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Sometimes You Have to be Social Even When You Don’t Feel Like It: Here’s How

Sometimes You Have to be Social Even When You Don’t Feel Like It: Here’s How

Some of us are just naturally introverted and dread social situations, others may enjoy being social, but just don’t feel like it sometimes. Unfortunately, there are times, both in our personal and professional lives when we have to do it whether we like it or not. It’s not that easy to simply tell yourself that you have to do it when your mind and your body don’t want to hear it. It’s far more effective (and usually more enjoyable,) to figure out what the true reason is.

Are you tired, avoiding someone, or shy? Maybe you lack solid social or conversational skills. Perhaps you don’t know anyone who’ll be at the gathering or you’re wary of conflict. Whatever the reason, it’s much easier to overcome once you know what it is.

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Be Social: Some “Get in the Social Mood” Strategies

Energy fixes – You’re tired. That’s completely understandable. Most of us can relate to that “feeling so tired, you just want to go home and be left alone” state. But sometimes that’s just not an option. So what can you do?

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  • The obvious solution is to take a quick nap.
  • The tried and true fix would be a jolt of caffeine…I would recommend something with moderate caffeine content, (not Red Bull or a triple espresso) otherwise you’ll be bouncing all over the place and talking so fast no one will be able to follow your conversation anyway.
  • Maybe your tiredness is caused by dehydration (most of us are at least mildly dehydrated.) Drink a glass of water and then keep drinking throughout your social event to stay hydrated.
  • Are you hungry? Often lack of energy is caused by going too long without food. When did you last eat? Even if you did eat recently, was it healthy? A healthy meal or snack with a good mix of protein and carbs with a little bit of fat (A LITTLE BIT) thrown in will help to keep your energy up and even.

People problems – Sometimes we don’t feel like being sociable because of the other people involved. That’s a bit harder to fix, but there are some things you can do.

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  • Are you trying to avoid a particular person or group of people? Maybe you can go with a friend or enlist a colleague to act as a buffer. If you want to avoid or minimize conversation or contact with someone, the easiest way to do it is by choosing to converse with someone else. Keep some distance and keep busy. You might try offering to help the organizer so that you have an excuse not to engage. Also, have an exit plan ready. If you get in an uncomfortable situation, you can pull out your “exit excuse” and make for the door.
  • Maybe it’s not a person, but a conflict that you dread. Again having another person or group as a social buffer is a great solution. If a conflict arises having someone else to run interference or help diffuse a tense situation is very handy. When you are in the social situation, stay calm, remind yourself that while you cannot control what other people say, you can control how you respond. Remain polite and remove yourself if an unpleasant situation arises.
  • If must socialize at an event or some other type of gathering where you don’t know (or don’t know well) anyone else there, it can be very uncomfortable. The first thing you can do is to try to reframe it as an opportunity to expand your social sphere. You’ll get a chance to meet new people, add some names to your contact list, and widen your social network. Choose someone who looks interesting, sounds interesting or acts in a friendly manner and introduce yourself. That’s usually all it takes. Be honest. Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know anyone. Your new “contact” may be able to introduce you to others, and if not, at least you can bond over being fellow loners.

Personality– If you’re an introvert, you’re an introvert. Nothing you can do is going to make you an extrovert, but you can increase your comfort level in social situations. As an introvert, socializing may cause a great deal of anxiety or simply be draining. Chaos, large groups, noise, and too much activity can be very stressful for someone with introverted tendencies.

  • Choose your atmosphere if you can. Try to socialize in quieter environments, without so much noise and activity.
  • Choose someplace you are familiar with. If you’re already comfortable with the setting, the actual conversation and interaction won’t feel so intimidating.
  • Enlist a partner. Once again, this is a great strategy. You’ll feel more comfortable if you’re not alone, especially if you choose someone who tends to be more extroverted. They’ll carry much of the social burden, and most likely, they won’t feel that it’s a burden at all, because they enjoy and feel energized by the interaction.
  • Work on improving your social or conversational skills. Not knowing what to say or how to act would make anyone not want to be sociable. Try practicing your introduction. Have some conversation ideas memorized. Think of a few questions you can ask if you don’t know what to say. “How long have you known…or worked at…lived here…” is a basic conversation starter.

