Eight Ways To Be Less Socially Awkward
By: Vicky S.
Do you find it hard to talk to complete strangers? Do you wish you would make friends more easily?
Don't worry: by following these 8 tips, you will find it much easier to make conversation.
Study another person's nonverbal signals before you try to talk to him. Does he look open to contact? Realize that other people are looking at you the same way. If you look like you don't want to talk, others won't even bother.
If you want to seem more receptive to conversation, there's one way that will prove wonders: smile. No big grin, but a friendly smile to strangers will make conversation much easier.
Copy the body language of the person you want to talk to. If the other person is leaning forward, do the same.
If there is someone in your environment who doesn't seem to have any difficulty talking to strangers, study how he behaves in company. How does he position himself when talking to others? What is his body language like?
Relax your muscles. Breathe slowly. Whatever you do, don't get tense, because other people will notice it but will not know what you're so tense about. Do you find it hard to relax? Perhaps drinking an alcoholic beverage will make it easier for you. Don't drink too much though: no one likes drunks. Besides, you don't want to depend on alcohol to make friends.
4. Arrive Early
Arrive early on parties or receptions. That way you're not the only person who doesn't know anyone. Arriving late, when everyone seems to know each other already, will probably just make you feel very aware of yourself.
If you arrive early on parties, it'll be easier to make contact with others.
5. Eye Contact
When talking to a woman, it's okay to make plenty of eye contact. The opposite is true when talking to men: don't constantly look them in the eyes, as they subconsciously will find find you aggressive. Look away occassionally when making conversation.
6. Don't Talk
The more you talk, the less people listen to you. When making conversation, ask questions and listen with interest to the answers.
7. Do Talk
If you want to make more friends, it's important you find people with common interests. If you find it hard to find topics to talk about, keep these guidelines in mind:
1) Comment on what you see (Someone with children? Ask about the children, compliment them. Someone with a briefcase? Ask if he's on a business trip and what work he does. Someone on a party? Ask how he knows the host. Someone with a dog? Etc.)
2) Ask more. Where is the other from? What is his name? Also introduce yourself. Shake hands.
3) Try to find out more about the other person. If the other tells you something about himself that interests you, for instance a shared hobby, don't be afraid to be enthusiastic about that. ("That's amazing, I have a large collection of stamps myself, do you also visit antique fairs to find rare stamps?")
4) Don't be afraid to tell the other you would like to see him again. The other will most probably feel complimented. Have a business card ready with your name and phone number. ("Well, next time there's a fair, let's go together, I don't really know any other people who like stamps and it will be fun.") You can also exchange email addresses (some people will find it easier to write an email than to call someone.)
8. Keep Trying
If you don't have someone to talk to for a while, don't panic. It's okay to be silent sometimes. Try not to feel too aware of yourself, but stay relaxed, smile, and listen to the people in your environment.
Some people are more open to conversation than others. A lot of people are just as shy as you. Didn't a conversation go as well as you planned? Don't worry too much about it. Just try again with someone else.
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