5 Tips For Becoming Less Socially Awkward

When I was in middle school and high school, I moved around a few times. Jumping to different states at such a young and influential age can be strenuous and sometimes confuses how you develop mentally. Unfortunately for me, moving around as many times as I did in my teen years was not only discomforting, but played a significant role in the amount of friends I had in my life and therefor affected how I portrayed myself when I would meet new people. 

Although one may feel the need to pity me, today it’s something I am much more relaxed about. I have learned to become less socially awkward and learned how to become more comfortable around others. More so, I have learned to acknowledge that it’s part of my personality. I know I can never fully change the social awkwardness that is still present in my personality at points, but I know how I can try to make myself seem less peculiar to the world. In other words, I learned to fake it until I (almost) made it.

In college, we are constantly meeting new people and finding ourselves in situations where we don’t necessarily know how to speak to others. So here are a few tips I use daily to become more social and involving when conversing with others: 

 

1. Recognize what you are doing

 

 

Like I mentioned, I am still incredibly awkward at points. The fact I know that allows me to be fully aware of the times I’m acting “abnormally” around people I’m trying to set a good impression for. Be aware of your nonverbals. If you are staring off into space while someone is trying to speak to you, recognize it. Or if you seem closed off and turnt away from those speaking, recognize it and make yourself more open to the conversation.         

2. Believe in yourself 

 

This is one of the most important tips and it’s pretty short and sweet. Be confident. So many people that are socially awkward dorks like me are not confident enough in themselves to speak out loud. The reason for this is because we do not want attention on us so it feels better to just not speak at all. So my advice for that is if you’re not confident and you do not know how to change it, recognize why you’re not confident and either find a way to cope with the insecurity or fix it. Just remember that at the end of the day, everyone is flawed.       

3. Listen to others 

 

People ADORE talking about themselves. It’s a driven nature of humanity to want to talk about ourselves. Some people do it a little bit too much, but I use this as an excuse to be less socially awkward. This essentially informs people that I’m interested and hear what it is they have to say. And with this said, actually listen! There’s a significant difference between hearing and actually listening. Don’t just sit there and nod your head, take in the information. This will also help in the next tip I’m going to present to you.      

4. Contribute to the conversation 

 

Don’t just sit there and let everyone else speak. It’s no wonder your socially awkward when all you do is listen to what others have to say. Of course listening to others is a significant part of being less socially awkward, but you're there to learn about each other and no one’s going to want to speak to you if they don’t know who you are. To this day, this is something I personally have trouble with because I just prefer to sit and listen to other people. This can be harmful in the long run when it comes to not only your social life, but your adult career.     

5. Smile 

 

This is a very straightforward and seemingly difficult tip. We don’t always recognize our nonverbal communication because most of our nonverbals are natural. More recently I have recognized I will just sit there with a resting face of total lifelessness and this can look very threatening and unapproachable to others. It’s not that I’m feeling dismayed or anything, that’s just what my face happens to be doing when it rests. So relating back to the first tip, recognize this nonverbal because it makes all the difference in how approachable you are. Smiling is a very inviting facial expression that will cause people to want to speak to you. People enjoy positive vibes. You’d be surprised how much just smiling could help you seem less socially awkward. 

 

Being socially awkward does not make you a bad person, it just means you're socially awkward. Once you’ve accepted it, you can take steps to improve your conversations with people. No one is telling you to become a chatty Cathy, but remember life is not just about ourselves. There are others around us with amazing stories to tell, advice to give, and many other things to talk about. 

This is just a part of life that we all need to know how to approach and understanding how to speak to other human beings is something we all need to do whether we like it or not. Take it from someone who struggles with it today. I promise, once you take these steps, having conversations with others will be a breeze. 

 

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