Regardless of your position in life, if you invest time learning how to improve your social skills, you will feel more alive and passionate. This is virtually certain, all you need is the desire to improve.
Some of us, on the other hand, need to improve social skills more than others.
Maybe you’re uncomfortable in social situations because of your shyness, anxiety, or lack of confidence. You find it difficult to engage in small talk and leave a positive first impression on others. You’re lonely and cut off, or you only have a few acquaintances and want more substantial personal connections. Perhaps, all of the above applies to your life.
Sometimes we feel like somehow we missed out on learning some unwritten social rules that everyone else has learned – leaving us behind. We start to believe our overall communication skills are suspect, or that we suck at reading body language.
You’re not alone if you have these social issues. You may feel like an oddball among a sea of individuals, but many of us are facing the same challenges.
The good news is that these social issues are solvable and developing social skills is not rocket science. The label of “late bloomer” has merit because many of us learn the most important of life’s lessons as an adult. During our childhood, many of us were introverted or lonely for a time before we discover how to interact with others and overcame our shyness or isolation. You can do the same by improving social skills as an adult.
You will always have the ability to practice and improve your communication skills. You can learn a technique for meeting people, maintaining eye contact, and developing your social life. Even if some aspects of socializing aren’t in your wheelhouse. You’ll just have to put in a little more effort than most; you’re not hopeless because of anything in your situation.
The objective of this post is to offer you some methods for being more sociable and improving social skills in whichever manner works best for you, whether it’s partying with a dozen casual acquaintances or keeping to oneself except to occasionally socialize with a few close pals.
Never forget that life is a blank canvas – so we should create things that make us happy, and developing social skills is part of that painting.
Three social issues and activities that have the most impact
The most efficient way to improve any situation is by solving the most pressing problems at hand. And learning how to have better social skills is no different.
There are three areas most of us should consider when evaluating our social skill levels. If you notice, each of them represents a higher level of social involvement with other people. Each of them is somewhat broad and has elements within them that can be addressed. Let’s look at them:
Shyness and social anxiety
Dealing with shyness and social anxiety can be difficult, but there are things that we can do to improve our social skills. There are many resources available to help us learn how to deal with these issues. We can also find support from family and friends. With a little effort, we can improve our social skills, be more aware of body language (our own, as well as others), and become more confident in ourselves.
We can start overcoming our shyness by slowly exposing ourselves to social situations. This can be done by attending small gatherings, meeting new people, or even going to a crowded place. By doing this, we will slowly get used to being in social situations and become more comfortable in them. You will discover that small things, like smiling and maintaining eye contact will go a long way in achieving your social goals.
In addition to slowly exposing ourselves to social situations, we can also try to engage in activities that we enjoy. Doing things that we are interested in will make us feel more relaxed and confident. When we feel good about ourselves, it is easier to interact with others. We can also join groups or clubs that align with our interests. This way, we can meet new people who share our interests.
Oftentimes, shyness and social anxiety stem from a fear of judgment. We may feel like we are being judged by others and that we are not good enough. To overcome this, we need to remind ourselves that everyone is different and that there is no such thing as a “perfect” person. We should also try to be accepting of others and not judge them. By doing this, we can start to accept ourselves more too.
Lastly, it is important to seek professional help if our shyness and social anxiety are really impacting our lives in a negative way. A therapist can help us understand our emotions and thoughts better. They can also teach us specific techniques to deal with our shyness and social anxiety. If you feel like you need help, do not hesitate to reach out to a professional.
Talking with other people
Making conversation with others can seem daunting, but it’s a skill that can be learned by anyone. Here are a few tips to help get you started.
1. Find common ground: When you’re talking to someone, try to find something that you have in common. This can be anything from a shared interest to a recent experience.
2. Ask questions: Asking questions is a great way to keep a conversation going. If you’re not sure what to say, ask the other person about their day or what they like to do in their free time.
3. Be an active listener: Pay attention to what the other person is saying and respond accordingly. Showing that you’re interested in the conversation will encourage the other person to keep talking.
4. Keep it light: Avoid sensitive topics or anything that might make the other person feel uncomfortable. Instead, stick to light and easy conversation starters.
5. Be interested: Listen to what the other person has to say, and ask follow-up questions. Showing genuine interest in the other person will make them feel more comfortable and likely to keep talking.
6. Be yourself: Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Just relax and have fun with the conversation. The other person will appreciate getting to know the real you.
New friends and relationships
Making friends and forging new relations is something that we all can do. The key to making conversation is to be interested and interesting. People like talking about themselves, so ask questions and show a genuine interest in the answers. Also, share things about yourself to keep the conversation flowing.
Yes, we feel vulnerable sharing things about ourselves and committing to others, but the rewards are more than worth the effort.
Here are some tips for making new friends:
1. Join a club or group that interests you.
2. Strike up a conversation with someone in a setting where you’re both comfortable, such as at a party or in the grocery store.
3. Smile and make eye contact when you meet someone new.
4. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself.
