Wellbeing / Social Anxiety

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"How can I be cool and casual and chill at college parties and hooking up, when I'm the least cool, casual, or chill person ever?"

- Question submitted by anonymous

Kristin Says:

Let me tell you what: I am not cool or casual or chill. I won’t ever be any of those things because I have some social anxiety and also I have a lot of feelings and also mostly when I dance I just fling my arms about the room and bob my head.

Let me tell you what else: Probably at least a few of you think I am cool and casual and chill… even though I am like HAHAHAHAHA NOPE. I have scientific data on this because the other night I went to dinner with an Everyone Is Gay reader who is starting her freshman year of college and during our dinner she said she thought I was cool... And, in response, I laughed just like I did up there, in all caps, but in person because she was sitting across the table from me.

Point being: No matter how “uncool” or “not casual” or “really the opposite of chill” you are… the right people will still thing you are the fucking coolest, best, raddest person there is. You see, that is how we find each other! We see a person flinging their arms about the room and we are like OH THANK GOD ANOTHER ARM FLINGER IS HERE, and then we talk about Harry Potter or we talk about manicures or we talk about denim or we talk about Tegan & Sara or we talk about the earth orbiting through space or we talk about the X-Files or we talk about The Bachelorette. We find people who think we are cool as we are, because, well, we are cool and also “cool” is relative.

What you need, Anon, is to do all the parties you want and skip the ones you don’t, and work at being YOU. I know it sounds cliche, but it’s fucking real as shit. I am still struggling to do this, myself. Sometimes I write things here or I take a selfie for Instagram and I am frozen with all those voices saying, “You are so so so not cool, don’t you know how uncool you are?!”

Work with me to say, “Cool is relative, and I am me.”

I promise to post my pictures and write my advice as ME if you promise to kiss those babes and go to those parties as YOU.



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“Hi! Over the past couple of years I’ve really come out of my shell. I’ve changed my fashion, come out to my friends and family, etc. Something that still bothers me is that I’ve never been on a date before. I just turned 21 and it’s starting to really bug me. I don’t know how to get out there and meet people, and now I’m concerned that my total lack of experience is going to bother people. There’s tons of cute girls out there but I don’t know how to talk to them! Any advice?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

I THINK YOU SHOULD USE PRIDE TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. June is pride month in so many places and there will be events, fundraisers, street fairs, shows, etc., for all the queers!

If you don’t feel comfortable in a party environment, contact the local LGTBQ center (if there isn’t one in your city, try the closest big city you can find) and see if they need any help this month! Sometimes people will need help for one day, or two nights, or just one week and they’re calling on their friends, family, and coworkers to do their bidding. They’d be stoked to have someone like you who is trying to get out there and meet people.

ALSO, you can come up with a game for yourself called “meet 15 cuties today” and literally walk up to cute girls and say, “Hi, I’m trying to meet at least 15 cuties today and I was wondering if you’d like to be one of them?” Some people will be like ‘haha no,’ but GUESS WHAT?! You will probably never see them again, so who cares, they were just very good practice. AND ON TOP OF THAT. Some people will think it’s so sweet and say yes immediately, no hesitation, and will be so honored to have been a part of your game.

OOOORRR You can say Dannielle from EveryoneIsGay.com specifically requested that you ask a stranger to go on a date with you. If that doesn’t work, you can just blame me forever.

Kristin Says:

I support all of these ideas, and I want to say two more things:

FIRST: Your lack of experience is not going to be a turn-off to people who you’d want to date, so take all those fears, pack them in a little satchel, and toss them over your shoulder into the river. I assume you are near a river. Seriously, if I met someone today who I liked a ton and they had never dated anyone I would be like COOL GREAT STORY, ANYWAY DO YOU WANT TO MAKE OUT? (Spoiler: I probably wouldn’t say that bc I am married but you get my point.) If they judge you bc you’ve dated less than them, they can go right in that river-bound satchel, too.

SECOND: If you are afraid to talk with your mouth right away, use dating apps! Then you get to develop the initial stages of #connection over the world wide web and you can work up the courage to type out “Do you want to meet up next week for a coffee?” and hit send and then sit in the dark looking like this:

…until they reply “YES,” and you look like this:


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“What are some good ways to make friends/meet people as a shy college first year?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Anna Livia Chen as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Anna Livia Says:

Y’all, I definitely identify with this.

I’ve always thought of myself as shy. Even though I got more outgoing throughout high school, I still see myself as a very shy person—especially in new situations. I just started my first year of college, and I was definitely nervous about making new friends, especially since I am not very good at being outgoing with people I don’t know.

The biggest thing that helped me was to reframe it. Rather than thinking, “oh damn, now I have to do something I’m not good at,” I thought of it as, “oh good, this is a chance to push my comfort zone!” Granted, you still have to put yourself in situations that make you feel a little uncomfortable, but hey, isn’t that what college is about? For myself, I knew that if I were to just do what felt comfortable,

I would only talk to a few people—and that even if I did talk to more people, the friendships might not be as deep or authentic as I wanted them to be, because being comfortable too often means refusing to show the vulnerability that leads to strong and wholehearted friendships.

So, instead of just going to my room when had downtime during orientation week, I pushed myself to spend time with the other freshmen in my hall. Instead of only sticking with the extracurricular activities that I did in high school, I joined a club sport (shameless plug: Ultimate Frisbee is the best, you should check it out at your school!). I made small talk with classmates and ate meals with friends of friends.

I’m not going to lie, there were times when I wanted nothing more than to be cuddled up in my bed and watching Lost instead of being social. I kind of dreaded practice for the first few weeks because I was afraid I was going to look like a fool and that no one would like me. There is a reason they call it “stepping outside of your comfort zone,” after all.

