Treatment for social anxiety can be done by way of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Essentially, CBT teaches different ways of thinking, behaving, and reacting to situations that help someone with anxiety feel less anxious and fearful. Additionally, it can also help one learn and practice social skills.

Considering one of the most helpful things you can do to overcome social anxiety is to face the social situations you fear rather than avoid them, a person dragging an anxious friend to a #party has become a common scenario. And while the interaction is highly encouraged, detaching one’s self from everyone presents a certain kind of comfort.

It is a bonus is if there’s a dog around.

Enter ‘Pet the Pup’

Anxiety isn’t the only excuse to run away from small talk, and really, who doesn’t #Pet dogs? To those who have anxiety though and have yet to overcome it, Will Herring’s PC game “Pet the #PUP at the Party” is a cathartic journey through conquering your fears.

It’s not a complicated game. The scenario – in which the player finds comfort in the unconditional kindness of dogs at an anxiety-inducing social gathering is its premise – a gamified take on the modern-day “doggo” internet culture.

Pet the Pup at the Party” is a game even the most mildly introverted among us can identify with. To be clear, the game isn’t exactly marketed exclusively to people with anxiety – it’s also for those who have found themselves trapped amongst party goers who excessively enjoy lots of eye contact.

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There’s always the choice to go home, but why do so when you can get some affection from a dog who wants to silently love you?

The more you pet, the cooler the results

Players are given a time limit to see how many dogs need petting and how many humans they can avoid. Initially, players are given two minutes but it increases with every dog they pet. Upon finishing the game, they are taken to a screen detailing the number of dogs that they petted and the number of humans they were forced to interact with.

The best part of “Pet the Pup at the Party” though, there is a Good Dog Gallery where players can see all the good dogs they met at the party, and they have names! If a player wants to “collect” more dogs, simply start over and try to meet more doggos and puppos.

It’s not a particularly complex game – go to a party, talk to no one, find the pup, and pet the pup – but it’s cute and soothing. You can grab it for free on Itch.io. Meanwhile, check out JdotPlay’s video below for a taste of virtual fluff happiness.