Social anxiety crops up unexpectedly during the holiday season, but per my therapist, there’s the kind you can’t anticipate…and then there’s the kind you can. Case in point: Interactions with my brother-in-law. Name the topic and we have opposite views on it—everything from the Covid vaccine to child-rearing.
This makes gathering around the holiday dinner table stressful to say the least. Topics, large and small, can feel like walking into a minefield—a situation that is ever-more complicated by my parents, who would prefer that everyone just “get along.”
I brought up this dynamic in a recent session with my therapist and he had the best-ever solution to the problem: Rehearse it.
No, the comparisons to HBO’s The Rehearsal weren’t lost on me in that moment, but I took his words to heart. His suggestion is that, for situations where you have a hunch about how a social interaction might play out, take 15 minutes (heck, you could spend just five) scenario-casting the various ways you might respond.