Women at a team lunch

Anxious about that team lunch

Anxiety

Does anxiousness flare up as soon as you start thinking about that upcoming team lunch you have?

Does your stomach churn a bit at the very thought of having to sit, for an hour (or what feels like an eternity) and socialize with people who you feel you just don’t know that well? Does the idea of making small talk with your boss and peers make your stomach drop about a thousand floors for fear of saying something they’ll think is stupid?

The more you think about it, the more the pressure builds. Pretty soon what was presented as an innocent enough lunch becomes a source of anxiety, worry, and foreboding dread.

Layer on top of that all the self-judgment that comes with it (“why can’t I just look forward to lunch like a normal person!?”), and you’ve served yourself quite a meal all on your own –

I call it soup de emotional crap-ola! Sip away…

With all of these emotions accompanying us on our team lunch date, it’s no wonder we don’t want to go to them. So what can we do to free ourselves from the pressure? And I don’t mean what excuse can we come up with to get out of the lunch. I mean to actually go to the lunch and not feel like we are torturing ourselves the whole time.

What I find to be most helpful in these cases is to understand what we’re really afraid of. Because it’s not the lunch itself. It’s what we think is going to happen at that lunch. Ask your brain, WHAT AM I SO AFRAID OF?

  • Being seen as a fraud?
  • Saying something they disagree with?
  • Coming across as a fool?

What you’ll likely find is that most of these thoughts stem from this idea of them judging you.

And you are likely so preoccupied with what they’ll think of you that you don’t even realize that the only one that you know of that is actually doing the judging…is YOU. You are preemptively judging yourself for how you think you’ll show up at that lunch, and trust me, what judgment is going on in your own head is probably about 10 times worse than any judging they may have about you. And what’s most important is – you can’t control their judgment anyways. They are going to think whatever they’re going to think. But by spending your time so focused – and worried – about what their thoughts about you might be – that you’ve robbed yourself from any chance of having enjoyment at the lunch.

And, how well can you really show up with all that judgment and anxiety swirling around in your head mucking up your ability to even put two words together coherently? No wonder you’re trying to squirm your way out of the lunch by coming up with some excuse not to go!

Once you know what you’re afraid of, the next question is, SO WHAT.?

So what if they see you as a fraud? As a fool? Why does that matter so much to you? With this step, I invite you to remember – the only opinion that you really know, is your own. And, truthfully, that’s the only opinion that really matters here. Because what you think of you – that’s what will determine how you show up, and how you feel, at that lunch. Because those thoughts are going to create your experience of the lunch. Those thoughts are going to fuel how you feel at the lunch, and thus, the actions you take – what you say, and what you do. This is why your thoughts are what matter here. No one else’s.

Instead of focusing so much on what they want of you or think of you – ask yourself what YOU want from this lunch.

Ask, “What would be my dream lunch? And what steps can I take to make that into a reality? “

This will help free you from all the unnecessary pressure you place on yourself, and allow yourself to find enjoyment – or at least not so much emotional crap-ola – at that next team lunch date.