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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.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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