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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 September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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