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Last Updated on February 5, 2020

12 Ways To Improve Social Skills And Make You Sociable Anytime

12 Ways To Improve Social Skills And Make You Sociable Anytime

If you feel like you’re the awkward person at social events or you struggle to enter into conversations because you’re shy, it can impact your social life and your career.

However, you can start improving your social skills by following these 12 strategies and soon, you’ll be able to enter into conversations with confidence.

1. Behave Like a Social Person

You can behave like a more social creature, even if you don’t feel like it.

Don’t allow anxiety to hold you back. Make the decision to talk to new people and to enter into conversations even when you’re feeling nervous about it.

Over time, it will get easier and you’ll quickly start improving your social skills.

2. Start Small if Necessary

If going to a party or spending time in a crowd seems overwhelming, start small.

Go into the grocery store and say, “Thank you,” to the clerk or go to a restaurant and order your food. Practice making small talk gradually.

3. Ask Open-Ended Questions

If you want the attention off you in a conversation, get familiar with open-ended questions. Encourage others to talk so you won’t have to make the idle chit-chat.

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Ask questions that require more than a yes or no answer and you may open the door to invite the other person to keep the conversation going.

Take a look at these tips on How to Be Amazingly Good at Asking Questions.

4. Encourage Others to Talk About Themselves

Most people really enjoy talking about themselves. Ask a question about a person’s career, hobbies, or family. Show you’re interested in hearing what is being said.

If you want to keep the conversation going, you should make it like playing ping pong. Learn more about it here: How to Connect With Someone Deeper Within a Short Time

5. Create Goals For Yourself

Establish some small goals for yourself. Perhaps you want to practice one particular skill or maybe you want to start attending a social activity in your community.

Establish a goal and begin to work on strategies that will improve your social life.

Even better, learn to use SMART Goal to help you communicate better.

6. Offer Compliments Generously

Compliments can be a great way to open the door to a conversation. Offer a co-worker a compliment on a presentation he gave at a meeting or compliment your neighbor on his new car.

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Compliments can show others that you are friendly and there’re more reasons Why You Should Pay a Compliment to Someone Every Day.

7. Read Books About Social Skills

There are many books on the market that can help you learn specific social skills and ways to start conversations.

However, keep in mind that reading about these skills won’t make you an expert. You’ll need to practice them over and over again.

Some books recommendations here: 20 Powerful Books to Win You Friends and Influence More People

8. Practice Good Manners

Good manners go a long way in improving social skills. Practice being polite, showing gratitude, and using good table manners.

9. Pay Attention to Your Body Language

Non-verbal communication is very important. Pay attention to the type of body language you use.

Try to appear relaxed, make appropriate amounts of eye contact, and appear open to conversation.

Learn how to properly use your body languages here: Be Instantly Irresistible With These 10 Body Language Tips

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10. Join a Social Skills Support Group

Many communities offer social skill support groups. Support groups help people who feel shy, awkward, or extremely anxious in social situations learn and practice new skills.

You’ll start improving social skills and may be able to make new friends who understand your difficulties.

11. Stay Up to Date on Current Events

Read up on current trends and news stories so you have something to talk about with people.

Try to avoid anything that is too controversial, such as politics, but do talk about other news stories that may be of interest.

It can be a great way to start a conversation and can help you stick to neutral subjects.

12. Identify and Replace Negative Thoughts

If you have a lot of negative thoughts about your social interactions, it could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For example, a person who thinks, “I’m really awkward and I will embarrass myself,” may sit in the corner at a party. As a result, he may leave the party thinking that he must be really awkward because no one talked to him.

Identify negative thoughts that are likely dragging you down. Replace them with more realistic thoughts such as, “I can make conversation and I can meet new people.”

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Don’t allow yourself to dwell on thoughts that aren’t productive! Find out How Not to Let Negative Thoughts Trump the Positive Vibes.

Good social skills are essential for effective communication. If you find socializing with others a challenge, start to take on my suggestions and practice each of them consistently.

Great social skills don’t come easily, you need to practice yourself and really try these tips by talking with others.

More to Help Improve Your Social Skills

Books Recommendations

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Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

More by this author

Amy Morin

A psychotherapist, psychology instructor, keynote speaker, and the author of the bestselling book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do

10 Things To Remember When Everything Goes Wrong How to Think Positive Thoughts When Feeling Negative 12 Ways To Improve Social Skills And Make You Sociable Anytime 6 Mistakes That Keep You Struggling in Life And Stuck 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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