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5 Ways to Start Building Social Confidence Today

5 Ways to Start Building Social Confidence Today

Why are you so shy?
Why are you so quiet?
Why are you so emotional?
Are you upset?

Do people ask you those questions all the time? If the answer is yes, please keep reading, because I am going to change your life.

From experience, I have been asked those questions a lot. I was a very shy guy in the past, as I have no idea how to open up to people. Talking to strangers was like seeing Jesus and Allah at the same time—I was always at a loss of words.

I felt nervous. I felt like I might say something stupid, so I didn’t speak. I also felt that I should always say something that sounded smart or funny so that I’d please other people. But then I changed.

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These tips are not just about being sociable. They can change your whole life in every aspect; they can make you a more confident person, an attractive person, a better leader, a better entrepreneur, and more, because it just keeps getting better once you are socially confident or confident in general. These are the important tips which changed my life and can change your life by helping you transform from being a shy person to a socially confident person.

1. Improve yourself in all aspects to build your overall confidence.

The whole idea is simple: just become a better version of yourself. You need to achieve more, become better or do anything that will make you proud of yourself. Confidence is something you have to build over time. It is built through hard work. You can start working out and have a better physique. You can take up dance lessons. You can start earning more money. You can do all kind of things which you think will make you more socially accepted. Confidence typically comes from acceptance by society. To be accepted by society, you will have to provide value.

Anything can be of value. For example: love, money or anything that is deemed to be worthy to others. Having a good physique makes you attractive and attraction is a kind of value. Being funny makes other people laugh, so that is value as well. So, the key is to improve yourself so that you can provide value which will be socially accepted. Acceptance is what will help you become confident gradually.

Just imagine a rich, good-looking guy with a nice physique; what are the chances of him being a person who has low self esteem? It’s more about the mindset and attitude! So, just remember: provide value. The world is harsh. Everyone only cares about people who can be of value to them.

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2. Stop taking yourself so seriously.

If you are shy, chances are, you are taking yourself too seriously. Ask yourself: are you always feeling offended by little things, or do you feel the need to defend yourself when someone says something negative about you? If yes, you need to chill. You need to know that there are some things in the world, such as others’ opinions, that you cannot control.

Of course, I am not telling you to be ignorant and continue being idiotic, if you are. However, usually when people tease you, they are just making a joke. Even if they are laughing at you, they probably don’t really mean to hurt you. They just want a laugh. That’s all. There will always be jerks or toxic people, but if you truly do not take yourself seriously, you won’t be affected by them that much. Trust me. I have been there, and I am here now.

The trick here is to just start by laughing it off. Chances are, you are not going to be really laughing genuinely at first. You are probably taking others’ words seriously due to insecurities. So, build your confidence and in the meantime, practice laughing at everything! I am not telling you to laugh at every thing you see—you definitely need to know when it is the right place and time. For example, laugh when someone makes fun of your age group. Whether or not they are right doesn’t matter—they’re probably just joking.

And even if they mean it, you have to learn to accept yourself for who you are and keep improving yourself; then you will be free from your insecurities eventually. And if your close friend’s mother just passed away or if someone is being very serious with you, please do not laugh! You’ll be able to understand when it is appropriate—I believe shy people are generally smart people.

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3. Stop judging what you say.

Are you someone who always feel that you have nothing to say? Do this one little thing: stop filtering what you say. Just say whatever is on your mind. Do not judge what you say negatively! Remember this: if you frequently judge your own words as rubbish and assume that no one will like what you say, you are disillusioned by your own thoughts. Say whatever you feel like saying. It’s not about what you do; it’s about why you do what you do.

This can be applied to what you say as well. For example, during a conversation about September 11, you could say something like “my dog passed away last year.” Is that relevant? Maybe. Is that stupid? Maybe. But it’s really okay to say stupid stuff. Applying the theory of “it’s about why you say what you say,” people might become interested in why you are saying those things, whether they are weird or not.

Every word you say is of value. You might feel stupid at first, but slowly, you will begin to stop judging yourself and say things more confidently. People may even find what you have to say funny and grow to love you! People generally like others who open up to them. They will feel that you aren’t hiding anything from them, and they will feel a sense of closeness with you when you open up to them. You will feel more comfortable speaking to them too! Just remember: don’t filter and judge what you say; you will see the greatest difference in your social confidence over time!

4. Don’t give a sh*t about anything!

This is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever gotten. It is a combination of both the second and third point. In order to not give a crap about anything, you need to have the attitude that you’ve got nothing to lose. And that is true. Life is full of uncertainties. Things just come and go. Keep in mind, though, that it is important that you don’t just throw your life away. You need to have your own priorities! For example, my priorities are my relationships, my health, and my money. I will cherish the things I prioritize, and I do my best to never let them go.

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When it comes to everything else, I don’t give a crap! When you care less, since you know you’ve got nothing to lose, you feel more relaxed. You take things that are not priorities less seriously. When you do that, you have fewer insecurities, because even if you suck at some things, you don’t really feel ashamed because you just really don’t give a crap about those things!

Focus on building what you prioritize, and stop caring so much about other minor things. You will feel happier and more confident. Then, you can communicate much better as well because you feel that you are free from insecurities, you are more open to all kinds of conversations—even those you might have found offensive in the past. You actually magically and slowly become free from shyness and have a state of mind which allows you to socialize so easily!

5. Practice. Practice more.

You may know the theories, but you need to apply them! Applying them basically comes down to just putting yourself in many social situations. Take part in events where you have to socialize; start smiling at strangers; talk to random strangers; go to clubs and talk to random people. Step out of your comfort zone and test your limits. You will get better and better when you keep doing it! It’s perfectly fine to fail at first. All you have to do is to take the first step; it could be just starting to talk to your dog at first if you are majorly shy! I am not even joking—it probably helps.

You could also try spending a few minutes every day and make yourself talk about a particular thing, anything, continuously. This is an exercise to stop you from filtering your words. Also, you can try this trick: get slightly intoxicated. You know how you open up more when intoxicated? You tend to be more relaxed, filter less, have more guts to speak whatever is in your mind, right? Do that, and remember how you feel when you are sober, then apply it. It is not easy. You’ve got to take note of your state of mind when you are under the influence; maybe try to write it down the reasons why you have so much confidence suddenly when you are drunk, and review it again when you are sober. You probably have to repeat that many times because it is trial and error. Once you get it, you will have level 1000 social confidence!

Give yourself time. It depends on your starting point. Some may take a few months, some may take a year, or a few years. I have been shy since I was very young and all throughout high school. Then I decided to change, and it probably took me a few years to become much more socially confident. I still have a lot to learn and improve on. Believe in yourself and take action to make a change. You will be surprised at how you are starting to live your life finally!

Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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