’re in a public place and find yourself feeling physically uncomfortable, check to make sure you’re not just sitting weird in your chair.
  • Instead of dwelling on every far-fetched way the situation could possibly go wrong, focus on the one or two ways you could conceivably make it out of this without exposing yourself as a bumbling fool.
  • Limit your alcohol intake in social situations, as you may need to commandeer a vehicle while fleeing.
  • Get out in front of the issue. Point out everyone else’s flaws before anyone has a chance to notice yours.
  • Challenge negative thoughts by reminding yourself that your life is not at stake during social events, just your ability to ever maintain a normal relationship with another human being.
  • Have you tried running? Running worked for Jeff.
  • Sometimes it’s useful to imagine your anxiety as a separate physical presence, such as an unrelenting swarming cloud of bugs or a fire that’s already searing the skin on your arms.
  • Above all, try not to dwell on the hundreds of millions of people out there—the majority of the planet, really—who are perfectly comfortable in their own skin.

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