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5 Easiest Ways to Make Everyone Around You Comfortable

5 Easiest Ways to Make Everyone Around You Comfortable

Once upon a time, I was not-at-all comfortable in my own skin. I suffered from shyness so severe that meeting new people was a stressful ordeal that resulted in sweaty palms, stuttering, and self-conscious thoughts that made me wish I was invisible. As you can imagine, my behavior didn’t exactly make people me comfortable. I’m happy to say I finally dumped my baggage and now love to meet new people. There isn’t a secret to overcoming your shyness, but I can tell you that the best way to cure your fear is through consistent practice. If you would like to become a social butterfly capable of making new friends with ease, I invite you to apply these five easiest ways to make everyone around you comfortable. 

1. Pay Attention

Always remember: it’s not about you–it’s about them. People are more distracted than ever in the Information Age, so simply focusing on the other person without staring at your phone every ten seconds will show them that you care. Make eye contact while they speak (but don’t stare!). Don’t interrupt them until they are done (but do ask relevant follow-up questions!). Do everything in your power to show people how thoughtful and caring you are to put them at ease.

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2. Be Thoughtful

Did you meet a person wearing a beautiful skirt that is super cute? Did your friend get a stylish new purse that you adore? If so, tell them all about it! It’s amazing how a simple compliment can make a person’s day. If you are meeting a new person and are nervous, start the conversation with a specific (and genuine!) compliment. You’ll feel a lot less pressure when a big, goofy grin and flushed cheeks develop on their face.

3. Speak Clearly

Speaking clearly is something I’ve struggled with for most of my life, and it is still something I have to remind myself of even today. I live in Tennessee, a state in the U.S. where most people have southern accents and a slow rhythm to their speech. If the typical rate of speech in this area is like struggling to swim through a pit of jello, mine is more like a starving cheetah viciously pursuing its prey. If I’m not careful, I’ll find myself speaking faster than the other person can even begin to comprehend. It’s not difficult to see how this might make a person feel uncomfortable around you. Be aware of the speech pattern of every person you talk to and be prepared to increase your volume or decrease your rate of speech to make sure they can understand the words that are coming out of your mouth.

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4. Display Confidence

A firm handshake, genuine smile, and tall posture will give you the confident swagger you need to be the life of any party. When you meet a new person: lock eyes for a brief moment, smile, shake hands, and say something like, “Hi, it’s so nice to meet you! My name is Theodore. Theodore Roosevelt.” We all know it’s awfully easy to forget a person’s name as soon as you hear it, so stating it twice will increase the odds that you will be remembered. To show confidence in your posture: keep your head tall, gaze forward, chest high, and shoulders down and back. Try not to cover your face with your hands or cross your legs, but instead keep your body as open as possible to reflect a welcoming personality that will make people feel comfortable around you.

5. Tell Stories

Whether it’s a spooky ghost-story told around a camp fire, a Shakespearean tragedy performed in a dark theater, or a steamy romance printed in paperback form, everyone loves a good story! Pay attention to commercials the next time you’re on the curled up on the couch watching your favorite TV show, and you’ll find that even marketers understand the power of good storytelling. Use this power to your advantage the next time you’re at a social gathering by telling a relevant (and tasteful!) joke to the people you meet. You could even tell a personal story about an embarrassing moment in your life to show people you are lighthearted and unafraid to make fun of yourself. If you’d like to continue your learning, check out these 12 golden rules of great conversation.

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Final thoughts / what do you think?

I hope you’re able to apply the steps in this article to make everyone around you comfortable! Please drop a comment below if you have any other ideas that will help your readers increase their confidence in a social setting.

But before you run off and wow people with your social skills, I feel the need to express a final thought: the points in this article very intentionally cover factors that are totally unrelated to who you are on a human level. Phoniness can be detected from miles away, so please don’t try to change yourself to fit somebody else’s mold. You are amazing for who you are and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

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We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be. ― May Sarton

More by this author

Daniel Wallen

Daniel is a writer who focuses on blogging about happiness and motivation at Lifehack.

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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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