Since the pandemic has taken over the world, the rise of virtual events has also started to take off. Instead of meeting in-person and having large gatherings, with loads of food, music, and entertainment, events have slowly shifted to being inside your house, on your desk, looking at a laptop screen with up to hundreds of faces in small square boxes looking back at you. People who struggle with social anxiety have a hard enough time interacting with other people in-person, but some experts claim that social anxiety can be even more triggered during virtual events, than in-person gatherings solely because it is an unfamiliar form of interaction. Zoom meetings can be even more nerve wracking, and even though people don’t have to worry about how they look as much anymore in these virtual events, but they have to care about how their background looks, their audio, their camera quality, and where to make eye contact. If virtual meetings can be so stressful, it makes complete sense how people can be so nervous to attend virtual events that are optional. If you are nervous attending virtual events, we are here to inform you how gatherings, especially virtual events can be a great thing, and how to conquer any anxiety you may have leading up to an event, and even during it.
Changing the Perspective
Let’s start by saying that virtual events are actually a different type of fun. The big plus to attending something online is that at least you don’t have to transport your body into any physical place that may feel uncomfortable or unfamiliar to you. In Virtual gatherings, every individual is able to attend from the comfort of their homes, and their physical being is surrounded by things that are familiar and seem comfortable to you. Sometimes just being able to look around you and spotting your old teddy bear sitting on your bed, or the old postcards that your grandma sent from Jordan all helps ease some social anxiety.
Instead of being nervous about who is watching you, or looking into your room, just think, “I am attending this event from a place where I feel safe, and secure”.
Start off Slow
Instead of jumping into situations with your camera and audio on, sometimes it’s best for individuals to take it slow. Have you thought about attending a virtual event without your camera or audio on? This way you are still attending a gathering, and getting the maximum benefits from that but your anxiety is also in bay because you don’t have to show anything or say anything. When it comes to any type of anxiety or fear, the best way to combat it, is to take baby steps and work your way up. The next time you can say a few words, and then after that you can dip your feet into hot waters by turning your camera on and really being present with the event that is taking place. We always encourage people to attend zoom events because they can be so beneficial for individuals both in terms of learning but also entertainment. It’s unhealthy for people to be cooped up in their homes, isolated from everyone. So if people are able to attend without showing their face, or speaking much that is still fine and acceptable.
If there is anyone that can cure someone’s social anxiety it’s themselves, this includes being nervous attending virtual events. People, and even this article can only teach you what you need to do, in the end it is all in your hands. Positive self-talk is a great initiative that people can take upon themselves to talk them out of their nerves and negative mindset to attending a virtual event. Phrases like, ‘Think of the benefits of me attending’ and then listing them in your head, or saying, ‘I can do this, I trust myself’ and pushing yourself to attend are all great steps to conquer your fears and get out of an anxious rut. No change or growth occurs when you are in a place where you feel too comfortable. If you want to grow and blossom into the best version, we would say attend that virtual event with a big deep breath and just wait for the opportunities to come barging in. You don’t know who you will meet, and the great things that are capable of happening. Creating that trust within yourself, and knowing sometimes your anxiety can limit you to being more social is a great first step, but tackling it is the second step.
Come Join Us!
If you feel like you are ready and less nervous attending virtual events. Behold! Because you can practise with us, every Saturday at Yalla! Let’s Talk. We hold virtual cafes at 12pm EST/ 4pm GMT where you have the chance to talk to Arabs from around the world and get a sense of home from various communities and friends that you may be familiar with. The virtual cafe is a great safe and inclusive online space for anyone looking to meet a handful of friends that want to spend their Saturday together talking and growing together.
Aside from Virtual Cafe, we always have various virtual events you’re able to sign up to and attend. This always gives people a great opportunity to learn new things, talk and network, enjoy performances, listen to different speakers, and keep up with everything that affects Arabs in the diaspora and worldwide. Our most recent events were “Yalla! Let’s Talk, Ya Romancy” which happened on February 13th where attendees were able to discuss their love and dating questions, and meet people from the comfort of their homes. The night was filled with loads of scandalous talk, eating chocolate, and virtual hugs. Another virtual event we had recently was “Yalla Let’s Talk Musica” which happened on March 20th. Attendees were able to listen to the interview happening with Suhel Nafar, and other various artists regarding making your way as an artist, branding yourself, and understand the industry more as a whole. They also had the chance to dance their heart out to some exclusive music, and interact with artists.
by Mariam Asif – YLT Staff