Some people are natural at socializing, some don’t know how to socialize effectively at all. If you fall under the latter, this article is for you.
It’s perfectly fine if you find it particularly difficult to socialize with people who are new or people you don’t know that well. It’s something a lot of people experience as well. But after reading this article, you won’t have to worry about that anymore. You will learn how to socialize at a party when meeting entirely new people, or when meeting new people through existing friends.
This is an important skill to have and it will always serve you well. You need to learn it and master it as soon as possible if you want to get out there to socialize with new people sooner.
I want to share with you a set of sub-skills that make up the big skill of socializing and mingling when you meet new people. Continue reading and start learning.
People start to behave more alike than different within groups.
1 – Blend In Wherever You Go
Blending in is one of the best ways to get better at socializing and be less antisocial, but there are hurdles that you need to overcome to do so. One thing that can prevent you from blending in is thinking, “I value my individuality. I don’t want to change who I am just to fit in somewhere.”
In reality, just because you socialize with people at a party and take part in a group, doesn’t mean you have to let go of what’s unique about yourself. You don’t cease to exist as an individual just because you enter a room full of people, engage with them, and get to know them.
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 in a one-on-one setting later, you’ll see that they have their own individual qualities.
People start to behave more alike than different if they’re within groups. That helps us get along and build rapport and trust. We get to know each other and build relationships by synchronizing with one another. We focus on similarities first, then tackle on what makes each of us unique later on.
2 – Be Dynamic Instead Of Rigid In Your Social Interactions
Being rigid and staying in one place can prevent you from meeting people. Others will also get the impression that you’re not interested or don’t feel like meeting them. It will make you seem like an antisocial. You should not be antisocial if you want to make friends at social events.
First of all, there is no code of conduct or social rule that says you should stay in one place in order for you to socialize better. 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. If you want to get better at socializing in this scenario, avoid scanning 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 has always helped me keep my composure and confidence even as I walked in front of crowds of people in some of the events I’ve been to.
You should strive to be calm when moving around and being dynamic in a social setting. You’ll be able to socialize better and be less antisocial if you trust yourself. You can do that by breathing deeply, narrowing your focus, and having the right confidence. You have to start knowing that you can move around in a room full of people and everything’s gonna go fine.
3 – Go From Conversation To Conversation
It’s a comfortable and pleasant idea to meet just one or two really nice and interesting people and talk to them all night whenever you socialize at a party. That’s an exceptional scenario, though. People will generally 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. You have to do the same if you want to get better at socializing and be less antisocial.
Some people find it offensive that others just want a random chit-chat for 10 to 15 minutes before moving on. It’s not supposed to be offensive at all. In fact, 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. You can do the same too.
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 of a social event is about meeting multiple people. It’s a place where you can and should be less antisocial. The more people you talk to, the better.
If you have trouble starting conversations with strangers, I 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 actually want you to talk to them.
After saying hello, you can talk about things like 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. You can then segue to talking about what they do and what you do.
4 – End Conversations Before They Stall Or Become Awkward
When you socialize with people constantly, you’re bound to encounter people that you have nothing common with. You will meet people who 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.” Some people are just plain out antisocial. Do not be antisocial too just because they are. Instead, just move on to the next interaction.
It’s better to end the conversation in these situations. This can make 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 and 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. This is what you need to do if you want to get better at socializing.
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. This is how they socialize with people, and it’s how you can get better at socializing.
6 – Optimize Your Energy, So You Don’t Get Drained By Social Interaction
When you go out to socialize at a party, you can feel drained and out of 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’ll 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 a fun, easy, and exciting thing that gets you out of your routine. You will 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 many people along the way, meeting new friends isn’t easy for anyone. It takes energy from even the most extroverted among us.
Secondly, don’t raise your expectations too high. Don’t go thinking that every time you go out, you’ll immediately connect with everyone you meet. Sometimes, there are people who you just won’t 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 for you.
