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10 Ways to Become More Approachable

10 Ways to Become More Approachable

It’s important to make an effort to be approachable for a number of reasons – including the fact that it will help us have a successful career, be more likable and help people feel comfortable around us. In short, life is easier and more fun when we are welcoming and approachable. With that in mind, it makes sense to become more conscious and aware of ways to make people feel at ease around us.

This process is a long but worthwhile journey, but here are some ways to get started. 10 ways to become more approachable:

1. Make eye contact and smile.

According to SocialPro, smiling all the time can come off as insincere or be subconsciously picked up as covering up nervousness – instead, they suggest making a concerted effort to smile when:

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  • You’ve just met a new person.
  • Whenever the other person is smiling.
  • They are telling a joke, or the story they’re telling indicates something amusing.
  • When you’re about to take off.
  • Making eye contact makes other people way more likely to approach you.

2. Use open body posture.

WikiHow suggests that an open body posture is one of the ultimate ways to seem more approachable to other people and make them feel comfortable. If you’re not quite clear on what that looks like, be intentional about:

  • Keeping your shoulders up and not slouching.
  • Leaning back slightly when sitting.
  • Have your hands down and at your side, avoiding crossed arms or putting your hands in your pockets.

3. Put away things that cover your face or distractions like your phone.

Being on your phone or covering up your face, whether it be with a hat or with your hands, sends an instinctive message to people that could consider talking with you. It might be comforting to always be on your phone, but it won’t make you more approachable.

4. Take a deep interest in things that other people are into.

In situations like a workplace, taking a strong interest in the types of hobbies people enjoy or what they did this weekend, makes it more likely that people will open up to you, and consider you their friend. It’s just the nature of our minds that we start to enjoy the company of someone who listens. If you make a concerted effort to listen and bring up things someone has said they were interested in before, they will naturally gravitate towards you.

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5. Ask 3 Questions for every one statement about yourself that you make.

An easy way to try to remember to listen more is to ask 3 questions before talking about something you’re very into.

  • Don’t only talk about the other person – just make an effort to let the conversation be about what they are into more often.
  • When you do get a chance to talk about something you’re passionate about, be sure to not dominate the conversation but find creative ways to work the other person into the conversation and pivot back to their subjects.

6. Try new things like traveling to different areas or countries.

According to France Student Travel, “nothing breaks people out of a certain kind of small thinking and closed off behavior like getting out and seeing other cultures.”

It’s hard to deny that whether you’re from Texas and get a chance to go to California or you’re able to take a class trip to France, immersing yourself fully in a different culture is an incredible way to become more open and welcoming to different points of view.

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7. Make an effort to attempt one new activity you haven’t tried every month.

Besides traveling – become a tourist in your own city and have new and exciting things to talk about with the people you meet by challenging yourself to try one new activity for every 30 day period. It doesn’t have to be skydiving! Visit a new apple orchard, walk around the whole city, or hit up that super iconic area that you just haven’t got to yet even though out-of-towners love it.

8. Try to see things from an outside perspective and study other cultures viewpoints.

New ways of life, philosophies, and points of view are less scary when we really take the time to read up on them, watch documentaries and put ourselves out there and are welcoming to people who espouse these ideas. If we make an effort to welcome new cultural viewpoints, we make ourselves significantly more approachable on the outside too – people can sense if you are open to new ideas and ways of life.

9. Expect new people to find you and want to start conversations.

“The biggest thing we can do to help people feel comfortable around us – is to truly be comfortable with ourselves,” says Spenser Baldwin of Omaha SEO.

By expecting that people will want to talk to us, and allowing ourselves that confidence we start to mentally prepare and make our whole approach more accommodating for others.

10.Become very self-aware and ask people close to you what you’re strengths and weaknesses are.

By liking yourself more, and knowing your strengths, you make people feel comfortable being around you because being self-aware puts you more at ease. Knowing your weaknesses is important too – if we know that ‘not asking questions’ or having a closed off body posture is a weakness of ours, we can make an effort to correct it.

Always focus more on your strengths, but don’t be blind to what you can do better on, and think of those things as an opportunity to sharpen your skills of making other people more comfortable.

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Featured photo credit: PicJumbo via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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