It’s time to ditch the social awkwardness so you can focus on having a good time and achieve more socially.
Most socially anxious people will avoid social and business gatherings, like parties, weddings and meetings, like the plague.
I know I used to.
I spent years trying to mask how I really felt in social situations by hiding my gut-wrenching lack of confidence with pointless head nodding and fake smiling.
I think I got away with it.
But it’s no good just getting away with social unconfidence using fakery.
Fakery is just a mask used to cover up how we really feel. Eventually, the faking catches up with us, the mask falls off, and we have nowhere left to hide.
Seeing friends, social gatherings and business events – and basically having a good time – shouldn’t be destroyed by a lack of confidence. Especially when you consider that confidence is a skill that anyone can grow.
And that includes social confidence.
Knowing that you can grow the skill of social confidence means you can take a different approach. With practice, you can look to develop your social confidence skills until you reach a point you look forward to seeing people. (Maybe even have a good time.)
Here are six ways to boost your social confidence so you can ditch being shy, meek, socially awkward and anxious.
#1: Ditch the silence
Socially anxious people are quiet. They don’t say much and prefer to stay on the outside of a conversation. This isn’t always the case. Some confident people are thinkers and prefer to listen than talk. But you know the difference. The unconfident, silent and socially anxious type get embarrassed when they’re asked for their opinion, whereas a thinker will give it without delay. A socially anxious person would prefer the floor to swallow them up rather than face the prospect of speaking in public.
Boosting social confidence means speaking out.
However uncomfortable you might feel, get involved in the conversation and get in the habit of speaking out and voicing your opinion. ‘Public speaking’ doesn’t necessarily mean getting on stage. Whenever you’re in public and talking that is public speaking. That means you’re practising public speaking just by speaking with a friend.
Whatever the circumstance or situation, there is no room for complete silence. Keep practising speaking out and voicing your opinion, whether that’s with one friend or in a group of twenty.
#2: Be comfortable in your own skin
Socially confident people are comfortable in their own skin. They know they’re not perfect (because there is no such thing), and embrace and accept their imperfections as much are their strong points. This includes both their looks and personality.
Socially anxious people are constantly looking at themselves in the mirror and worrying about what other people are thinking about them. They focus on their imperfections and, by doing so, convince themselves that they’re not good enough and nobody would ever want them.
Boosting social confidence means the ability to recognise both your imperfections and strong points – and be comfortable with both.
By accepting the fact you’re not perfect you’ll stop striving for perfection. You’ll get instant freedom and immense satisfaction from that. You’ll start to feel more comfortable in your own skin, and that will ooze out of you as self-confidence.
#3: Be forthcoming and say hello
Socially confident people say ‘hi’ first. They introduce themselves without the need to be asked. They are approachable and generous with their attention and time. They know how to use their ears as well as their month, listening intently, taking in every bit of valuable information. They are honest and don’t see value in lying or the need to boast.
Socially anxious people avoid introductions. They flit from one thing to the next without focusing their attention on one specific thing, including conversations. Due to their insecurities, it’s common for a socially anxious person to talk too much, not listen, and exaggerate the truth – to make themselves and their lives sound perfect. Imperfections and insecurities are seen as negatives, rather than something we all have.
Boosting social confidence means introducing yourself first and saying ‘hi’ even in uncomfortable and intimidating social environments.
Be disciplined when it comes to communication, be sure to listen, and make an effort to remember someone’s name – that alone will go a long way. When you are more forthcoming with your attention and time, your ability to influence others will take huge steps. You’ll embrace those imperfections and insecurities and use them to your advantage.
#4: Believe in yourself
Socially confident people know the difference between arrogance and self-belief. They know that they can’t win unless they first believe they can. That’s why they wouldn’t enter a competition unless they know they can win it. This isn’t to say that they are as physically or mentally capable as their competition. Socially confident people know that on many occasions they will be the underdog, but that doesn’t stop them from believing they can win. That’s not arrogance – that is strong self-belief.
Socially anxious people have little self-belief, with insecurity pushing them towards arrogance. Being arrogant makes up for their lack of depth and skill. Underneath the skin their self-image is meek. They have very little confidence in their ability to win and because their belief system is weak a win is a rare occurrence. It’s easier to blame external factors for a loss.
Boosting social confidence means believing you can win, whatever the circumstance.
It means painting a better self-image so you can compete with the best. When you build your self-belief by knowing you can win, minus the arrogance, you will win much more frequently.
#5: Get comfortable with being judged
Socially confident people are comfortable being judged because they understand that being judged will always be part of life – especially if they’re doing things that challenge the status quo. It’s human nature to judge, and confident people know that there will be people in their life (sometimes very close to them) who will try and clip their wings as they try to fly. They don’t take this personally and use criticism as a form of feedback to help them on their journey to achieving their goals. They understand that in the pursuit of their goals they will receive negative judgement as well as positive judgement.
Socially confident people also realise that judging others is no good for them, as it only keeps them in a negative state of mind. They keep their minds sharp and focused by concentrating on what’s important (their goals) and are too busy to get involved in drama and gossip (toxic behaviour).
Boosting social confidence means getting comfortable with being judged.
When you can use both negative and positive feedback to your advantage, don’t lose focus on your goals or get trapped in toxic behaviour, your social confidence will hit an all-time high.
#6: Adapt to your environment
Socially confident people appreciate the crucial need to adapt to their environment. They know that things are constantly changing around them. Unless they keep up with that change, they know they’ll be left behind. The best example of adaptability is in business. Businesses led by socially confident people change and evolve with the times. They embrace new systems and technology because they know putting investment into these things will pay dividends.
Socially unconfident people are scared of change and don’t adapt well to their environment. They believe that things should adapt around them and their values, which results in them being left behind. Rather than tackle a situation they will leave it in the hope that it fixes itself. (It never does.) That’s why businesses led by socially incompetent people stay rooted in the Stone Age.
Boosting social confidence means adapting to your environment and being comfortable with change.
The quickest and simplest route to making this happen is to appreciate everything is change. Nothing stays the same, including you.