By Linda Shaw and Loretta Della Mora
Do you experience feeling nervous, unsure, and uncomfortable in social situations?
Feeling uncomfortable and awkward in social settings is a concern for many adults, which can lead to anxiety and even avoiding situations that cause social unease.
Avoiding social situations interferes with building relationships in personal, school, and work life. This can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health. Humans have a natural tendency to want to avoid uncomfortable situations and a strong desire to fit in, thanks to evolution and the statistical odds that survival increases when in a group.
The downside to avoiding uncomfortable social situations is that avoiding them will not help fix the problem and will actually make things worse over time, leading to increased chances of developing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
There are many reasons why adults struggle with social situations.
Some have not had opportunity to learn these skills, some are naturally shy around others, while some may have trouble reading cues in social situations. But do not despair! These skills can be learned and with practice individuals can become more skilled and comfortable in social settings, talking with peers, asking an instructor a question, or building meaningful relationships.
How can I learn more?
We thought you would never ask! NAIT student counselling is offering a safe space for you to learn and practice strategies to improve social skills, including offering resources to help target specific struggles.
A dedicated group of NAIT professionals have collaboratively pooled their expertise into adapting the acclaimed work of Australian Clinical Psychologist, Lindy Petersen, along with other proven evidence-based practices, to create a program suitable to post-secondary students who struggle with relationships.
Improving Interpersonal Relationships workshop is in its third year. There is no cost to the participants, and offers professionally led education sessions for students who struggle with relationships and wish to learn and practice successful interactions. Students are coached to identify emotions and to take these out of problem areas by developing self-control and regulation strategies. This allows the brain to process productive solutions in a step-by-step fashion.
Each session will focus on different skills by breaking down more complex social behaviors into smaller steps that can be practiced during the workshop. This provides opportunity to learn verbal and nonverbal behaviors that are involved in common social exchanges. Opportunity to practice these skills within the group setting is another important aspect of the workshop because it provides opportunity to learn from each other and build confidence. With a bit of practice and confidence these skills can be carried forward into daily life.
What you can expect:
Week One: Foundational social-emotional skills
Week Two: Relationships – clarifying different types of relationships, making them healthy and establishing appropriate boundaries
Week Three: Interacting with instructors and employers; asking the right kind of questions, giving and accepting feedback
Week Four: Group work; planning for success
Date and Time:
This online group will run for four consecutive Wednesdays, starting October 20, from 4:15 to 5:45.
There is a short self-assessment questionnaire interested students must complete.
This provides you an opportunity to ensure the workshop will be helpful and allows facilitators a better understand how to support your learning.
Don’t forget you can always ask questions about this at email@example.com (mention this article) and most Wednesdays at noon during Ask a Psychologist (find the link on Ookslife.ca).
Lastly, Student Counselling remains open for virtual service (phone or video). We are working to restore limited in-person service as circumstance allows. Find details at my.nait.ca/counselling.