It’s not easy to become a social butterfly when you’re currently a caterpillar in its cocoon. Do you find yourself skipping social events because you just can’t seem to get yourself out there? Maybe you have trouble making new friends, or perhaps you are genuinely terrified of big social events. Don’t you worry, as a former caterpillar, I have compiled a list of ways to boost your social life and help you become the social butterfly you always dreamed of being so you don’t have to miss out on one of the best aspects of life: creating relationships. In no time you’ll be talking people’s ears off.
- Compliment People
Isn’t it amazing when someone compliments you on how your hair looks, or a painting that took you hours and hours? Even if you’re one to shrug off compliments, we can all admit how nice it feels to be complimented on something, whether you worked really hard on it, or you’re just naturally awesome! Naturally, we humans like to be liked, so pass that generosity onwards. You might just make a new friend, or at least brighten up someone’s day.
- Say What’s On Your Mind
Maybe don’t scream “Fire, Fire!” in a movie theatre, or “You’re ugly” to someone, but you should definitely speak your mind. Our minds constantly have so much going on; ideas, images, opinions, funny jokes, and anxieties, but they’re not always easy to express with your words and actions. In our heads, we basically have another person talking to us, constantly, in other words, we all have an inner dialogue. Try using this inner dialogue to spark up conversations with people. Maybe you’re worried about an exam for your history class, or you have a dope invention that still hasn’t hit the market. Tell someone! They’ll probably love to hear about it and might just tell you something in return.
- Actively Listen To Others
Sure, I just told you that you need to say what’s on your mind, but to become a social person, you also need to be able to listen when other people have the floor. There’s nothing worse than talking to someone who’s not giving you the time of day. I like to call these people “brick walls.” You don’t want to be a brick wall, do you? You want to be a fun wall, one with pretty flowers and rainbows. When people are talking to you, give them your utmost attention. You can do this by turning your body in their direction, leaning forward (not like you’re about to kiss them, though), and maintaining eye contact. These listening skills come with practice, but don’t give up. Everyone loves a great listener!
- Get Involved/Initiate
I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t know how to get involved!” or “But I’m too shy to initiate!” The thing is, you’re totally capable of making that first move. It takes courage to go out and get involved, especially when you’re doing it alone, but when you do, your entire world opens up. If you’re in High School or College, look into some of the clubs, organizations, or sports teams they offer. These are great opportunities to meet new people, and the organizers of these clubs and organizations usually are outgoing and will do all they can to assimilate you into the group. If you’re not in school, you can always go take public classes, for example, yoga classes, or a painting class. You’ll meet people with similar interests and you’ll have an excellent outlet to talk to people and make lifelong friends.
- Wipe Off That Serious Face
I understand that you may be nervous, but if you’re staring into the eyes of the person in front of you with a grin, they probably will not want to engage with you. I mean, if an angry-looking person comes up to you, wouldn’t you be a little uncomfortable? Of course. People want to feel accepted, and you can do that by approaching people with a friendly smile, and, depending on the situation, you can even gesture for a hug or handshake. It’s time to wipe that creepy, soulless grin off your face (no offense), and replace it with a warm smile.
- Confidence Is Key
You’ve heard people say it before, you may even say it yourself: Fake it til’ you make it. Even if you’re not too confident in yourself, an excellent way to become more social is by appearing confident. When I say confident, I don’t mean that you need to strut around campus in red-bottom heels and a tight dress blowing kisses to the people you walk past. I simply mean: be yourself. If you want to dress like a bad b***h, or if you want to go out without makeup and hot-sauce-stained sweatpants, do it. Confidence is sexy, and you’ll slowly start to feel more out-going if you accept yourself for who you are, which brings me to number 7...
- Accept That You're Not Perfect
You don’t have to hatch from your cocoon overnight, and no one expects you to be perfect. Nobody is perfect. Not one person. Not even those photoshopped models you see in Sports Illustrated. To become a social butterfly, you need to accept your flaws, understand them, and slowly work on fixing them, not for other people, but for yourself.
Now that you’re somewhat ready to go out there and introduce your new and improved self to the world, remember that not everyone is ready to hatch from their cocoons. Approach each new person with generosity and make them feel comfortable, just as you would expect from them. Go ahead and meet new people, join a club, or even start one. You got this.