When you don’t feel like socializing, you can often shift your mood by figuring out what the reason is and then taking steps to mitigate it. You still might not enjoy being sociable, but you can make it a bit less uncomfortable.

Featured photo credit:  Curious striped Scottish fold kitten via Shutterstock

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More by this author

Royale Scuderi

A creative strategist, consultant and writer who specializes in cultivating human potential for happiness, health and fulfillment.

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Last Updated on January 16, 2020

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

12 Simple Ways to Boost Your Confidence Right Now

The way you feel about yourself greatly influences how you live and interact with others. If you are confident about yourself, you tend to see yourself positively and actually enjoy spending time with and around people. You don’t feel self-conscious or awkward around others, and that allows you to live your fullest and happiest life.

However, if you’re drowning in a sea of self-doubt, hesitancy and shyness, you often withdraw and isolate yourself from others and avoid interacting and connecting with people. That anxiety you feel in the pit of your stomach when you are around people is holding you back greatly and it is not good for your emotional health and overall well-being. You need to do something about it if you are low in self-confidence or have friends or family members who are not confident.

“Confidence isn’t walking into a room thinking you’re better than everyone, it’s walking in not having to compare yourself to anyone” – Anonymous

Here are simple, practical tips to boost your confidence right now and make you feel and act your best.

1. Stop labeling yourself as awkward, timid or shy.

When you label yourself as awkward, timid or shy, you sub-consciously tell your mind to act accordingly and psychologically feel inclined to live up to those expectations. Instead of labeling and entertaining negative self-talk, visualize and affirm yourself as confident and strong. Close your eyes for a minute and visualize yourself in different situation as you would like to be.

Be your own cheerleader. Experts believe that positive affirmation and good mental practices like picturing yourself winning or achieving a goal can lead to greater feelings of self-assurance and prepare your brain for success.[1] As the saying goes, “seeing is believing.” Picture yourself as confident and soon enough you will begin to manifest behavior that gives evidence to this new ‘fact.’

2. Recognize that the world is not focused on you (unless, of course, you are Kanye West).

That means you don’t have to be excessively sensitive about who you are or what you are doing (or not doing). You are not on the center stage; there is no need for preoccupation with self and perfectionism. As rap music star Rocko sings, “You just do you and I will do me, aight?”

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Forget about trying to please everyone or being perfect. Trying to be perfect and being a people-pleaser puts too much pressure on you and creates unnecessary anxiety. Besides, people are too preoccupied with their own issues to pay much attention to your every move unless, of course, you are a mega famous, super celebrity like Beyonce or Kanye West.

3. Focus on other people as opposed to yourself.

If you are low on confidence, self-conscious, nervous and shy in social situations, focus your attention on other people and what they are saying or doing instead of focusing on your own awkwardness.

For example, think about what it is that is interesting about the person who’s the centre of the party or the guy or girl you are talking with. Prompt them to talk more about themselves and be genuinely curious and interested in what they say. You will instantly come across as confident and warmhearted.

People generally want to talk about themselves, be heard and understood. They will love it when you’re eager and willing to listen to them and really hear what they have to say.

This habit of focusing more on what you love in others as opposed to what you dislike in yourself will not only help you become more assertive and comfortable in virtually all social situations, but also instantly make you feel great about yourself.

4. Know (and accept) yourself for who you are.

Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher Sun Tzu, author of the internationally acclaimed book The Art of War, said, “Know yourself and you will win all battles.” Even in the battle with lack of confidence, you will need to know yourself to win.

Knowing yourself starts with understanding that people are not all the same, neither are all social situation suitable for everyone. You might not be confident in large gatherings, but you could be bold and confident in one-on-one and small group interactions. We all have our own unique gifts and unique ways of expressing ourselves. Embrace yours!

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Introverts, for example, have a quiet confidence that is, unfortunately, often confused for shyness. They are naturally low key and prefer to spend time alone. However, this natural disposition affords them certain unique gifts, such as an ability to listen better than most people and notice things that others don’t.

