“We human beings are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others’ actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others’ activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others.” ~ Dalai Lamahttps://www.azquotes.com
An active social life is integral to our happiness and wellbeing. Nonetheless, socializing is not easy or enjoyable for everyone. If you are the kind of person who rarely makes eye contact, avoids crowds, gets nervous around strangers, and always has an excuse to turn down invites to social gatherings, you know you’re socially awkward. It’s not that you hate people – you’re just afraid of rejection and not fitting in.
Anxiety is the root cause of social awkwardness, and there are many ways to beat it. Sitting in silence or enjoying some alone time is not a bad thing, as long as it doesn’t become your identity. Cutting yourself off from the rest of the world is not a way to live; loneliness will eat you up inside.
What is a Social Butterfly you ask?
You probably have a friend or few acquaintances who radiate confidence and effortlessly click with every kind of crowd. They are just so good at networking, and it’s like they aren’t even trying. People are drawn to their charisma like a moth to a flame; yes, they are the definition of a social butterfly.
You have certainly envied this kind of person more often than you’d like to admit. Don’t be ashamed if you’ve ever wished that you could be them, even just for a day.
Luckily, the ability to socialize is not something a person is born with. You can grow out of your social awkwardness and become a social butterfly with the right mindset. Here’s what you need to do to begin the transformation today:
1. Stop Labelling Yourself
You may call yourself an introvert and presume that lacking in social skills is just part of who you are. In reality, social awkwardness has nothing to do with being an introvert; extroverted people can be socially awkward too. Introverts keep socializing to a minimum by choice, not because they’re bad at it.
Some people hide behind conservative family values and some convince themselves that there is nothing they can do about social anxiety. We label ourselves and let it define us; some of us wear that label for eternity, even though we possess the freedom and power to accomplish anything we desire.
2. Don’t judge a Book by its Cover
Socially awkward people are afraid to approach others because they assume the worst in everything. If they’re stuck in an elevator with a stranger, they might imagine him/her being a serial killer. If someone has dyed their hair a vibrant color like orange or lime green, they’ll call them naïve or unprofessional.
If a guy has a tattoo, he’s uncultured or unemployed. If a girl wears a lot of makeup and perfume every day, she has a suspicious character. If you chase off these irrational assumptions and give people a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised and end up with a bunch of awesome friends for life.
3. Be Mindful
We are slaves to a mind full of intrusive and bizarre thoughts. Socially awkward people overthink, which is why they stutter or stammer when it’s time to speak up. They’re continuously reliving prior experiences in their head and expecting the past to repeat itself.
If you’re always thinking about ‘what ifs’ then you’ll never be able to seize the moment. To be mindful, you have to concentrate on the present and forget everything else. The people around you represent several opportunities and possibilities, so you should approach them with a clear and open mind.
4. Take Risks and Experiment
The future is unknown, and your actions inevitably have an impact upon it. If you never take risks or try something new, your life and personality will become stagnant. It is true that the outcome of taking a risk and experimenting with something unfamiliar could be unpleasant; on the contrary, it could also be amazing and worthwhile.
It helps to be a bit optimistic, look at the bright side, and consider all the possible positive consequences. What’s the worst that could happen anyway? At least, you won’t have any regrets for missing out or not even trying.
5. Allow and accept Change
You’re socially awkward because you don’t break old patterns and habits. If you’ve imagined being someone depicting a social butterfly, it is proof that you have it in you. You make up so many witty conversations in your mind, but you never say anything out loud.
You’ve thought about trying something different like getting a new haircut or updating your wardrobe, but then you change your mind because you fear how others will perceive that development. You have to learn to trust your instincts and stop caring about opinions of people who don’t matter.
6. Feed your Curiosity
Human beings are naturally inquisitive; if you suppress the craving for knowledge, you inhibit personal growth and refinement. It is important to ask questions, strive to find answers, and indulge in first-hand experiences.
Ignorance can be bliss, but choosing not to know immerses you into oblivion. There are millions of fascinating people and things around you; it’s a pity to enclose yourself in a virtual box and refuse to discover what lies beneath the surface.
7. Observe and Validate
If you don’t know what to say to a person or how to start a conversation, start by observing them. For instance, if they are wearing a Spiderman T-shirt, you could try talking about Marvel movies. You can get several hints about what a person is like or the kind of hobbies they are into at face value.
If you are good at perceiving emotions, you could also guess a person’s weaknesses or insecurities by studying them closely. Every human being needs appreciation and validation, thus giving that is one way to get in their good books.
8. Don’t fake it (You do You)
Do not laugh at jokes you don’t get and don’t pretend to be someone else in the hopes of gaining somebody’s approval. If you’re mingling with a new group of people, they probably have several inside jokes you have no clue about. If you play along and act like you understand them, they can tell that you are faking it.
Telling one lie can cost you big time, as you’ll have to follow up with a thousand more to keep up the act. Be genuine, be real. If an individual or group doesn’t like you for who you are, ditch and move on; you’ll eventually come across the right crowd.
9. Turn Negativity into Constructive Criticism
It’s a universal fact that not all people you encounter will like you or even be nice to you. Some will praise you, some will taunt you, some will encourage you, some will try to drag you down – that’s life and you have to deal with it. Let’s be honest, there are certain people you absolutely despise for one or more reasons. The thing is that personalities clash and point of views vary, which is why you cannot get along with everyone.
If someone shares a negative opinion about you, take it as constructive criticism rather than getting angry, offended, or hurt. Their revelation might have a grain of truth, so contemplate and work on self-improvement. People who swallow reproach with a smile on their face and possess the courage to laugh at themselves are social gurus.
10. Read the Room
It is imperative to interpret the mood or emotions of people before you say something. A joke that sounds good to you in your head might come across as offensive or inappropriate to others. If the crowd around you is displeased about something, you can resort to complaining with them rather than introducing humor that is irrelevant to the situation.
If everyone around you seems to be cheerful, refrain from bringing up something grim or depressing. A bit of scrutiny and empathy is all it takes to enrich your social interactions.
Elijah Cole is the founder of The Witty Minds blog and a professional content creator. His expertise lies in creative writing and lifestyle blogging. At Witty Minds, he is the lead writer, editor, and publisher of all original content.