If you have trouble socializing, it’s probably only the case when you’re meeting new people, or people you don’t know that well. So for this 2-part article, let’s learn how to socialize when meeting entirely new people, or when meeting new people through existing friends.
This is an important skill and it will serve you all your life, so it’s important to learn it and master it as soon as possible.
I want to share with you a set of sub-skills that make up that big skill of socializing and mingling when you meet people. Let’s start.
1 – Blend In, Wherever You Go
One thing that can prevent you from blending in is thinking, “I value my individuality, I don’t want to change who I’m just to fit in somewhere.”
In reality, just because you take part in a group, doesn’t mean you have to let go of what’s unique about yourself. just because you enter a room full of people, engage with them, and get to know them, does not mean you cease to exist as an individual.
When you go there, and see groups of folks, even if it seems that they all look alike, behave alike, or speak in the same way, it doesn’t mean they’re completely alike. They’re just engaging in what we can call “group behavior.” If you talk to any of them later, in a one-on-one setting, you’ll see that they have their own individual qualities.
Within groups, people start to behave more alike than different. That helps us get along build rapport and trust, so we can get to know each other and build relationships. We focus on similarities, first.
2 – Be Dynamic, Instead Of Rigid In Your Social Interactions
Being rigid and staying in one place can prevent your from meeting people, it can also give the impression to others that you’re not interested or don’t feel like meeting them.
First of all, there is no code of conduct or social rule that says you should stay in one place as you socialize. Even in the most physically fixed setting, like a dinner table, where everyone has a place, you can still at some point move around to talk to someone on the other side of that table.
If you feel that there is too much going on, try to narrow your focus. Don’t look at the whole room, just look at the people who are physically closest to you, or only those in front of you. I used that technique a lot, and it helped always keep my composure and confidence even as I walked in front crowds of people in some events I’ve been to.
By moving around and being dynamic when you socialize, you should strive to be calm and trust yourself. Breathe deeply and narrow your focus so you can actually learn to trust yourself and have confidence that you can move around in a room full of people, and everything’s gonna be okay.
3 – Go From Conversation To Conversation
When you’re in a place full of strangers, it could be comfortable and pleasant to meet just one or two really nice and interesting people and talk to them all night. But that’s an exceptional scenario. Generally, people want to meet multiple people throughout the event. It’s mainly because the more people you talk to, the more likely you’re going to find a very good potential friend.
Some people find it offensive that others want to have a random chit-chat for 10 to 15 minutes then move on. It’s not supposed to be offensive at all, and I think you should embrace it; if you’re talking to someone and at some point they feel like they wanna meet others, you should encourage them.
Be careful not to adopt that scarcity mentality; that feeling that if you end a conversation with someone, you won’t find others to talk to. Generally the purpose a social event itself is about meeting multiple people.
If you have trouble starting conversations with strangers, I really recommend that you first go to events where everyone is expected to meet new folks. That way, you can practice just introducing yourself to people who want you to talk to them. After hello, you can talk about the theme of the event, what it’s about, and whether the other person comes regularly to these events or it’s their first time. And that is a great Segway to talking about what they do and what you do.
4 – End Conversations Before They Stall Or Become Awkward
When talking to people you’ve never met before, you find that you have nothing common with some of them. Others aren’t really positive, or maybe too tired to contribute to the conversation. Sometimes, they just in a hurry to leave or they saw someone and they wanna go say “hi.”
It’s better to end the conversation in these situations. That makes you avoid having an awkward silence, so early. Having some silence in a conversation is okay in general; but it doesn’t feel good at all if you have it after just a few minutes of talking to someone new.
So it’s better to end these conversations short, so you preserve a good mood for yourself and others.
All you have to do is keep your smile, say “Well, so and so, it’s very nice to meet you” and move on.
This is another reason why you should stay dynamic and avoid planting yourself in one corner of the room: that way it doesn’t really seem like you’re ending a conversation, but rather just continuing to meet and interact with people.
5 – Make Others Feel Good When You Socialize
Sounds Cheesy? It shouldn’t. Think about it: Why would you want to make people feel good? Is it a way to manipulate them into thinking that you like them? is it a way to kiss their behind? No.
You do it out of politeness and because that’s how the social world works. That’s how friendships are built.
Any socially skilled person knows that on the first time you meet someone, you’re supposed to approve of them and make them feel good – about themselves, their lives, what they do, etc.
Very, very rarely does someone become friends with another who seemed aloof or disagreeable when they first met. You’re supposed to show, at least slightly, that you’re pleased with their presence, and maybe impressed by what they do and what they say.
You don’t need to really like them or contact them afterwards; but, just out of courtesy and social acuteness, be agreeable (and cheerful if possible) when you meet someone new.
I’ve never seen a socially skilled man or woman not cheerful or not upbeat when they’re meeting someone new.
6 – Optimize Your Energy, So You Don’t Get Drained By Social Interaction
When you go out and try to meet new people, you might feel drained out of your energy afterwards. It can feel like work. And that can become a discouraging emotional habit: every time you want to go out and meet new people, you start thinking of it as hard work instead of a fun time
That feeling will just push you to stay home and miss out on a lot of fun.
But if you think about it in the right way, it can become like a fun, easy, and exciting thing that gets you out of your routine: you would look forward to going out and meeting new friends. So let’s unpack this and see how you can think of it differently.
First, as you’ll learn by interacting with other people, that meeting new friends isn’t easy for anyone – it takes energy from even the most exroverted among us.
Secondly, don’t raise your expectations too high. Don’t go thinking that everytime you go out, you need to make a killing. Sometimes, there just aren’t the right people to connect with, and you should be okay with that.
If you follow these two mindsets, you’ll get rid of so much emotional pressure, that going and meeting new people will become much easier and lighter on you.
Read Part 2 of This Article
In part 2 of this (long) article, I share with you more sub-skills that will help you learn how to socialize. Read it here:
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