Sometimes, there are people who you just won’t connect with and you should be okay with that.
7 – Think Quickly So You Can Socialize Better
What you want to do here is to be very quick with understanding what’s going around you socially. Social signals are mostly nonverbal. There is a lot of indirect communication and that requires some social acuteness.
The better, and faster, you understand social signals, the more in-sync and effective your actions and reactions will be. In other words, you would never be out of step or out of sync with your social environment. You will be able to socialize better.
Sometimes, you may feel stuck trying to make sense of it (trying to understand why the people around you are laughing at one thing in particular; why they’re talking about a seemingly trivial detail of a story, or why they seem excited to talk to one person in particular). When that happens, I recommend that you just “shake it off”. Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to get everything every time.
Just keep smiling and avoid showing a confused face. I’m saying this because if you keep thinking about it while you’re with other people, you’re going to feel more and more anxious. Even worse, you’ll start feeling upset. If you get in that state, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll be paying even less attention to the social interaction, and miss out on even more social signals.
Later on, your mind will pick up the pieces of those social interactions and it’ll start to make sense.
8 – Be Easy To Read
This is another skill that will help greatly if you want to socialize and make friends with new people. Part of what makes someone want to meet you again is because they felt comfortable with you when you first met. What makes them comfortable has to do with how much clarity they have on who you are, what you’re about, and how your personality is.
The paradox here is that there is a good chance that one interaction may not be enough, and you can’t express “what you’re about” in that short amount of time.
The first thing you need to do is to get ready to introduce yourself. Talk about what you do in brief, clear, and simple down-to-earth terms that anyone can understand. When meeting someone new, don’t drown them in detail on how you got to where you are or on your life story. At least, not yet. Not at that moment.
Instead, share simple things at the start so you can go into details later. It is often better to give out just some snippets about yourself and see what interests them most.
.The second principle is to generalize to simplify. When talking to someone new, it’s better to generalize and give broad statements than to go into all the nuances of what you think of the subject at hand. Again, you’re not sure if it’s required; you’re not sure they’re interested in that level of detail.
You can use statements like “yeah, pretty much”, “yeah, that’s generally the case”, “I mostly do X, Y, Z”, and “I tend to agree with that most of the time”. Using language like that, as you’re getting to know someone new, you’re efficient and don’t take too much time making your point. That means you’ll get to touch on more subjects and get to know each other faster.
9 – Detect The Best Possible Friends
Please understand that there is no code that says you need to talk to everyone when you go out to meet new people. No one is going to keep tabs on you and what you’re doing. The idea is to talk to as many people as you can; not everybody in the room. But, if you want to bond with only a handful of great potential friends, then you can do just that. To “not be antisocial” doesn’t necessarily equate to “be friends with everyone you meet”.
Many people focus too much on avoiding embarrassments, trying to be accepted, or even just surviving the night. There is nothing wrong with those concerns, but they distract you from your ultimate goal, which is to find great potential friends.
One way to sharpen your focus when you go out to meet new people is to pre-determine which kinds of friends you want. Do it once in a while to redirect your effort in the direction that serves your social life best.
Many people get disappointed because others seem to be very different from them. If this has happened to you, you know how frustrating and lonely it can make you feel. This happens often when you expect to have friends with qualities or habits that are too rare or too perfect.
Another reason you might have this challenge is if you live in a small town; where there isn’t enough variety of people.
In either case, I recommend that you open yourself up to some difference. Be open to the idea of having friends that are different than you are. I recommend that you keep finding great people to befriend; people that will help you grow, be more successful, and happy.
10 – Keep Conversations Going
Being able to keep conversations going with people you meet for the first time is a key skill. It allows you to get to know them and find out if you have things in common. It allows you to be less antisocial and socialize better.
One obstacle to making good small talk is getting distracted from the conversation by other thoughts or by the environment. If you can just be present with the other person or the group, you will go a long way in keeping up with the conversation.
