5 Easy Ways to Master Your Social Skills
People who aren’t good at socializing usually find ways to back out of it whenever a possible social event occurs. If they’re at home on a Friday night, they make up an excuse to not go out. If they’re walking down the street and see someone they want to talk to, they automatically assume they’re not interesting enough to hold a conversation. Whether you struggle with coming up with anything good to say or have approach anxiety, if your social skills suck, here are some effective tips.
1. Speak to Yourself Before You Speak to Anyone
Part of the issue with speaking to anyone is assuming you have nothing interesting to say. Besides the usual “hi” or “how are you”, you can’t see what could possibly happen beyond those words.
You then come up with the assumption you won’t be interesting enough to carry out a conversation and appear boring. However, part of the reason is because you don’t give yourself enough credit. Inside your mind is a collection of conversations waiting to unleash themselves.
You have conversation topics that you spoke with your parents about. You have conversation topics you spoke to your friends about. Before you enter any situation, imagine yourself approaching someone and what you could say.
Would you like to mention anything about the environment? Are there any uncommon characteristics you see at the event? If it helps, create a self-dialogue in your head where you play as a character in a book or movie. Picture what your questions are and what the other person’s possible responses would be.
Do you know any jokes? Or maybe you recently read an interesting article? Share whatever you recently came across and add some enthusiasm into your voice. Although some people can naturally carry out a conversation with a simple, “Hello”, others need a pre-game strategy before they do it.
2. Learn to Laugh
Laughing is contagious. You hear someone laugh and you’re tempted to laugh along even if you don’t get the joke. A way to use this to your advantage during a conversation is to smile and give light laughters whenever you sense a joke from the other person.
Don’t be afraid to tell someone a joke to act as an ice breaker, and connect with them by being entertained by their sense of humor. Whether you’re the giver or the receiver, laughter connects humans together in the personal sense.
3. Have nothing to say? Become a Detective
Suppose you had nothing interesting to say. Or maybe you just can’t think of a single story that anyone would like. No worries. Even if you have nothing to talk about, the one thing people love talking about is themselves. They love telling people about their wildest experiences, what they ate that day, and every emotion that bothered them.
Ask simple questions and genuinely try to understand the person you’re speaking to. If you’re at a social event, one of the first questions you can ask someone is why they’re there. You can ask them if they heard anything happening on the news. You can ask someone if they ever traveled before. The questions are endless.
Point is, throughout the conversation as the other person tells you their life story, reveal small bits of your life that’s similar to theirs. If they say they went to Harvard and you did too, share that with them. If someone says they like a TV show you love, tell that to them.
4. Your mind went blank? Return to the past
You ran out of things to say? You notice that awkward silence begin to rise? Before you freak out and hit your head at the nearest wall, think back on what was said earlier. Chances are, the other person said a few things about themselves but didn’t go too deep into them.
For instance, when someone I spoke to briefly mentioned about their trip to Europe at the beginning of our conversation, I used that topic to end the awkward silence and asked them about their experience. I asked questions about how it impacted their life and if they would do it again.
Common questions that can save you later on in the conversation are where they’re from or their personal hobbies. You want to ask them questions that won’t end with one word responses. Ask questions that connects with someone’s emotion and past.
5. Are you confident? Who cares when you got this:
People suffer with approach anxiety because they’re afraid of failure. They’re afraid to make themselves look bad in front of a possible companion or friend. They’re afraid to make themselves look incompetent and a loser. And that fear usually prevents them from wanting to socialize.
Part of getting rid of social anxiety is to learn how to be confident before you approach anyone. But it’s easier said than done. So before you approach anyone, calm down, slow your breathing by taking deep breaths and use a strong voice. And if that little bit of advice didn’t help, accept the fact you’re not perfect. I know. It sounds redundant by saying you need to drop perfectionism to be confident, so let me expand this topic.
Part of the reason you freak out at the idea of approaching anyone is because you already expect a great a conversation to happen. You already expect yourself to be that person someone can’t get enough of after a conversation. And whenever you don’t meet those expectations, your pride and self-esteem are lowered because you were wrong.
Thus, part of the confident game is just enjoying the process itself. It’s not trying to make a friend out of every person you speak to. It’s gaining the experience of speaking to another human being.
If you fail at an interaction with someone, try to feel disappointed rather than desolate. With disappointment comes a birth of knowledge on what to do and what not to do. Acknowledge your failures but don’t rate yourself because of them. If you approach a social situation with achievement possibilities, you will perform better than if assumed you must succeed or else you’re not good enough.
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