Have you ever attended a social gathering and noticed that one socially successful individual who seems to effortlessly flit from group to group? Or maybe you have a coworker who makes networking seem as easy as an elementary school spelling class (which, I admit, may not have been easy for all). Everyone has that friend who introduces themselves first, has no problem meeting new people, and never seems to be uneasy in any social situation. And if you can’t think of anyone who fits these categories, that friend is most likely you. Congratulations!
In any case, no matter where you fall on the spectrum from shy caterpillar to social butterfly, everyone can integrate these secrets and tips into their life to make interactions easier and become socially successful. But, as it is with most things in life, these techniques are most effective when put into deliberate practice.
1. Be yourself.
It seems simple, but no one wants to meet a clone, a copy of everyone else. The things that make you different are the very things that make you interesting. People with magnetic personalities are people who are comfortable in their own skin. This doesn’t mean that you should be different just for the sake of it. But if your hobbies and traits are naturally different from those of everyone else, embrace that! People enjoy learning about new things. If your interests are similar to what everyone else likes, then you have found things in common and should embrace that as well.
2. Be genuinely positive.
People with an optimistic view on life are always welcome in any social setting. A smile is never out of style. Having a positive view on topics is contagious and spreads to others, bringing rays of sunshine to the conversation. However, there is a balance. Just as eternal pessimists can be draining, continual optimism can be equally exhausting and seen as fake.
3. Focus on being interested, not interesting.
Many people mistakenly assume that social success comes from having lists of accomplishments to rattle off, amazing adventures to recount, or a plethora of never-failing jokes. But in reality, you can increase interest in yourself simply by increasing how interested you are in the lives and stories of others! People love to talk about themselves, and love having others around who seem to have a genuine interest in their stories.
4. Build others up.
The foundation of you becoming socially successful will always lie in how you treat others. Take care to refrain from gossip and cutting sarcasm when meeting new people, as this may leave a biting impression of you in their minds. Learning how to give a proper compliment also goes a long way. People trust someone who says the same thing about them in front of their face that is said behind their back.
5. Be helpful and dependable.
It seems simple, but if someone needs assistance that you’re able to provide, help them! Giving aid when you’re truly in a position to do so communicates a sincere interest in the welfare of others. Just the thought that you are available when someone may need it is reassuring. However, promises not kept, even those made with good intentions, decrease credibility and trust.
6. Include others.
Going to see the latest movie and only have two people in your car? Have extra tickets to a great upcoming concert? Invite someone who really wants to go or someone from another group of friends. Keeping others in mind, even for simple things like lunch or a movie, lets people know that they are on your mind and that you feel their friendship and company has value. They will undoubtedly return the favor, allowing you to meet new people and remain connected.
7. Don’t forget your manners.
When out and about, remember to introduce yourself! A simple introduction breaks down many of the social nerves and barriers that popular people seem to avoid. And if you have invited friends out with a new group of people, be a good host and make sure to introduce them as well.
8. Step outside of yourself.
Be sure to take moments for purposeful introspection. Evaluate your self-image and what impression you may be leaving on others. Ask friends or others what impression you give off and what things may inadvertently be affecting your social impression. Traits like a lack of eye contact, crossed arms, mumbling, and others may not be easily diagnosed and worked on unless pointed out by someone outside of yourself. Assessing your social skills shows the areas that need more work on your way to becoming comfortable in all social situations.
9. Make eye contact.
Eye contact helps you come across as more engaged, friendly, and confident. Another benefit is that making eye contact forces you to put some of your mental energy into focusing on other people, which means you have less left over to get stuck in your head and think insecure thoughts. Getting comfortable is something that happens over time and not all at once as you manage the balance between staring and affirming eye contact.
10. Learn how to read body language and social cues.
While this may seem like a difficult and expert social tactic, it is one that all those who are socially successful employ. Noticing things like mirrored body language when people are interested, folded arms when people are in disagreement or uncomfortable, or knowing how and when to exit a conversation are all tools that make social interaction much easier and smoother. There are many sites on the internet with information in this category.
In the end, these “secrets” of a social butterfly are great in theory, but only truly effective when put into practice. And although the change does not happen overnight, deliberate effort will complete the metamorphosis from shy caterpillar to social butterfly.
How would you define “socially successful?” Are there any other tips that you have found useful?