How to be MORE Social - Tips to be more Confident around People
How to Be Socially Confident
Are you the person sitting in the corner at the party hoping no one will come up and talk to you? If this sounds like you, realize that you're not alone. If you want to become more socially confident, you need to create a confident outlook and practice improving your social skills. With any luck, you'll be the person approaching the wallflower at your next party.
Creating a Confident Outlook
Accept your personality.Many people happen to be introverted, meaning that you're more comfortable spending time alone or with your own thoughts. If this sounds like you, don't force yourself to completely become an outgoing, social person. Doing so can lead to stress, anxiety, and heart disease.Instead, spend time in social situations you already enjoy and try to have meaningful conversations.
- By accepting your introverted nature, you can focus on the quality of your social interactions rather than trying to increase the number of social interactions you have.
Understand the importance of confidence.You can become socially confident by engaging other people in a way that interests them and makes them feel heard. These skills, along with the ability to make others feel heard, are known as social competence. Research has shown that improving social competence actually increases positive self-perceptions and acceptance during social situations.Practicing social competence can create opportunities for yourself, since you're more likely to approach others.
- How you see yourself is one of the most common factors that influences your confidence. You may think that you're giving off a negative impression to others in social situations, but you're probably just looking for anything to confirm your own beliefs.
Avoid negative thoughts.If you don't see yourself as socially confident, it can be easy to look for evidence that confirms your belief, since people prefer experiences to match their predictions.Instead, reframe a situation to challenge how you see yourself. Catch yourself thinking negative thoughts and ask yourself what evidence you see or hear that proves the thought.
- For example, imagine you're out and think, "I know everyone here thinks I’m boring because I have nothing interesting to say.” Stop thinking the negative thought and ask yourself what proves that thought without a doubt.
Test your beliefs.Once you've started looking for evidence to support how you feel, test the evidence to see if it was caused by other things beyond your control. Don't assume that others’ reactions are caused by you, because this can often leave you feeling deflated. Realize that others’ reactions are a product of themselves and not you. It may be helpful to steer your assumptions in the direction of compassion for the other person while taking a position of caring curiosity about what might be going on with them.
- For example, maybe you saw someone make a face, and you thought that they were uninterested in what you were talking about, or you saw someone end a conversation prematurely and run off. Ask yourself if these could be attributed to other things. The person who made the face may not be feeling well or may be uncomfortable in that seat, or may have seen someone he or she was hoping not to run into. The person who rushed out could she have been late for a meeting and forgot to mention it. Or maybe he or she has been stressed and really needed some alone time.
Express compassion for others.If you express compassion towards others, you’ll be creating a positive environment when you interact with other people. The more positive social interactions you have, the more you could build your confidence. Being able to pick up on social cues and express empathy, are important parts of engaging meaningfully with others.
- For example, if your friend rushes out, you could text or call her later to see if she's alright. She'll most likely appreciate your compassion and understanding.
Maintain healthy expectations.At times, people just don't click with each other, even when they make an effort to be social and put themselves forward. It's natural, and everyone goes through this. To build your social confidence, remember that you cannot take responsibility for the way other people feel and act.
- If a person you're trying to speak with isn't responding, that's on the other person, not you. Shrug it off and move on. There will be someone who you will click with, or at the very least, have enough social skill to engage in pleasant, polite conversation.
Improving Your Social Skills
Show interest in others.Try to make others feel comfortable, valued, and heard.The ability to do this is known as social competency, which can also make you appear more confident. Start to become aware of the verbal and nonverbal signals that you send to others. This will help you realize how you can improve your social skills.
- For example, maybe you've become aware that avoiding eye contact and crossing your arms at social functions makes others uncomfortable.
Strengthen nonverbal communication through body language.Adopt body language that communicates confidence, or power poses. Studies have shown that power poses can increase your confidence and make you appear comfortable.A standing power pose might include a wide stance and hands on the hips or clasped behind the head. This is open and expansive. More examples of confident body language include:
- Sitting up tall and expanding your chest to widen your shoulders. Place your hands on a table or spread one across the back of a chair.
- Strong body postures with wide stances and open shoulders and arms.
- A strong hand shake to connect with others and help people remember who you are.
- Smiling to show that you are interested and enjoying yourself.
- Making eye contact to let others know that you are listening to them. Most people feel comfortable with making eye contact 60% of the time, leaving the rest of the time for breaks in eye contact to avoid staring.
- Still posture, avoiding fidgeting or swaying so you don't look nervous.
Speak clearly.To appear confident, speak clearly and at a level in which others can hear you. Adjust the pitch of your voice by speaking in a low tone. Studies show that raising your tone in the middle before returning it to a low tone can portray confidence, assertiveness, and that you aren't asking for approval.Learning to adjust your verbal communication in this way can make you appear more comfortable and confident in social settings. People are also more likely to understand your meaning.
