Sometimes even the most sociable and outgoing people suffer their moments of shyness and self doubt. But if you're someone who always feels this way, then it's time you took action.
If you regularly feel uncomfortable and uncertain in social situations, it can be a crippling and frustrating experience. You want to be more social, but you just can't do it.
The good news is that being more social is something that you can work on improving. Check out the following tips on how to do it.
*** Practice Makes Perfect
Yes, that old saying is still true. With anything in life, the more you do it, the easier and more natural it becomes. The same is true for being more social. It might feel difficult or really frightening at first, but with practice it will slowly become easier and less scary until it becomes surprisingly easy.
The first step to becoming more social is to commit to doing it. This doesn't mean that you have to put yourself completely out of your comfort zone right away, but it does mean that you need to put yourself out there little by little and as often as possible.
'Everything is practice.' -- Pelé
*** Change Your Attitude
Many "antisocial" people can be quite critical and negative of both themselves and others. They are antisocial because they are fearful of being judged by others, but at the same time, they are often harsh critics of others.
If you find yourself being critical of others and of yourself, it's important to recognize this and to do some work on changing your attitude. Instead of focusing on the negative in a person, try to actively identify positive things. Do your best to be more open to situations and people. Don't assume that you know everything about everyone based on minor interactions.
'Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.' -- Winston Churchill
*** Accept That It's Not All About You
Many shy people feel so self conscious because they are constantly worried that everyone is looking at, judging, or watching them.
Generally, people are much too wrapped up in their own lives and concerns to notice too much about what is going on with another person. Most people are usually too busy worrying about themselves and their own lives than to be spending a lot of time judging you.
'At age 20, we worry about what others think of us. At age 40, we don't care what they think of us. At age 60, we discover they haven't been thinking of us at all.' -- Ann Landers
*** Make a Change Plan
How are you going to work on being more social?
Start with small steps. Strike up conversations with the people you interact with on a daily basis. It could be the cashier from the supermarket, the person you buy your lunch from, or a coworker you always see in the break room.
Spend time with your more social friends. Force yourself to do things with them that you wouldn't normally do. They are your friends, so they will be there to support you if you start feeling insecure or alone. When you are invited to do something, accept the invitation. Don't let yourself make up a lot of excuses about why you can't. You really can change, so make a change plan, and stick to it!
'The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.'
-- Alan W. Watts
*** Work With a Therapist, Counselor, or Life-Coach
Turning to a professional can really accelerate your social progress. An experienced therapist, counselor, or coach can help you overcome your difficulty and make being more social much easier. With the right therapist, you might be surprised at how rapidly this can be accomplished.
In the end being more social really is down to you and your commitment to making it work. Think about the hardest thing you have ever learned to do. At first it might have seemed impossible, but each time you did it, it got easier and easier. Becoming more social works in a similar way.
Take small steps every day and in no time you'll be a much more sociable person, and feel a whole lot happier for it!
Peter Field is a leading U.K. psychotherapist and counselor. Peter's new book 'How To Be Gay and Happy' is now available. His hypnotherapy Birmingham website contains useful information on therapy.