While most people enjoy at least an average degree of social attention and can handle situations “normally”, others are not that fortunate. With the Internet taking such an integral part of our life and many other factors of the recent 20 years, social recluses become more and more. And they’re really not to blame. But how do we remedy that ?
Quite frankly, the reasons for becoming socially awkward can be many and different – from early childhood trauma to problems with the peers in the first social encounters. Sometimes, children who were sheltered and spoiled get crushed by the immediate difference between home and the domestic situation – children get insulted and develop the habit not to participate in social communication.
Overcoming Social Anxiety in Just 5 Easy Steps
Whatever the problem, we’ll try to present some solutions, some simple tidbits and best practices that might get you out of this situation and make you a more sociable and motivated person.
1. Strike up casual chats with strangers
Now at this point you might think “Why are you offering me the problem as a solution?”. Well that’s not entirely the case – what we’re offering is that you use opportunities to talk to random people, because even if everything fails, there will be no serious consequences. You’ll be able to go through what went wrong later, analyze and correct your behavior. And besides, nothing changes instantly, this will allow you to get some experience.
Now when we say strangers that doesn’t mean stopping random people on the street or casually encountering companies of people at the bar , the latter can only be done by pretty social people.
Talk to people who appear idle and without company, at a line for example, on a bus commute or if you’re the only two people on a train coupe. These are just some examples for casual chat encounters.
Eventually, when you manage to pull a few of these conversations off, you’ll feel motivated to carry on and do other stuff.
2. Try to look people in the eyes when talking
This is the social norm, which should explain why you need to do it if you want people to have a positive reaction towards you.
Staring at someone is bad, that’s still valid, as it turns you into a creep in people’s eyes … but not looking at them entirely is also false. To most people that means that you’re bored, or you think of yourself as someone better than them and thus don’t need to look at them.
Looking into people’s eyes might be troublesome for the more socially awkward, but you’ll find out it’s actually good and useful.
3. Smile often and never regret it
The thing about the smile as an emotional response is that it widely fits nearly all possible responses. You can have a smile on your face because you find something funny, you can wear a smile when you’re utterly confused, sometimes you smile nervously when afraid or anxious. There’s even the “sad smile” and the “bitter smile”.
In conclusion , you can never go wrong with a smile, and the next great thing about it is that it makes people around you go more easy about the conversation. This will in turn make it easier for you to communicate with them.
So smile on!
4. Learn not to take things too deep and personally
An old proverb says that “one who tries to be friends with everyone is actually no one’s friend”. Boiling this down to its essential meaning, it says that you should not hope that everyone will like you, as in immediately like you or always like you.
Learn not to care so much about public opinion , and communicate with people who you find interesting and worthy, then try to get their attention.
5. Share a meal with someone
For ages and ages, people have shared information and communicated over a meal and drink, and it has become deeply ingrained in us , so much that it’s now a social opportunity.
At lunch break, don’t just eat lunch all by yourself – ask someone to go with you or attach yourself to an idle person (after asking for permission of course). You’d be surprised how well that works for people to overcome their anxiety.
Social awkwardness is not just “how you are” it can become a nuisance that prevents you from taking full advantage of the opportunities that life presents, and should thus be eliminated. Just remember – you can do it, it will just take some time and practice like anything else.