I’ve learned to overcome Newcomer Anxiety
Newcomer anxiety is usually very stress inducing. Let’s say you end up at an event/place where nobody is known to you. Your brain constantly searches for people in the hopes of finding someone you know in the crowd.
What causes this newcomer anxiety?
In the Stone Age, Food and Shelter were the necessities of survival for humans. Any outside entity approaching them were considered a “Threat” to their survival. Even today, younger children are taught to not speak to random strangers. This, over the course of human evolution has conditioned our brain to perceive any unknown entity to be a “Threat”.
But, as we grow older we realise, to get hold of new opportunities we’re required to network which involves the exact opposite to what we were taught to do or what our brain is already conditioned to do i.e Speak to Strangers.
How I’ve overcome this anxiety
First step is Initiation. I became the one who initiates conversations. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean to go and talk to a complete random stranger without any purpose or intent of the conversation. What I did was to find, the fields of my interest. I searched for Meetup groups of people who shared similar interests as me. I joined Meetup clubs where I met people offline with similar shared interests. Your shared interest becomes the conversation starter you can avoid the initial awkwardness in the conversation.
You can cold e-mail / individuals and schedule an in-person meet with them. The reason why I’m stressing on in-person meets is because you can establish a sense of authenticity almost instantly when you meet, whereas in online meets it takes time to get that sense of authenticity. I’ve cold e-mailed so many people with regards to this scenario and trust me, not only does this improve your reach out skills but also establishes you as an ‘open’ person in the other person’s mind even before having begun the conversation in the first place.