Being introverted or shy has a lot of benefits, but social confidence doesn’t tend to be one of them. If you often feel left out, alone, ignored, or hypersensitive to the people and circumstances around you, you could be lacking social confidence. Social confidence is exactly what it says it is: the ability to feel good about yourself and integrate well in social situations. Extroverts seem to have it in spades, while introverts…well…not so much.
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Fortunately, there are ways you can begin to build your social confidence and feel more comfortable in social situations. It may not be the easiest thing you’ve ever done, but as introverts are often excellent at building rapport with people and listening, you might find that you have more strengths here than you previously thought.
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
It can seem like a huge part of who you are to take yourself and the situations around you seriously, but really, letting that go a bit can be extremely helpful in social situations. Learning to laugh at yourself and your insecurities can seem a bit weird and even inauthentic, but if you start practicing it you’ll find it becomes easier over time. The trick is to remember that everyone else is laughing too. You’re the only person taking yourself, your situation, your world so seriously, so perhaps a shift in perspective is in order. You might even consider doing something silly in public to really put yourself out there.
Stop being so judgmental.
Especially of yourself. We’re all our own worst critics, but shy people tend to be particularly brutal with themselves. Try letting go of some of those filters you’ve been clinging to that aren’t working except to keep you from saying anything, and join the conversation! People want to hear what you have to say, and by constantly judging your ideas, opinions and perspective you’re excusing yourself from the conversation. You can make this even more effective by joining groups that require your participation, like Meetups or Toastmasters.
Read: 6 Ways to Build Confidence that will Make You Truly Unstoppable
Relax and take it easy.
This one is alternately phrased as “don’t give a $h!t about anything!” but this author likes “relax and take it easy” a bit better. You don’t have to invest yourself in every little thing that comes along in life. Decide on a few priorities and focus on those: family, friends, work or school, your home life, and self-improvement are all good ones. As for everything else: let is go. Life is tough sometimes and sometimes it’s not, but the key to living life on life’s terms is to relax and take it easy.
Practice, practice, practice.
Just like the old joke about how to get to Carnegie Hall, you have to practice. Again, joining groups that require your participation can be helpful. Networking events, singles events and organizing events for your friends are all ways you can further practice your developing social skills. Practice at every opportunity: engage the cashier at the grocery store in a conversation (they will SO appreciate it), chat with your bank teller, be the person telling the best story at the party. Any interaction is an opportunity to put your new social confidence skills to use, and you can only sharpen them by doing so.
Read: 7 Unconventional Tips to Build your Self-Confidence
Work on yourself
Self-improvement is sometimes dismissed as unnecessary, but the fact of the matter is we can all be working on being our better, best selves all the time. Doing so dramatically improves your social confidence. How, you ask? By working on yourself you automatically cultivate confidence in who you are. Your own investment in yourself is the greatest asset you have to building your confidence. By doing so, you improve your ability to interact effectively in social situations and voila! You’ll be a social confidence champion in no time.
Now go forth and socialize!