As much as human contact is necessary for our life and well-being, feeling comfortable and in your element around people is not easy for all of us. A surprising majority of the world lists public speaking and social interactions as their greatest fear.
If you are among those people, find comfort in knowing that you’re not alone and that you can overcome this issue.
This article will provide you with tips and tricks on how to stop being socially awkward. Feel free to think of this as reserved information for those who are clever enough to seek it out!
Let’s get started.
Why are some of us socially awkward?
Many people look forward to exiting social gatherings more than entering them.
The core fear that lies in the center of unsuccessful social engagement is the fear of being judged, ridiculed, or, at worst – humiliated.
This fear drives many of us to do or say things that we deem as completely out of character for us. At some point, it even transforms into desperation. We do everything in our power to remove ourselves from the situation and an inevitable sense of being trapped.
It is all completely understandable. After all, who likes to suffer?
Feeling left out, struggling to speak up, being afraid to talk to your crush – you name it, we have all been there. Not only that, we are positive that we do not want to expose ourselves to that kind of horror again.
So why should you bother?
Because you need to be honest with yourself and understand that your happiness doesn’t lie in your comfort zone. You need to get out and become a better version of yourself – one day at a time. We will give you the tools, but you still need to fight your battle.
Get out of your head.
The thing about being socially awkward is that most of the confusion comes from our minds. We’re so focused on thinking about what others think of us that we forget how to present ourselves.
The problem with social interactions for shy and nervous people is that they rarely are present as the moments are going by.
Simply knowing and understanding that mindfulness is important to avoid appearing awkward in social contexts is a big step in the right direction. Imagine all you could do instead of fretting over judging eyes and conceptualized evaluations — you could be you!
And if we could all be ourselves instead of worrying about subjective evaluations, then being socially awkward would be a non-existent problem.
Of course, we understand that this is easier said than done. However, here are a few simple ways to start practicing mindfulness today:
- Learn to appreciate the little things that happen in your regular day. Try to pay attention to how great it feels to drink water when you are thirsty. Enjoy the light touch of the breeze on your skin. Appreciate waking up rested in your warm, cozy bed.
- Take deep breaths when you feel stressed (even if you don’t, still do it!). It is a great habit to build over time, and it will help you feel calmer throughout your everyday life.
- Accept your feelings instead of trying to push them down. Whether you are angry, sad, overwhelmed, or happy – learn to objectively look at your feelings as if they were going on in someone else’s head. Just observe, take a few deep breaths, accept your emotions, and don’t fight your heart and brain.
Put yourself out there.
Do you know how they say that the best way to get over a fear is to put yourself in the very eye of the hurricane?
Weirdly enough, the same technique can also help you avoid being socially awkward. The best way is to constantly and consistently join social interactions, even when you least feel like it. Being repeatedly exposed to a scenario will help your mind get desensitized towards the idea.
In this way, the more you make yourself part of social engagements, the less socially awkward you’ll find yourself being the next time!
The trial and error method is very successful in the domain of social awkwardness. There is bound to come a time when even you can’t help but calm down! So, if you’re wondering how to stop being socially awkward, then face your fear head-on.
Here is how to do it by taking small steps right away:
- Try to be friendly with waiters in your favorite coffee shop or cashiers at your local store. You see them regularly, and you have to communicate with them either way. You might also take the chance to fine-tune your small talk skills and become more relaxed with talking to new people.
- Ask people for directions or help on the street. You would be surprised how helpful most people are! Be very polite while doing this and do your best not to interfere with someone who is obviously in a rush.
- Ask your friends to introduce you to someone new. This way of meeting new people is always easier than striking up a conversation with someone out of the blue. You are already in a familiar environment with your friend, and it can be a safe space to practice your social skills!
Seek inspired company.
Being around people who thrive from social interactions is an excellent way to make sure that you can watch and pick up how they carry themselves within such surroundings.
Thus, having friends with high social intelligence serves a dual purpose to help you avoid awkwardness in social circumstances and make a good impression while you’re at it.
Having a company that helps us do things outside our comfort zone is also a great opportunity to grow and better ourselves. Knowing that we are attaining personal growth through inspired people can also help us overcome our social awkwardness and project confidence.
People with good social skills are a powerhouse from which you can learn a lot to channel in socially weak moments.
Simple tips that you should try to implement here are:
- Observe how your charismatic friends or acquaintances behave. We all have at least one person in our lives who seems to have that incredible aura around them. Next time you are spending time with them – pay attention!
- You become who you surround yourself with. We are not saying that you should ditch your friends just because they are not the life of every party out there. However, you should keep in mind that spending all of your time with people who have poor social skills won’t help you develop those same skills yourself.
Know what you manifest.
You’re sure to know that your body language says far more about you than your words do before you’ve said them, of course.
Articulating or doing the right things in the wrong way takes everything out of them at once. So, making sure that your body language is not manifesting awkwardness and hesitation is a must.
After all, it’s naïve to think that memorizing a script can help us avoid social awkwardness altogether.
You can monitor this by focusing on your posture, expressions, and eye contact.
This piece of advice does not mean that you have to keep a second-per-second review of how you move and breathe. Nevertheless, checking up every few minutes or so is an easy and attainable goal.
If you want to stop being socially awkward, then make sure your body is stating just that. You can start by checking out our guides on confident body language:
- 11 Quick Tips to Develop a Confident Body Language
- Learn How to Walk with Confidence (7 Simple Tips)
When in doubt, ask.
We’re all bound to get confused now and then when we’re around people, even if we’ve developed an infinite series of pointers to keep us from going astray.
Do not despair when this happens. Instead, redirect your energy towards the people in front of you.
Believe it or not, people love it when you ask them questions because it conveys the message that you find them interesting.
Use this knowledge as your power. When you’re unsure how to handle yourself in a situation involving people, become curious and shift the focus from yourself.
General pointers to follow here:
- Ask genuine questions that you want the other person to answer. Don’t just ask because you read it here that you should. People see through that easily. Always be genuine in all of your interactions.
- Don’t ask one question after another relentlessly. You are trying to keep a conversation going, not do an interview. One-sided interactions are never fun for either side.
- Make sure to use follow-up questions from time to time. When you notice that someone is really into a certain topic and would love to tell you all about it – let them! If you find what they are saying interesting, keep asking them questions about all the little details. People will love you for it!
Conclusively, getting over social anxiety involves channeling internal and external resources that we already have at hand. Being aware that we already have within us all the abilities to counter our social awkwardness probably makes the stress a lot more bearable, if not easier.
Also, knowing that most of the world’s population is in the same boat as us also renders getting over your fear of socializing less scary. After all, we’re probably all equally afraid of being judged by each other.
What are your thoughts on this topic? What do you think is the best way to stop being socially awkward?
Let us know in the comments below.