One of the approaches my clients like the most is to plan what they want to talk about. If you are going into a social situation, think about who is likely to be there. If there are a lot of people you don't know then there is lots of opprtunity to ask others about themselves and keep the focus on others. Questions like “what brings you here?” or “how do you know (the host)?”. Even the most cliche questions can be good conversation starters. But, it's really important to think about what you would like people to know about you. Even if all you do is sit at home and read books, think about the types of books you like, and why you like them. Create a story to tell about your interests, whatever they are. Then, if someone does ask about you, you're prepared to tell them something. Also, when you are telling people about you, keep it positive. Avoid being self depricating. We all have flaws and there is no need to advertise them.
If your anxiety is about seeing a psychologist, keep in mind that your knid of condition is very common. Noone is going to think you're crazy, or your problems aren't serious enough to bother with. Also, as psychologists our role is to hear what you have to say. We're experts at helipng people to talk, and supporting them as they explore their problems - we do it all day!
The really good news is that social anxiety is a problem that can be overcome very effectively with the right kind of support.
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