- Mumbling is hard to hear causing others to think that you don't want to take part in the conversation or that you're not interested.
Speak at a reasonable pace.Make sure the pace with which you speak is slow enough that others can understand you. Sometimes if you are nervous, you may begin speeding up what you are saying. This makes it difficult for others to hear and understand your message. To ensure that your pace of speaking is normal, try to breathe steadily at regular intervals throughout your story.
- If you notice yourself speeding up or speaking too fast to begin with, take a pause and a breath before continuing.
Be an effective listener.Focus on what the other person is saying and try to imagine yourself in what the person is describing.This can make you more empathetic which will help you come up with an appropriate and thoughtful response to keep the conversation going. Letting the other person speak can remind you that you don't have to carry the burden of conversation all by yourself. It also signals to other people that you respect and care about their opinions, which will give you better social feedback, helping your self-confidence.
- If you are nervous, it is tempting to pay attention more to yourself, how nervous you are, and how you will respond. But, this can make other people feel as if you don’t really care to hear what they have to say.
- Avoid the urge to interrupt, which you may feel like doing if you're nervous. Instead, pause and save it for when the other person has finished speaking.
Put yourself in social situations.Practicing confidence in social situations is an important opportunity. Over time, your social skills will improve and grow which can help you gain confidence. Frequently being in social situations will also make you feel more comfortable, which can reduce your anxiety over time. Try putting yourself in different social situations and challenge yourself to start conversations with others.
- You could simply say hello, introduce yourself, or make a comment about a mutual friend, your place of work, or the setting. For example, you could say, "Hi, this is a fantastic location for a party. Have you tried any of the food?"
Role play.Ask a trusted friend or family member to help you practice social skills. Your friend would pretend to be someone at an event, and you would practice introducing yourself, standing and speaking with confidence, and then ending the conversation. This is a great way to practice a few "go-to" introductions and conversation endings.
- For example, an introduction could be, “Hi, I’m Jason, Jeff’s friend,” and then have a list of topics you could start a conversation with. Some ideas include mutual friends, how people know each other or met, or asking others about themselves such as what hobbies they have or their career.
- Ending the conversation can be as simple as, “Ok, it was nice seeing you, and I hope to run into you again.”
Socialize with a friend's help.Ask a friend to go to a social event with you so you can meet friends of friends. Meeting the friends of a friend is a great way to practice social skills without having to approach and introduce yourself to a stranger. Your friend should simply introduce you and you can join in the conversation when you feel ready.
- For example, your friend might say, "Greg, this is my friend Carol. We went to school together." Then, you can let the conversation go on between them or jump in and converse.
Socialize in new settings.Once you've begun to feel more confident, branch out and go to places where you don't know anyone. Try to go to places or events where the focus isn't on meeting lots of new people. Look for a small group or event that interests you. This way, you'll have a better opportunity to interact with a small number of people.It can also prevent you from feeling overwhelmed.
- For example, if you love to rock climb, you could go to the rock climbing gym, and just strike up a conversation with others that love rock climbing. This way, you have a built-in conversation starter. You could talk about equipment, techniques, trips you've taken etc.
QuestionWhat if I'm too scared about what people are going to think of me?Top AnswererThere's nothing to worry about as long as you're not in bad company. If you're not used to being around a lot of people and don't have a close friend with you, just try observing everyone else and listen to what they are talking about and try to join in. If you're asked your opinion about something and you don't have one or don't want to express it, it's alright to say "I don't know." Don't worry too much, it's unlikely anyone will be judging you.Thanks!
QuestionI've been shy all my life, and feel weird if all of a sudden I turn up one day and am confident. How do I be confident and be myself at the same time?Top AnswererGaining confidence is usually a slow process, as opposed to an overnight change. You also won't be going around telling everyone "I'm confident now," so they won't all notice at the same time. It's not weird at all to see someone grow more confident, it's a natural learning process that everyone encourages. You're on your way, keep going and enjoy your newfound confidence!Thanks!
QuestionHow do I gain the confidence to talk to people?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHave positive thoughts and face your fear of talking to people. You can only grow if you're willing to go outside of your comfort zone.Thanks!
QuestionIn school, I can't talk to my peers. Not that I don't want to start a conversation, but I just can't. What do I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIn advance, try to think of topics you might have in common, such as current music, movies, TV shows, etc. Then begin a conversation by asking a question. Asking someone's opinion on something can be a good way of beginning, as it indicates that you are interested in their views.Thanks!
Whenever I try to ask a question, my stomach starts to churn and I can't get my words out . How can I fix this?
- Your body language sends and receives messages, just by how you sit, hold yourself, smile and how others do these same. Body language includes facial expressions as well as positioning and tension within the body.
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