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How to Stop Being Shy and Become a Social Champion

How to Stop Being Shy and Become a Social Champion

If you don’t have a nice circle of friends, that are fun and who also encourage you to get ahead in life, then you’re either shy about meeting and making friends, or you’re not exactly sure about how to do it. On the other hand, perhaps you’re already trying to meet new people, but you’re getting the results you want, because you’re not using the best strategies that could easily bring great people into your life.

In this article, I want to share with you how you can stop shyness from sabotaging your social life, and how to start meeting friends.

How to Stop Being Shy – Competence over Confidence

If you want to “beat” your shyness by learning to build confidence, it can take you a long time, because shyness is deeply wired into your emotions.

Instead of trying to change your shyness, I recommend that you focus on learning how to do what shyness is preventing you from doing.

Social Competence is key. The more you know about how the social world works, and how to socialize, the less discouraging mistakes you’ll make, and the more friends you’ll have.

Here are a couple of tips you can use:

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Tip #1 – How to get comfortable in a social situation

If you’re shy about going to a party, or to a social gathering, then a simple switch that can help is to go EARLY. If you do this, you’ll give yourself some time to get used to the surrounding and feel comfortable gradually before it gets crowded with people.

If you know the host, then you could offer to help out. That might allow you to be more comfortable by having something to do.

Tip #2 – What to do when people invite you, but you are nervous about accepting

Do you find yourself in the situation of declining people’s invitations, but regretting it afterwards, because you know you want to go?

What you can do in this situation, is to accept the invitation, and have a back-up plan. This allows you to leave the place if you get too nervous and can’t handle the social pressure. You can tell the person that invited you that you don’t know how long you can stay, because you’re expecting a call from someone and you may need to leave to help him or her out with something.

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This allows you to either stay if you feel comfortable, or leave, if you don’t. Either way, you win.

Tip #3 – How to clearly express your opinion, if you’re not used to it

Expressing your opinion is important, but if you’re not used to doing it, it can feel scary. One way to overcome this is to use humor. Offering ideas in a light or even silly manner is less intimidating.

The more you focus on HOW to socialize, the quicker you’ll find answers. I suggest that you stay open to new ideas when it comes to social skills like keeping conversations going, meeting people, and building your social circle.

How to Meet New People and Make Friends

When you ask the average person what they do to meet new friends, they often tell you that they leave it to chance, and that “you can’t really control these things.” However, when you look at their social life, you find that they’re not happy with the few poor friendships they have.

If the people around you aren’t fun, interesting to YOU, then you need to do something about it. If you leave it to chance, it may never change.

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Here are a couple of tips to get you started:

Tip #1 – Meet people who are already looking for friends

Instead of trying to meet people who already have too many friends in their lives, connect with people who are also looking for friends. These can be people who just came to the city (think expats events), or people who go to meetups meetup.com. Also, see if there is an internations.org group in your city.

Tip #2 – Don’t go befriending the sharks!

If you’re shy or don’t have a lot of social experience, don’t go make friends with people who are a thousand times more socially apt than you are. Instead, you can find great people who are soft spoken, introverted who would love to make friends with you.

Moreover, because you’ll be hanging out with cool, interesting, introverted people, there is no risk of embarrassment if you make a mistake. It’s ok if you make mistakes, because that’s what helps you to learn.

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Tip #3 – Learn To Get People Interested In Making Friends with You

There are certain behaviors that make some people more attractive to friends than others. It’s not just luck. There are things that these “wanted” people do that makes everyone wants to spend time with him or her… and it’s not about money, or looks…

It’s a combination of being interested in what the other person says, sharing similar stories that happened to you (or you just heard of), introducing people that you know to each other, and focusing on what value you’re giving away…

These are just some ideas to get you started…

…but if you want to really MASTER this, to a point where you have a nice circle of highly interesting and fun people, that not only are incredibly fun, but also support and listen to you, then I recommend that you start setting up your Action-Plan to meet and new friends.

The best time to start making new friends is now.

Featured photo credit: A gorgeous little girl playing peekaboo via Shutterstock

More by this author

Paul Sanders

A communication expert who tries to help people improve their social skills and make friends anywhere.

How To Be More Social If You Are an Introvert How to Keep a Conversation Going and Never Run Out of Things to Say What to Do When You Have No Friends and Feel Lonely 7 Tips How to Make Friends During College 5 Reasons Why Your Social Life Isn’t Improving, And What To Do About It

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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