"It's not awkward unless you make it awkward. So, just don't make it awkward."
She's right. But the trouble I always have with that is that it's really kind of only helpful BEFORE I freeze up, because it doesn't come to mind AFTER I freeze up.
I can handle small groups without my social anxiety being triggered. A room of 4 or 5 people usually won't phase me. Small, quiet, hole-in-the-wall pub or bar with maybe 15 or 20 people, I can deal, but only because I'm drinking. Anymore than that though, and yeah, I'll start to wig out.
I've always thought that being a musician with stage freight was a bit contradictory. But I met different people over the years who had the same problem and I gradually learned to relax into it after doing enough shows. Which is very ironic in its own considering that I don't play anymore.
I pushed my limits with my social anxiety on purpose, to broaden and stretch my comfort zone. But also that's kind of the story of how I accidentally became an alcoholic in my early and middle 20s
so like, maybe don't do it that much? IDK.
I'm thankfully recovered now.