I get it, you want to be alone—you’re the private type of person, you work better and find peace when you’re alone—being alone is simply great for you. Introvert? Ambivert? It doesn’t really matter whatever you’re called. It’s only a personal preference.
On the other hand, something teases you. You want to learn how to be more social, too. Sometimes you envisage hanging out with the cool and good people. Sometimes you wonder how they hang out.
It’s alright, we were born social beings. No man is an island; I believe in this nice little cliché. Whatever your lifestyle is, you’ll try to socialize down the road. You may only do it differently from the others, or even from the majority.
Below are tips you could use on how to be more social. I’ve got to tell you, it could be overwhelming at first, but it may not be as bad as you think.
Exposure. (It can take you a long way.)
Not really good at starting conversations? Well, come to an event with a friend who is. You can participate in social events without sweating it—just come there and expose yourself to people.
Yes, stay at your buddy’s side. Follow them wherever they go. Hey, what can you say? You’re still learning! Everybody else in that party might have done this once in their life. Observe people. As studies have also shown, exposing yourself to what you fear helps you overcome that fear. Go ahead and enjoy the crowd. You’ll make yourself more comfortable.
Don’t rush, love your own pace.
Social skills take time to develop, as any other skills. Don’t get ridiculous comparing yourself with extroverts—they have their own preferences, and you don’t know how they got there in the first place. Observe, but mind your own social skills.
You don’t like talking to strangers right away? Try participating on online forums. You might not have expected that, but yes—you can try your social abilities online first. When you get the feel of how things work online, try engaging people individually there. This way, you present a more intimate side of yourself and form relationships on a more personal level. I know we’re talking about the internet here, but if you want to take it slow, this can be a good idea.
You’ll get an idea how people talk online. Those people are real people talking. They could even be more honest than those you talk to in real life.
Figure things out on your own first, on your own pace. Then go out when you’re finally ready to deal with people in the real world.
Who doesn’t like genuine people?
Be yourself. Meeting strangers and making new friends don’t mean you have to meet everybody’s expectations. You may not agree with everything, but I guarantee you that people love authentic people. Be comfortable with yourself. Don’t stress yourself over something you’re not. Come as you are. And simply enjoy the company of others.
Look, rejection is everywhere.
So what if some people don’t want to talk to you? Don’t think it’s you there’s something wrong with. When people treat someone with kindness or otherwise, they’ll most probably treat the rest of the people around them the same way too.
If someone doesn’t want to entertain you, it’s not your problem. And thinking bad about yourself straightaway because of that instance alone is an utter waste of time and energy. It’s not about you. Yes, those people aren’t even thinking about you at all.
Negative thinking like that can paralyze you. It’s only you who can stop you. So instead of wondering why you get rejected from time to time (which you’ll never guess anyway), move on to other people. You’ll learn by connecting with others—not by feeling sorry for yourself.
Just be friendly. Even if they don’t ask, say what you want to say. Tell your story. Smile. Be kind. Chances of outright rejection are slim when you’re friendly. The truth is, they may also be looking for a good conversation anyway!
You’ve got nothing to lose—dress to impress.
Would you go shopping for just one social event? I wouldn’t bet on that. Besides, how one dresses up doesn’t impress me that much anymore.
But first impressions do last. Wear your best, appropriate to the event, of course. What could go wrong? What could go so well? You’ve got nothing to lose. Dress nicely.
Educate yourself. Or no one will.
You may not know why you’re having social fear or anxiety—that’s if you know you’re having them. Know yourself. Think of your characteristics or traits that may be significantly different from other people’s, similar too. Be aware of yourself. Then start from there.
Read books, magazines or reports. Join online forums or message boards that tackle specific behaviors that interest you. Don’t let your curiosity die. If you want to visit a therapist, go ahead. Ask your family and friends what they do and don’t like about you. When you receive common feedback due to the way you talk or move, take note of them and set some time to think.
There are countless resources you can utilize to learn how to be more social, learn about yourself, and learn about anything else, really! You can borrow or pay for these resources. Or simply pick other people’s brain.
Truly, there are no excuses in learning.
Get in touch with people once in a while—but somewhat regularly.
This is about rituals. Go to group events in which your social circles are expanding. But if these events rarely happen, try to keep in touch with the people you meet. Set on your calendar a day in a week or month to send them an email, send them a text message, or ring them—simply stay in touch with them. You can also do it through common events that are about to take place. Think watching your favorite football team (on TV) or keeping eye on the next concert in your place.
There are plenty of opportunities to connect with people, especially in this day and age in which many things can be done at our fingertips.
Play “social catalyst.”
This is a handy technique. All you have to do is introduce people you just met to your friends. Getting social could be that easy!
I’ve done this in the past and surprisingly, some people made connections deeper than the ones I originally had. It only takes one common interest, and your only job is to look for people who have it. A chain could form, spreading like wildfire.
Introducing these people won’t be a problem because it’d mean that you like each of them in a way. The favor you not only do yourself, but also other people. Being truly thanked is a bonus too.
Listen—you have to listen.
Executing social moves isn’t only about putting yourself up on stage. Yes, you may be a hotshot, but come on, socializing is interacting.
Good communication is half talking and half listening. If your only objective is to stand out without giving others the chance to talk, then you may want to slow down a bit.
When your superstar ego starts to kick in, do this one simple trick—listen.
Practice makes perfect. Start now.
Your knowledge and willpower won’t mean anything if you can’t translate them into practical action. Learn as much as you can. Devour relevant information. But they must be put to action. Practice them regularly.
Like exposure, taking action can also overcome your fears or anxieties, even when circumstances urge you to do otherwise.
Hone your body language. Make sure that your body movements agree with what you say.
Make eye contact. In some cultures, glances at other objects are fine. But when you talk to someone, look them in the eye. It strengthens the connection.
Talk to at least one stranger a day. Start small talks. Practice facing your fears. Practice getting out of your comfort zone.
No one is born with golden social skills. Everybody practices until they perfect them.
Remember, something may not work for all. What you know to be right for others may be awkward for you. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Don’t let the opportunity to learn slip away.
So it’s all good. Get on your feet and start right now.
Think About It
Your alone time could be more fun, more enlightening or more fulfilling. But, as I’ve said many times before, humans are social beings. You may not need anyone right now, for any help, but I would like to believe that you’ll find joy with someone you’ll connect with. Communities are formed that way. Just look at your neighborhood. People have chosen that same neighborhood for a reason. Maybe they like the trees, or the silence, or simply the people! Whatever the reason is, you know deep inside there’s going to be at least one person you can share it with. You simply have to find who that person is. When you want to learn how to be more social, you decide to push away the fears that keep you from doing it, and you allow yourself to have fun.
Take these tips with you and remember, socializing isn’t as hard as you think—you simply have to do it!
Speak Your Mind
Could you tell only one reason that’s keeping you from being social? What’s the best experience you’ve had by applying any of the tips above? Share them on the comments below!