How to Be More Social? Top 7 Tips for Your Personal and Work-Life
Believe it or not, social anxiety is something almost everyone experiences at least once or twice in their life. Whether you get slightly nervous or have extreme panic attacks, there are multiple things you can do to become more comfortable around people and your environment.
Social anxiety begins in childhood, and most experience it when they are nervous about speaking to authority or large groups of people. However, social anxiety can become a serious problem to the extreme that many people refrain from social contact with other people.
If any of this applies to you, remember that the world is not to be feared but explored and that help is always provided when you seek it. Here are seven great tips on not being socially awkward in your personal and work life so that living around people is comfortable and easy.
1. Entering a Program
If being socially awkward concerns you and you desire to be able to seek comfort in others and your environment, entering a program that pushes you to be social is a good way to go. Like counseling, programs allow you to perfect the things you feel awkward or uncertain about, like learning how to be social or how not to be socially awkward.
For example, if you are in high school and want to know how to be more social, becoming a part of a club on campus is great. It puts you in a situation where you learn to speak your opinion with others who share similar beliefs.
That way, you learn to speak with people you don’t know but with who you share familiar ideas. Joining clubs or entering programs, from counseling to leisure activities, can be the first start to introducing you to person-to-person interaction. It can easily eliminate your struggle with learning how to improve your social skills simply because it pushes you to familiarize yourself with speaking to others. That way, you can learn to relax while speaking rather than clamping up.
2. Talking to Others
The next step is talking to other people whom you aren’t so familiar with. If you know in what situations you get anxious or feel socially awkward, it’s easy to find means of overcoming this problem. For example, “many people have social anxiety the first few times they have to do something such as speaking in front of a group, meeting with a new boss, going to a job interview, going to a new class or job where they do not know anyone, or getting to know someone they might like to date.”
If any of these apply to you, you have already made the first step in improvement: recognizing the problem. Now all you have to do is begin speaking with those who make you feel awkward to try and feel more comfortable around them. Or, if that is too much, talk to others who are like them to get used to talking to other people in general. If you get nervous talking to someone you like, practice speaking to a friend as if they were that person. That might help make the situation more comfortable the next time it happens.
3. Familiarizing Your Environment
Familiarizing your environment is similar to talking to others, but regarding your surroundings. The new and unfamiliar scares people and forces them to close up psychologically. Examples include when you get a new job, eat at new restaurants, or are in a foreign country.
This is completely natural as being somewhere new forces our bodies to be in protection mode. We are more cautious of things than we would normally be because we are unsure of safety. Thus, it’s pure science. But you might realize that there are people who are completely comfortable with the new and unfamiliar and have no trouble being themselves around anyone. To learn how to socialize, familiarize yourself with your environment.
Practice putting yourself in new situations so that you aren’t so afraid when put in that position. When you make the unfamiliar familiar, you become comfortable, more relaxed, and more likely to be yourself – no matter who you talk to.
4. Be Less Critical
If the problem isn’t that you are afraid to talk to others or feel socially awkward, but that you are unable to connect to people because of your beliefs about them, really working on improving social skills. You can start with not being as critical of everyone as you currently do. Typically those who are critical of others label themselves as “antisocial” or those who dislike the company of others.
When you are constantly dissecting other people or placing labels, you automatically shut down half the people around you when they probably are good people. A part of being antisocial or human is that you don’t want to be judged.
So why be judgmental of others if you wouldn’t want the same in return? Being more accepting of others can open many windows for you, making you more pleasant and happy. All it takes is a slight change in how you see those around you. Just have more consideration, and you’ll learn how to become more social.
5. Don’t Over-Analyze
Have you ever spoken to someone and thought it was a normal conversation until five minutes after it ends when you start dissecting everything that went on? Then you start to notice that maybe you misinterpreted what was said or should have been clearer or said the wrong thing. It turns what was a simple conversation into a chaotic catastrophe.
If you do this repeatedly, you may be nervous around others because you are constantly afraid of saying the wrong thing or giving the wrong impression. If so, no problem! The first step is recognizing that this is a problem and that you need to learn how to deal with social anxiety. The second is learning how to turn it around.
The next time you talk to someone, try to be as relaxed as possible and don’t think about everything they said. It’s difficult, no doubt, but by letting things be what they are, you will realize how much easier it is to talk to others.
6. Push Yourself and Initiate
In school, there is always that person who is just so good at getting to know others. They walk up to other people, sit down, and start talking. And all the while, you are sitting there wishing desperately that you can be like them – that if you could push yourself out there, your life would be different. Well, it can be.
Do what the other person did: push yourself and get out there. Granted, this can be extremely difficult as you don’t always know who other people are, and you might be afraid of rejection. But what’s the worst that can happen, them saying no? Most of the time, even if someone dislikes you, they won’t have the nerve to say outright, “leave me alone.” And if they are, they wouldn’t be someone you would want in your life anyways.
The best thing to remember when putting yourself out there and learning to be more social is that even if you fail, no one will remember. If you go to a party wearing something strange, sure some people might talk about you – but they aren’t going to remember what you wore for more than a few minutes. For the rest of your life, you won’t be remembered as that girl who wore something weird at a party. Putting yourself out there can be the best thing to do.
Typically you don’t find people saying, “I regret putting myself out there. It got me nowhere”. No, you usually hear, “if I hadn’t pushed myself into doing this, I would never be where I am today.” It isn’t easy, but if you give yourself a little nudge, you will be surprised at what great things can happen by simply putting yourself out there. And the best part is that no one will notice how hard it was for you. They will know that someone came to talk to them, and they were impressed with how personable you were. Hey, you might have even made someone else’s day by putting yourself out there.
7. Always Stay Positive
In situations like these, where you are going out of your comfort zone to try and break that socially awkward barrier, it is easy to get down on yourself. You will often consider giving up because nothing is working, and shrinking back into your hole is easier. But remember to stay positive. Self-confidence is sexy.
If you are confident about your actions, then other people’s opinions don’t matter. You are too focused on being who you are that nothing can stop you. You are happy because you produce your happiness; you don’t need other people’s approval to feel self-love. Thus, one great way to learn how to get rid of social anxiety is to build some confidence and stay positive. While stepping out of your comfort zone may be frightening, it is nothing short of possible.
Try to keep a positive mind by being less critical of others and judging yourself. Often the problem is that you may feel uncomfortable in your skin. But by focusing on the parts about you that are beautiful, you can change the way you interact with others and learn how to get over social anxiety. With a little self-confidence, you may not be so afraid to talk to others and may not fear the new or unfamiliar.
You can do many things to learn how to be more social, both in your personal and professional life. If you are a parent or teacher trying to teach your children how to be more social, use some of these skills to guide them.
Teach self-confidence, acceptance of others, and initiation at an early age so that being shy or socially awkward is not a problem in the future. If you think your situation is very serious, consider talking to others, being a part of groups or clubs, or even seeking counseling services.
Either way, one of the best things you can do to become more comfortable with yourself and others is to become more familiar with talking to them. After all, practice makes perfect. If you struggle with talking to others, try pushing yourself to talk more often and cease over-analyzing.
Relax and breathe, you’re only human, and you aren’t the only one! If you struggle with the new and unfamiliar, practice putting yourself in situations where you struggle initially but gradually get better. You will be surprised by how much this can benefit your life. Stay confident, stay yourself, always be positive, keep an open mind and put yourself out there. It may be difficult, but by taking this advice, you can learn how to eliminate that social anxiety in no time.