6 Ways to Be Better at Socializing

Do your palms sweat at the thought of weddings, networking events and other social gatherings? You’re not alone. Here’s a surprising fact: most people consider themselves to be shy. Though many choose to be wallflowers at anxiety inducing events, it’s the outgoing and friendly types of people who make contacts, get business, and stand out. Could your work be suffering from your lack of socializing?

Here are some benefits to improving your social skills:

  • It will allow you to become more comfortable interacting with others.
  • It will allow you to put others at ease and make them more comfortable with you.
  • It will allow doors to open and other opportunities to be presented.

If you’re ready to challenge yourself to grow outside of your comfort zone, here are six ways to learn how to be a better at socializing.

1. Throw caution to the wind.

I used to consider myself very shy, so you can imagine how I felt, nearly two years ago, when I was told I’d have to approach strangers at busy recruiting events. I was nervous, intimidated, uncertain, and worried. Thankfully, I grew to like my job. After a few “pitches” to strangers, I grabbed some interested folks and shrugged off the rejection of others. At first, sales positions like these can be difficult for the shy. Try to think of it like jumping into a pool. Eventually, the water starts to feel comfortable, right? If you want to be more social, push yourself to do it.

2. Don’t be afraid to approach others.

We are all just people, and anyone attending a social even knows that introductions are a part of the game. If most people are shy, then play the role of Alpha dog by beginning the conversation with someone else. You can always find common ground with people. What is the event for? Start there. Sometimes a simple question or comment can get the ball rolling. Once you make a move no one will ever guess that you’re shy.

3. Don’t make assumptions.

This advice is especially great when it comes to meeting new people. You will never really know much about a person unless you interact with them. You can wonder whether or not the other person will make for a good contact, but you’ll have to approach them to find out. In the same vein, not everyone who approaches you will be trying to sell you something or looking to do business. Let things unfold organically. You may meet the man or woman of your dreams because you were open-minded.

4. Ignore your inner party pooper.

Everyone has a critical inner voice that tries to put us down. That internal idiot is just one of the ways we stop ourselves from experiencing new things. Your voice might try to tell you that you’re no social butterfly; that people look at you strangely; that you’re boring; or that you frequently say unintelligent or embarrassing things. Tell that voice to shape up or ship out. You’re the last person who should speak that way about you.

5. Change your beliefs.

If the nagging internal voice has actually gotten to you, now is the time to reclaim your confidence. Turn around those negative statements by replacing them with positive ones. To counter the earlier dialogue, you can tell yourself that you are a social butterfly, and you’re finally emerging from your cocoon; people don’t always look at you strangely (sometimes that’s just the way his or her face looks); you’re actually pretty interesting when it comes to the topics you enjoy; and that those silly things you sometimes say give you character. If this last one is a serious issue, my next tip will help.

6. Prepare for the event.

This is a great way to approach the situation confident and ready. Think of possible topics to talk about like common interests, news, and relevant information. You can even practice a short pitch or introduction so you feel more relaxed saying it. Remember, ask questions to the other person to show your engagement. I’ve heard that the person asking the questions is always the one in charge. You don’t have to overpower the other person, but try to be daring enough to put the first inquiry one on the table.

Try these tips the next time an event pops up, and see what happens. Shy people are social butterflies who haven’t emerged from the cocoon. You decide when it’s time to fly!

For more posts and related articles by Sara Kosmyna.

How do you feel when a socializing event crops up? Why do you think it’s a struggle to overcome your shyness?

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