Tomorrow, like literally thousands of other women, I will head to the annual BlogHer Conference in San Diego. I’ve been to almost every single BlogHer gathering, I’ve spoken at them and worked at them too, but I always approach the Conference with fear and dread as well as excitement.
I thought, “you can’t be the only one,” so I decided to write a quick piece for my sisters in anxiety out there. You see, BlogHer is a little like high school. And if for some reason you were not popular in high school, or you were angsty, or you didn’t have people to sit with at lunch or didn’t get invited to cool parties, you might have flashbacks at BlogHer Con. I went to girls high school, and it was vicious at times. Whenever I walk into a room full of women I’ll have a bout of social anxiety. Do they like me? Am I awkward and not worth knowing?
It’s not BlogHer’s fault. The three founders are the most wonderful, down to earth women you’ll ever meet. The women I know from my blogging community are my true friends, my role models and mentors, my colleagues and even my clients. BlogHer has enriched my life in ways I never thought would be possible.
But get any posse of women together (let alone several thousand) and dynamics will ensue. Not to mention that many attendees are selling themselves, making connections, working it hard…and it can get intimidating. Every party you’re not invited to, every elite piece of swag you don’t get, every person who doesn’t know your name. You will meet people more famous/rich/full of Twitter followers than you. It wears on a person, even an adult with a wonderful life back home.
So here is my guide if events like this make you anxious. Every time you feel a twinge, say to yourself:
I’m just here to learn. If I have fun and meet people while I’m here, that’s great. But this is just a learning experience. I’m going to observe, and that’s all. I’m along for the ride.
I try to let go of whatever agenda I had…because if you hang out and observe at BlogHer, you never know where you’ll end up.
If this isn’t enough, think of all the people who love you back home. Think how wonderful it is to be an adult, to make your own rules and your own friends and not care if people like you all the time.
Then, have a glass of wine, smile, and open yourself to the experience.
See you there!