Awkward moments always happen.
Imagine you are in a party with a bunch of people that you barely know. You try to start a conversation to break the silence.
You: Hi. How are you?
She: Doing well. You?
Then the awkward silence appears.
It is embarrassing, like an actor forgetting his lines on stage. Most of the time, you probably have some words in mind but you’re just afraid of saying them because you’re over-thinking. Will she get the joke? Will she feel bored? Will she think that I act like a fool?
Over-thinking never helps
Whenever we meet someone new, we always try to leave a good impression. That’s why we think so much while talking to those people we don’t know well. Since we have little information about them, the only way that we might be able to impress them is trying to recall the funniest joke, find the most unique story, and search for the most interesting topic that people would echo.
But the anxiety doesn’t stop here. After saying the perfect lines, we doubt if people like it or not, and wonder how they think about us. We’re desperate to get cues from their every gesture and every word they say. If they don’t actually like what we have previously said, the anxiety builds up and we have to search for some other lines again. The loop never ends, until either one walks away.
There is nothing wrong about seeking acceptance in social interactions but over-thinking always makes you behave in a stiff and unnatural manner. The weirdness of acting stiffly while talking to strangers can only be cured when you stop over-thinking.
Distract yourself from the gesture of the person
Instead of paying full attention to the facial expressions or body languages of the person, you can shift your attention to something else.
It is normal that we would try to find out whether people are impressed by what we say. We look at their facial expressions to see if they agree with what we say; we look at their body languages to know if they are interested in the topic we share. But staring at them with these questions in mind would sometimes make people feel uncomfortable and also make yourself more nervous.
You can simply shift your attention to something else, such as the their outfits and the surrounding environment. This might not only make you less nervous and over-think less but also provides materials for conversations. You might appreciate the beautiful outfits they are wearing or ask about the songs the band is playing. This allows you to relax yourself and act as if you are talking to a friend of yours.
Abandon the thought that you need to put on a certain persona
There are certain personas that would make you an impressive person in front of a bunch of strangers but pretending to be who you aren’t only makes the situation more awkward.
It is not hard to imagine that in a party, the most charismatic people are the ones who share endless interesting stories and tell innumerable jokes. However, if you are not that kind of people, don’t pretend to be. You can’t act like an extrovert when you’re an introvert. This only makes you feel uncomfortable with the whole situation and you will only get more and more anxious.
Embrace your uniqueness in every moment. People who want a business partner are looking for someone with honesty; those who want a true friend are looking for someone with sincerity; the ones who want a lifelong lover are looking for someone with uniqueness. You can’t please everyone so abandon the thought of being some kind of person, and be who you really are.
Exercise before you champion the skill
It will take practice. Don’t be afraid of moving one step forward at first. It is likely that you will be rejected on certain occasions but it doesn’t mean you’re going to fail next time. No one is naturally born with social skills. Everyone takes time to learn.
Someday you will find that yourself being able to talk to strangers with any difficulties. And the awkwardness will soon disappear.