6 Ways Shy Moms Can Make the Most of Any Social Situation
Experts advise shy moms on surviving and thriving in any social situation.
By: Maressa Brown
Whether you’re new in town and the mom of a toddler or you’re a seasoned veteran with a teen, being introverted can pose a special challenge for any parent. You might wish you could be ready with icebreakers at school drop-off or feel you have to push yourself to sign up for PTA duties. Thankfully, there are all kinds of different ways to tackle shyness in situations like this. Here are six expert tips for shy moms.
1. Give yourself a confidence boost. “We all fear rejection at some level and sometimes this creeps into our social interactions,” explains family therapist Julie Gowthorpe, PhD, RSW. Keeping this in mind can serve as a reminder that you’re not alone. “I remind people to make a conscious choice to incorporate positive, empowering statements in their self talk,” Gowthorpe says. For example, you can replace a negative thought like, “I have nothing to offer” with “I am an interesting, thoughtful woman,” which can help you feel more calm and reassured.
2. Don’t feel pressured to be perfect. Shy moms may find themselves hesitant to speak up if they’re worried they’re not as pulled-together as other moms. Words of wisdom to bear in mind: “Connection comes from sharing doubts, concerns, and failures -- not pretending that you are perfect,” explains psychologist and relationship expert Jeanette Raymond, PhD, author of Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t!. Plus, opening up about your own challenges can make you feel like part of the community even faster. “Moms will identify with them and quickly make you feel part of the group,” says Raymond.
3. Shoot for light and breezy. You don’t necessarily have to voice complaints to make a connection. A great icebreaker can be as simple as offering another mom -- or her child -- praise. “Parents always like to hear compliments or positive statements about their children,” says Gowthorpe.
4. Lean on mutual acquaintances. “Although you may have not met another parent before, you may have some relationships in common, which can also establish a starting point to build from,” says Gowthorpe. If you’re not sure whether you have mutual acquaintances, you could find out by simply steering the conversation there. Mention how you volunteered on a certain committee last year or how you’re pleased with the progress a particular coach or teacher has made with the kids.
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5. When in doubt, ask questions. If you’re not sure what to talk about, consider that just about everyone loves talking about themselves. Before a social event, consider preparing questions you could ask other parents, suggests Raymond. Perhaps you inquire about the neighborhood piano teacher or the junior high curriculum. Once you hit on a topic someone else has experience with, the conversation will be off and running!
6. Reframe how you think about hanging out with other moms. It’s easy to psych yourself out about occasions when you may encounter other parents, but when you start thinking of it as a nerve-racking experience, try this: “I encourage people to look at interactions with other parents as an opportunity to connect with people who may have things in common or may have interesting things to offer,” says Gowthorpe. “Getting together with other parents is a great way to take a break from the day-to-day and unwind.”
What strategies have helped you connect with other moms?
Maressa Brown is a senior staff writer for The Stir. She loves writing about and reading up on health/fitness, relationships, and pop culture -- preferably on a beach somewhere.