But, as is often the case when we are nervous about new situations, everything was a lot scarier in my mind than in reality. My hallmates were hilarious and I had a blast every night that I sacrificed sleep to stay up with them. I still consider these people my core group of friends that I can hang out with or eat with whenevs. My teammates were the most friendly and the most patient with my learning curve and some of my closest friends are the ones who I threw my worst throws to in our first few weeks of Ultimate practice.

All of that being said, don’t be afraid to balance social time with alone time. One of the really daunting things about college that I noticed within the first few days is that you are basically around people all. the. time. You will probably have a roommate your first year, so your room isn’t yours alone. During the day, you are surrounded by people, whether during class, during club meetings, or studying in the library. When you go to eat, you enter a dining hall filled with other hungry humans. Even the bathrooms offer minimal privacy!

Being a self-described shy person does not necessarily mean that you are an introvert… but there is a very good chance that it does (if you don’t take my word for it, you can use this super official resource to check). And this literally means that you need alone time to recharge your batteries. Introverts can 100% be social people (speaking as someone who is EXTREMELY introverted), but you’re not going to enjoy any of your socializing time if it the only way you spend your time. So go for a walk off campus, find a quiet spot under a tree to read a book, or catch up on your Netflix addiction on your own when your roommate is out partying.

IN SUM: Push your comfort zone. Be yourself. Don’t be afraid to recharge. Ryan Gosling.


Click through to read more about Anna Livia and our other Second Opinions panelists!


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"I have to give a speech at my bestie’s 21st and I am wondering how you tell which embarrassing/funny stories are fine for everyone’s enjoyment and which ones will be absolutely mortifying and make everyone in the room uncomfortable? I’ve seen so many people get this wrong and I DO NOT want to put her (or myself) through that!"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

guys… when did we start giving speeches at birthday parties?

Do – Tell stories everyone already knows (i.e. broken bones, drunken arrests, winning pageants, etc)

Don’t – Talk about your bffs SEXCAPADES. I don’t care how cool y’all are, talking about boners in front of a bunch of people IS WEIRD.

Do – Talk about the first time you met.

Don’t – Talk about farts, poops, vomit, or stomach pumping.

Do – Make some sort of joke about how the two of you actually made it to your 21st bday LOL WE R SUCH CRAZEE KIDS.

Don’t – Get super wasted and forget your speech.

Do – Let yourself get drunk on emotion and bust out those tears when you talk about how much you love your best friend and how you would go to the ends of the earth for her.

Kristin Says:

That’s a pretty solid list of dos and don’ts… I would also like to add that your speech should not include more than one inside joke and that it should include things about your friend that you know, appreciate, love, and admire, as well as a few things that she does that are hilarious that everyone knows about and she can laugh about.


Also, my dad said that he plans to record his speech for my wedding and then lipsync to it at the reception. So… you could also do that.


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"So I'm meeting my girlfriend's whole family (including the cousins and the aunts and uncles and so on) and I'm nervous. I tend to freeze up in large group settings and the fact that I'm trying to make a good impression is making me stress out more. Any words of advice?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:


Honestly, Nony (anonymous nickname), these were all of my exact feelings for most of my life. I had to literally talk myself out of about a million anxiety attacks. I spent countless evenings at shows or events or parties with my eyes on the floor, my back on the wall, and my heart racing. IT WAS THE WORST.

Nowadays, I can totally handle myself in groups because of a game I invented called, “Ask one million questions and never answer a question using only one word.” Basically, you come up with questions in your head that EVERYONE has an answer to (i.e. where are you from, what do you do, how do you know (mutual friend) and build a starter convo right there. When they ask you questions as well, don’t just give one word answers, actually keep the conversation going.

ALSO, ask them to elaborate on stuff it’ll lead to stories and families love to tell stories, PLUS it shows them you’re interested in what they are saying…

THIS IS ALL ANYONE CARES ABOUT, YOU GUYS. You’re afraid that everyone will be judging you for being silent OR thinking about how you were saying all the dumbest things. BUT REALLY, we are all thinking about ourselves. We all want to seem cool. You want your GFs fam to think you’re cool. Her cousins want you to think THEY’re cool, everyone’s aunts and uncles always want to seem cool. We are all obsessed with ourselves and our own cool factor.

Take a deep breath. They’re your gfs family, but they’re also just people. Breathe in, breathe out, practice questions in your head, stay engaged, and remember Aunt Marlene just wants you to think she’s cool.

Kristin Says:

Also, you guys… most families KNOW how anxiety-ridden a person can become when it is time to “meet the family.” You don’t only get one shot at making a good impression!

I think that Dannielle’s advice is spot-on, but I think the other key thing to remember here is that you aren’t going to only meet these people one time. I dated a girl awhile back who was extremely shy and quiet in group settings. It was hard because she was not shy or quiet in our relationship, and actually was hilarious… but when she would get around my family she would just look at the ground and say just a few words.

My family members were very nice to her, and at first understood that it was hard for her to make conversation. They asked HER questions and helped her become more comfortable. They weren’t immediately like “OH MY GOD SHE IS SO FUNNY AND AMAZING,” but they also didn’t just throw her to the wolves and call it a day. Over time, she was able to become much more comfortable, and started to open up and make jokes, and interact with them in bigger ways.

I don’t even date that girl anymore and she is STILL best friends with my family. POINT BEING: Don’t put all the pressure on yourself. Look at this as the first of many meetings, and remember that almost every person on the planet is nice enough to know that meeting a whole bunch of family for the first time can be a little scary.

You’ve got this.