Learn How to Be More Social and Confident:
You may have been struck by the feeling that others are more sociable than you. Many of us feel that people around us lead much more fun, rich lives, and participate in more social activities than we do.
The fact is, everyone is social. Humans are a social species. Your social ability, like all abilities, can be trained. And there are several ways to train it.
Focus On Yourself
As a first step, focus on yourself for a moment. A condition of bettering your social abilities is that you are content with yourself.
Often, we are so focused on bettering ourselves that we forget to praise and reward ourselves for all the things we are already are doing well.
Here is an exercise to help you focus on what you are doing awesomely already, to help you focus on what’s positive.
Ask yourself the following:
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If you are uncomfortable approaching people, it is now time to step out of your comfort zone and start interacting with others regularly. This applies at home, in school, and at work.
Talk to people you meet: the barista, the cashier, colleagues. Just a few words here and there. Don’t say ‘No’ to social activities, if possible – always say ‘Yes’.
To feel seen and be included in social settings will give your brain a rewarding kick, which in turn will incentivize you to behave more socially. By doing so, you will enter a positive spiral of social interaction and rewards.
Exercise: Talk to someone you otherwise wouldn’t
For this exercise, you will practice talking to someone you normally wouldn’t talk to. You will discover that there are plenty of opportunities to do this every day.
It could be with the janitor at your work, a neighbor in the elevator, or a stranger walking the dog.
It could be anyone. It doesn’t need to be a long conversation. A short ‘Hi’, or briefly commenting on the weather, could be enough. Observe how you feel before and after the conversation. Did either of you smile?
Do this exercise every day for seven days to feel strengthened in your social ability.
Use Your Imagination
What do we mean by ‘Use Your Imagination’?
Well, by using your empathic ability to sense the perceptions, feeling, and reactions of others, you will be able to function better socially with them.
If you beforehand think about how your message will be received, you might change it to create better conditions for a healthy relationship.
Another good way is to listen more than you talk, which makes it easier for you to comprehend what someone else is saying and understand where they are coming from.
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Have you ever thought about what makes some groups function efficiently, while others are completely dysfunctional? Have you seen how the group dynamics from family-to-family differ?
Do you want to be the one that makes the group function better? It’s not as hard as it might seem, but it requires some reflection.
Research clearly shows that we as individuals are created to function in groups. We all have that ability within us and when we enter a well-functioning group, we don’t want to leave it.
Create Conditions For Contact
Create conditions for gentle physical contact within your group.
A very simple way to establish such contact is by using a light touch. Gently touching a shoulder together with a smile or an encouraging comment can do wonders!
It just takes a second or two to do this but by adding the touch (in a non-offensive way, of course), you can make the effect of what you are saying twice as strong upon the person you are communicating with.
Exercise: Contact Touch
This exercise will train your ability to use physical contact to strengthen relationships in a group you are spending time with or want to create a relationship with. it could be a group of friends, your family, or a project group at your work.
The key is to use light and passing touches on neutral body surfaces such as shoulder, upper arm, or the upper part of the back, preferably in combination with a greeting, praise, or question.
Bear in mind that people are different. It’s up to you to decide which people you want to touch. When in doubt, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
Often, this type of neutral touching is much more appreciated than you might expect.
By doing this exercise daily for seven days, you will be able to strengthen the social bonds around you, towards friends, family, and colleagues.
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Use Your Mirror
We all have a special mirror in the brain that makes us identify with the person we are spending time with. This can be seen in body language and empathic feelings.
If you are using a body language similar to that of your colleagues, you are telling them: “I’m with you guys, I’m on your side”.
Your inner mirror could also help you understand how to predict what people are thinking and how they will act in certain situations. This is something we do automatically, but we can also train this ability.
Stop for a second and think about how the group (such as your family) will react to what you are proposing. Maybe there is an alternative way to communicate that will work better?
It might sound dull to step back at times, But it’s an efficient method for maintaining good social relationships going forward.
By constraining your spontaneous reactions at times, and instead of following the wishes of your friends or the working group, you will foster a stronger bond with the group you are part of, and make yourself a more integral part of it.
Let’s say that you are not too keen about going to the beach, as the rest of your family wants because you would like to go to the shopping mall instead. Your family relationships might benefit from going to the beach anyway, and you could still maybe have wishes fulfilled later in the day, thus creating a win-win situation.
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