Your uniqueness is where your strength and advantage lies. You won’t be comfortable and confident in all situations all the time. Albert Einstein said,

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

5. Crack a smile.

If there is one sure way to instantly boost your confidence, it’s cracking a smile. Christine Clapp, a public speaking expert at The George Washington University, says that flashing those pretty, pearly white teeth will immediately make you appear both confident and composed. But, the effect of smiling is not just external. Studies show that smiling can also help nix feelings of stress and pave the way for a happier and more relaxed you.[2]

Not a bad return for something seemingly so trite, wouldn’t you agree?

6. Break a sweat—with exercise.

Working out is another great way to make yourself feel amazing and confident. Science has shown that exercising increases your endorphins, helps reduce stress, tones your muscles and makes you feel happy and confident.[3]

And hey, all you have to do is take a walk a few times a week and you’ll see the benefits. What seems to matter—as far as your confidence goes—is whether you break a sweat, not how strenuous your session is, which is pretty cool. Start working out now.

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7. Groom yourself.

This might seem mundane, but it’s amazing how much of a difference a shower and shave can have on your confidence and self-image. And when you spritz on a scent, the boost on confidence and self-esteem is incredible. As it turns out, your favorite fragrance does more than make you smell oh-so-nice.

A study found that a fragrance can inspire confidence in men. Interestingly, the study also found that the more a man likes the fragrance, the more confident he might feel. Another study found that 90% of women feel more confident while wearing a scent than those who go fragrance-free.

8. Dress nicely.

Another one that might seem trite, but it works. If you dress nicely, you’ll instantly feel good about yourself and give your confidence a real boost. That is largely because you’ll feel attractive, presentable and sometimes even successful in nice clothes.

While dressing nicely means something different for everyone, it does not necessarily mean wearing $500 designer outfits. It means wearing clothes that are clean, that you are comfortable in and that are nice-looking and presentable, including casual clothes.

9. Do activities you enjoy.

Whether it is reading a book, playing a musical instrument, riding your bicycle or going fishing, do what you really enjoy and what makes you truly happy often. It will boost your self-esteem, soothe your ego and allow you to identify with your gifts and talents. That will in turn bolster your self-belief and grow your confidence exponentially.

You might not become popular for doing what you love, but you might not even want to be popular at all. Being popular doesn’t make you happy; doing what you love does.

10. Prepare for the possibility of rejection / setback.

Late World No. 1 professional tennis player Arthur Ashe said, “One important key to success is self-confidence. A key to self-confidence is preparation.” You need to prepare for the possibility of rejection and setback.

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Why?

Everybody suffers rejection and setback at one point or another. You are not exempted. The question on your mind, therefore, should not be if you will be rejected, but how you will handle rejection when it comes.

Prepare yourself adequately in every situation to minimize the risk and effect of rejection and so that your confidence is not broken. For example, learn public speaking and rehearse what you are going to say beforehand if you have landed a public speaking engagement. That way, you are sure of yourself and confident you have what it takes to hack it. If you are rejected, don’t take it personally.

Rejection and setbacks happen to the best of us. Take it as a learning experience. Learn from your mistakes and move on.

11. Face uncomfortable situations square in the face.

Don’t run away from uncomfortable situations. Running away from people or situations because you feel scared, shy or timid only confirms and reinforces your shyness. Instead, face the situation that makes you uneasy square in the face. For example, go ahead and talk to that person you are afraid to approach, or go straight to the front of your yoga class! What’s the worst that can happen?

Prepare and be ready for any eventuality. The more you face your fears, the more you realize you are stronger than you thought and the more confident you get. This simple, yet admittedly courageous, act makes you unstoppable. You get comfortable being uncomfortable and begin to feel like you can take on the world. And that is the hallmark of someone destined for great things.

12. Sit up straight and walk tall—you are awesome!

Yes, sit up straight and believe you are awesome. Don’t slump in your chair or slouch your shoulders. Experts say the right stance can not only keep your self-esteem and mood lifted, but also lead to more confidence in your own thoughts.[4]

The way to sit is to open up your chest and keep your head level so that you look and feel poised and assured. And when you get up, stand tall and walk like you’re on a mission. People who sit up straight and walk tall are more attractive and instantly feel more confident. Try it now: you’ll feel fierce and confident just by sitting up straight and walking tall.

Featured photo credit: Freshh Connection via unsplash.com

Reference

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