Hello there, socially-uncomfortable person! Here is a place (formerly known as Social Anxiety Gatherings) where you can connect with others who have the same feelings and fears as you do, and with enlightenment, practice, and lots of encouragement from your fellow SUPs (I know, terrible acronym, but the first way to feel less anxious is to laugh!) we can help each other become more comfortable in social situations. Maybe you need this to be more comfortable at your job, or family social gatherings, or meeting new people. Maybe you're an introvert, like me. There are many reasons to be socially anxious or uncomfortable and maybe some reasons need professional intervention. But if you're just the type that feels uncomfortable in large gatherings or in ones where you don't know anyone, but you are able to make friends, even casual ones, in your day-to-day life then this group is for you.
In the interest of transparency, I am a speech-language pathologist so do have training and experience working with children and teens who have social pragmatic needs. I am not a counselor or psychologist but I know when to refer to one.
I'm hoping this group, and its spin-offs, will be a place where we SUPs can get together and feel safe to be ourselves because we are with like-minded people. A place to share stories and maybe tips that you use to get along in social situations. To start off, I envision small group gatherings at public places, like Panera Bread, libraries, or any fairly low-key quiet venue where there is a place to chat. The only requirements are to be 21 or over (we may go to places that serve alcohol), be respectful and polite to one another, and to be a little bit brave to take that first step to overcoming your social anxiety. I will plan ice-breaker activities that will be low-key and fun. I will also have a sort of syllabus for those event organizers willing to lead another area's group as well as a comprehensive list of suggested venues and events the group may be interested in. Please, if you have any suggestions, questions, or concerns, don't hesitate to contact me!
If you haven't already, and you have a smartphone or some such device that uses apps, download the Meetup app. It's a much quicker way to connect with each other and is very useful when going to a gathering, as sometimes people get lost and others can direct them.
I hope this group will meet your needs and I look forward to meeting (most of) you soon!
Please take the polls that I have posted so I can see what our demographics looks like. From there, I will set up groups and then ask for volunteers (would be great to have several for each group) to be the event organizers for their local group. For the first meetings, I will plan to be at each one so I will be available for questions, etc., and can meet you all. There are also polls to find out what types of events you'd be interested in.