5. Ask questions and listen actively to the answers.
6. Share things about yourself that are interesting or unique.
7. Follow up after meetings and get-togethers to keep the friendship going strong.
Your mindset and attitude are the most important aspect of creating new relationships. Muster up some courage in putting yourself out there and realize how much fun you are going to have!
Deciding which social skills to address and which to leave alone
In your quest of learning how to have good social skills, it needs to be done in the right way. While this statement might sound like a given, in reality, what sometimes happens to people is that they set themselves up to fail.
They go after social challenges and situations that are pretty much impossible for their skill level and then beat themselves up for coming up short. So they needlessly decide not to participate when all they’ve needed was a tiny adjustment in their approach.
To begin with, it’s important to understand that there are certain things about our personality that go against the ‘social norm,’ but are perfectly acceptable. But somewhere along the way, we’ve been brainwashed to think they are evil and need to be changed.
It’s not unusual for an overbearing parent or a highly opinionated friend to convince you of this over a prolonged period of time. Here are some perfect examples of acceptable traits that go against the social norm:
- Having an introverted personality
- Enjoys spending time alone
- Not wanting lots of friends
- Picky about who you befriend
- Prefers shorter amounts of time for socializing
- Not interested in attending rowdy parties or get-togethers
- More content with laying back and listening, rather than attracting attention
- Prefer conversations that have lots of substance
- Has a unique personality
- Has unique interests and beliefs
- tendency to get drained by
Keep in mind that these are only a few examples, there are countless more out there.
The important thing here is accepting who you really are. In my experience, I find many instances where introverted people grow up around extroverted people and are led to believe something is wrong with them.
This is because, generally speaking, extroverted people are less tolerant of introverted people, while introverted people are more tolerant of their outgoing counterparts.
If you’re not sure which one you are, here are a few simple questions that usually clarify it – once and for all. After a social gathering, do you feel drained of energy, or are you energized?
Introverted people are drained by social events, while extroverted people get more energy from them.
Thus, we need to ensure that our social ‘flaw’ is truly a flaw, and not someone’s biased opinion.
Realizing your social skills don’t need to be perfect
Even though they’re a little shy and insecure, there are many people across the world who enjoy active social lives. Many of them have a lot of communication difficulties or don’t have many fascinating interests, and they even have a few irritating personality quirks.
Even the most magnetic personalities make terrible jokes or have their invites rejected. You don’t need to 100% perfect every social skill in the book all the time, and you don’t have to get everyone on this planet to like you.
All you have to do is be good enough to get by and have friends who accept you for who you are. You don’t need everything about your relationships to go smoothly. All you need are a sufficient number of them to work out so that you can satisfy your social objectives.
Consider it this way: inviting ten people to hang out with you and only three of them accept, but they go on to become great pals, is a victory.
The importance of practicing your social skills
Social skills, like any other set of abilities, can be developed. Reading advice may provide you a sense of what you need to improve and help the learning process go more smoothly, but in the end, it’s up to you to put in the hard work.
Some individuals believe that interpersonal skills can be quickly developed through the use of a certain trick, insight, psychology “hack,” or confidence booster. They may believe that since social skills are non-physical and routine, they are not worth learning. We all intuitively know that learning complex physical talents, such as skiing or painting, requires time.
Furthermore, many individuals have discovered that interacting with others was simpler when they were temporarily more confident than usual. As a result, they believe that there must be a method to be extra-confident all of the time. However, though you may momentarily attain a degree of confidence that is unusual, there is no way to command or keep it in place for life. There are no shortcuts. If they existed, they would be well-known secrets, and articles like this wouldn’t be necessary.
How to improve social skills passively
It is possible to indirectly help improve your social skills by becoming a more well-rounded, interesting, and knowledgeable individual.
Imagine that you spent three months doing nothing to practice your social skills other than traveling, listening to new music, and learning how to mountain bike. Many social interactions would go much more smoothly for you at the end of those three months. You’d have a lot more to talk about and relate to others about, and if you ended up in a conversation with a traveler, cyclist, or music fan, you’d really notice the difference.
The difficulties of traveling and learning to mountain bike would have boosted your overall self-esteem or perhaps encouraged you to be more fun and daring. If you’re relaxed and have a great time, the memories may have some value and pique people’s interests so that they can learn more about them.
That isn’t to say that if you acquire a lot of new interests, you’ll be able to get out of the direct practice requirement. It really doesn’t work like that.
What to expect as you improve social skills
The process of overcoming your social issues can be divided into two phases: a more difficult initial stage and a less difficult later phase. As you improve your social skills and exercise them, practicing them becomes easier and more encouraging, and you feel as though the worst is behind you—success is just a matter of time if you keep to the course.
As you get further from your former life, your emotions may fluctuate. Whatever happens, you’ll read too much into it. You’ll be overjoyed if you have a good day and think you’ve turned a corner when in reality nothing has changed. You’ll believe you’re hopeless and that you’ll never improve your social abilities if something goes wrong on an average day.
You’ll learn to stop flapping your gums with more practice and a few more victories. You’ll also understand that even if you have a few rocky connections, your development is still rising; you just need to keep working hard. Keeping track of your progress is one way to maintain perspective. You may use it as an objective reminder that you’re making positive changes.