Socialising has many benefits which help you live a happy and healthy life. Being socially connected minimises feelings of loneliness, sharpens memory and increases your well-being.
However, it is common to find social situations challenging. Luckily, there are ways you can help increase your confidence whilst being sociable so you can take advantage of social opportunities!
Check out 7 of our top tips for being social below.
Start up a conversation
One of the main ways to be sociable is to be able to start up a conversation with someone. Remember, practice makes perfect so try starting small conversations with people like your local shopkeeper or your server at a restaurant. These low level conversations will come with less pressure but will help build you up to longer, more important conversations.
Start with small talk, try to find out what you have in common with the person you are talking to. This could be sports, people you know in common, your favourite restaurants, a great Netflix show you’ve recently watched. Finding this common ground helps give you things to talk about and will increase your likability. For more help on how to do small talk check out this guide.
Be a good listener
Not only is it important to know how to start and have a conversation with someone but you also need to be able to be a good listener too! There are some important questions to keep in mind when you are listening to someone speak:
- What’s important to this person?
- What are they excited to share?
- What do they value?
- What motivates this person?
- What do they love to talk about?
- What shuts them down or closes them off?
- What do they value?
By thinking about the answers to these questions it gives you a social mission. It allows you to think about relevant responses that will make your conversation more interesting. The renowned Dale Carnegie used to say, “To be interesting, be interested.”
Give compliments freely
When you’re not sure what to say, compliment someone. The right words at the right time can make someone’s day significantly better and also open the door to a conversation. Studies show that by doing so, we also increase our own life satisfaction.
- Pay attention to what you genuinely like about a person so that you’ll really mean what you say.
- Don’t be obvious. Notice the small things that make someone unique so that your words stand out.
- Focus on personality qualities or quirks.
Get involved, attend social events
The more you participate in social events the quicker you’ll feel more comfortable attending them. In this instance practice really does make perfect!
Participating in activities you enjoy can help alleviate feelings of inadequacy when meeting new people, especially if you’ve just moved to a new community. If you’re nervous about going to a social event, try to find one which involves an activity.
Confident body language
The way you present yourself during your interactions is equally as important as what you say. Even if you have to act, faking confidence is a good way to make yourself feel more confident too. Here’s a great TED talk about what your body language says about you. Our top tips are:
- Keep your back straight and shoulders back
- Use hand gestures too enhance what you’re saying
- Keep your facial expressions positive
Chat with strangers
Getting to know the people around you can really help you feel like you are part of a community and give you the confidence to be more sociable. Try starting up a spontaneous conversation with your barista the next time you’re ordering your latte, or ask your neighbour how her day is going.
This might seem like an intimidating thing to do but studies have found that interacting with a wide network of people on a daily basis contributes to your well-being. Before you start interacting with anyone, think of 3 positive things you could talk about. This will instantly make your interaction more pleasant.
Sign up for a class
If you’re struggling to find a social event to attend. We recommend signing up for a class. Exposing yourself to an engaging environment is a great first step to meeting and engaging with new people. When you join a class you’ll likely find people with similar interests and you’ll regularly see these people making it easy to talk to them. This will also mean you’re more likely to stay in touch with these people. One option you could try is a yoga class. SPACE Yoga Studio recently opened in St.Augustine’s Arts and Event Centre and is a perfect place with perfect classes to connect with yourself and other like-minded people. With the Wild Artisan Café just downstairs it’s the perfect place to invite someone from the class for a coffee after your session.