We live in a social world, one that can be difficult to navigate for those who don't consider themselves to be outgoing extroverts.
Looking at the people around us who seem to float through social situations with ease, we may wonder how in the world they do it. The good news is that even if we're not extroverts, there are ways to overcome the discomfort you feel in those situations.
The more you practice these techniques, the more you will start to feel at ease when presented with a challenging social scene.
Smile at People -
People who are shy are often mistaken for being rude or unfriendly, when in reality, they are just uncertain about how to react when they meet new people. They're not sure what to say or how to act, so they stay quiet and maybe even look away. This makes a poor first impression on others and then you have to work overtime in order to win them over.
A smile, surprisingly, goes a long way. Even if you don't have all the right things to say, smiling at someone lets them know you're happy to meet them and you're friendly. Also try smiling more in general.
When you make eye contact with a stranger, don't immediately avert your eyes. Try smiling and most of the time the other person will smile right back.
Make Eye Contact -
Making eye contact with people goes hand in hand with smiling at them.
If you're shy, your first instinct might be to look away when you're uncomfortable, but making eye contact is an important part of making a connection with someone. When you don't look at the other person in the conversation, it seems like you're bored or uninterested in what they have to say.
When in a conversation with someone you should be looking them directly in the eye while you're speaking and while they are speaking.
Ask Questions -
If you're not sure what to talk about with a new person, ask them questions about themselves. Most people enjoy talking about themselves and are flattered that you're interested in getting to know them better.
This is a great technique that will take the pressure off of you having to think of things to say. Be sure to ask open ended questions that aren't too personal so the person will feel comfortable.
Really Pay Attention -
Pay attention when you meet someone new and try to remember their name for future encounters. People will feel flattered that you remembered their name and details about them the next time you cross paths.
Don't Give Up -
When you first try these techniques, you might still feel extremely uncomfortable. That's okay! It will take time and practice before this starts to feel like second nature, but over time it will seem easier to interact with people the more you consciously change your approach.
Consider Another Approach -
Hypnosis has been extremely effective in helping people who struggle in social situations feel more confident and at ease. For those suffering from social anxiety, hypnotherapy is a great treatment option.
Peter Field is a leading UK therapist. His hypnotherapy Birmingham and London clinics provide life-changing help to people from across the UK and farther afield. Peter's extensive range of therapeutic self-hypnosis downloads is now available.