Some people just make it seem so easy. They’re cool and confident in front of everyone they meet. For so many people, though, social situations are uncomfortable and awkward. They shy away from new people and unfamiliar situations. Perhaps they just haven’t taken the necessary steps to becoming more confident in social situations.
Simply being friendly can go a long way towards feeling more confident in any social situation. Greet everyone you meet with a smile and a handshake. While not everyone likes small talk, exchanging pleasantries about the weather and how you’re feeling are classic ways to get a conversation started. Look for opportunities to meet new people until these actions become second nature.
One way to feel more confident in social situations is to always have a topic of conversation ready. Taking a few minutes to peruse the newspaper every day or watching a half-hour news program can provide ideas. However, if you’re going to plan your conversation topics around the latest news, stick to non-controversial subjects. For the sake of socializing, you’ll want to take note of who’s likely to make it to the Super Bowl instead of contemplating the prospect of peace in the Middle East. Don’t forget about the power of pop culture and celebrity gossip to keep a conversation going.
In addition to giving you ways to start conversations, if you’re well-informed about the latest news, you’ll also be able to follow and take part in others’ conversations more easily. Another simple step to talking to others more comfortably and confidently is to work on your listening skills. Maintain eye contact with the person who is speaking. There is nothing quite as rude as looking around the party like you’re searching for someone more interesting to talk to while otherwise engaged in conversation. Nodding or making small noises of agreement or sympathy can be another way to show that you’re listening and interested. You should also ask questions as this keeps the conversation flowing.
Now once you’re well-informed and asking questions, make sure that you don’t turn this into a disadvantage by monopolizing the conversation when speaking.
When two people are talking, there should be a give and take, not a monologue.
No one likes conversing with someone who only seems interested in talking about himself, and you’ll soon find yourself alone.
If you’re about to enter an unfamiliar social situation, it pays to do your homework. If you’re going to an art show, brush up on the featured artist’s work so you will have tidbits of information to offer others. If you’re attending a charitable event, learn a few things about the non-profit organization so you have a relevant topic of conversation. You can even do your homework when it comes to other people. Ask the host of a party you’re going to attend a few questions about your fellow guests to make it easier to start a conversation and to make the whole affair more comfortable.
Sometimes all it takes to feel more confident in a new social situation is to bring along a friend. This isn’t always possible, but it can be less daunting to break into an unfamiliar situation when you know at least one other person in the room. Don’t use your friend as a crutch, though. You want to mingle with others, not stand off to the side only talking to each other.
As with so many things, practice makes perfect. You’ll feel more secure in social situations if you simply get out more often. Attend company functions and don’t shy away from invitations from friends and family. Once you’re at an event, put yourself in the middle of the action. Strike up a conversation, join in a game, and take a step on the road to more self-confidence.
If you have difficulty in social situations, you’re not going to experience an overnight change. But if you continue to work on being friendly, starting conversations and being a good listener, you’ll see the benefits of your hard work, and maybe some day you’ll be one of the envied ones who always look cool and confident.
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