I discovered the other day that somehow I had developed this social anxiety disorder that was gradually increasing. Sunday night I phoned my friend to see if she would be able to go to a BBQ with me that started in an hour. I was devastated when she said she couldn't attend with me. Now, it wasn't just some random cookout that I had wanted to go to. This was for members of a group that my friend and I are a part of.
As I was signing into my email account to email the hosts and let them know I was canceling last minute, I asked myself what I was doing. Where were my big-girl panties? I was an adult and fully capable of attending social functions by my self, especially if I know the people who are attending. After realizing how silly I was being, I had to mentally psych myself up for the event: "It's ok. You're ok. You can do this. You will do this. You know these people. They are your friends. You're wearing your big-girl underwear. You can do this." And I committed myself to staying at least a half hour for the sake of being polite.
I guess I should have realized what was happening to me the Thursday prior. I was attending a cookout with my friends & all of our kids. After I had arrived at the location (I didn't know anyone here) I called my friend to see how much longer it would be before they showed up. I was panicking until they arrived, just about frozen in the same spot I had been since I had reached the destination. As soon as I saw my friend, I felt better and clung to her. Apparently we've been attending all the same social functions, so I see her as my buffer when it comes to social settings.
Now, I tend to be a shy person... unless I know you-then I talk you're ear off. I think what scares me about talking to people whom I don't know is saying the wrong thing. I need to get a book with good conversation starters in it, and carry it with me wherever I go. (I also need a pocket-size database with photos and names of people I've met and the place I met them).
So, I went to Sunday's social function despite my unresolved fears and you know what? It was great. I actually ended up staying for two hours (without my friend!) and had a great time! I got to know other members of our group on a more personal basis and ignite friendships.