If you find yourself in an environment that is too distracting, it’s better to avoid looking around while you talk. I suggest that you keep your attention on the other person as long as you’re having that conversation. Focus is key when it comes to this.
Another obstacle to making small talk is feeling like you’re not in your normal state. You don’t feel comfortable enough to just speak your mind. So you might have awkward silences or don’t feel like you can contribute to conversations. But when you go home, you realize that you actually have things to say about those subjects. You just weren’t “in your normal state” to be able to share what you think.
This is why making small talk needs to feel like it’s within your comfort zone. You need to feel comfortable about it in any situation. This is why I recommend that you practice it in various places until it becomes second nature. This is a great way to not be antisocial, or at least, not in social events. Wherever you go, whomever you talk to, it doesn’t have to be a social event or anything, try to talk 5% more than usual. Put in one or two more statements than what you’re used to.
11 – Find Hook Points
We’ve talked about how to detect great potential friends and keep conversations going; the next step is finding what I call “hook points.” This is like finding things in common, but so much so that it creates a natural reason for a future meeting with the other person or group.
Hook points are beyond just commonalities. They’re like motives to meet again or at least stay in touch. They can be on many levels. Listed below are some main examples. Make sure you use them the next time you socialize at a party.
- Person A does activity X; person B is interested in doing X in the future. (For example, Person A mentions that he or she likes going to the farmers’ market every Sunday. Person B might say that he or she have been meaning to go there as well). That is the “hook point”. The opportunity to meet again. To go somewhere or do something together.
- Another example: Both person A and B do activity X but at different times or at different frequencies. (For example, maybe they both like to run at the park, but not at the same times of the day. That can be an opportunity to meet and do it together.)
- Example 3: Person A does activity X and person B does activity Y, and those activities complement each other. (for example, a web designer and a web programmer may want to stay in touch; maybe they could work together or help each other in the future.)
- Example 4: Person A and B do different activities that serve the same function, and both are open to trying different things (for example, both have different workout routines and would be interested in trying new stuff; that’s a motive to meet again. Another example: they do different things for fun and would be interested in trying what the other person does.)
12 – Have People Ask To See You Again
Now, once you’ve found things in common and hook points with people you want to meet again, it’s time to exchange contact information and maybe even commit to a future meeting.
I call this super social power “have them ask to see you again”, but that name just refers to the ideal scenario where you’ve highlighted the hook points so well that you have the other person suggest a future meeting. I also encourage that you stay pro-active and dare suggest it yourself whenever you want to and feel that it’s appropriate.
You eventually have to show some interest and enthusiasm to signal that you’re glad that you’ve met them and that you’re open to meeting them again. There is a balance between seeming too interested and seeming too aloof. If you want to know how much interest and enthusiasm you need to show, just remember that it depends on how the interaction went:
- How much you bonded
- The commonalities and/or hook points you’ve found
- How much you enjoyed talking to each other
- How much time you spent talking
- The number of laughs you shared
- And how much personal information you’ve shared (especially if you’ve shared some silly secrets that brought you closer)
13. How To Socialize Without Drinking Alcohol
If you’re a non-drinker or if you’re a 100% sober, you might think that it reduces your ability to socialize. In your mind, other people will judge you for it, or that they’ll think you’ll judge them. You might even think it makes you too different. The truth is, it’s mostly just an appearance and a feeling. You should not be antisocial just because you don’t drink.
I’ve had the opportunity to hang out with many socially skilled people who don’t drink. They simply say “no thanks!” or “I’m okay, thank you” with confidence to any offer of alcohol. Everyone just accepts them because they’re confident about it and don’t make a big deal nor try to explain why they don’t drink. They just say “no thanks” and move on.
Everyone can have fun in a lot of different ways. A lot of people use alcohol to have fun, a lot of people don’t like alcohol to begin with, yet they have fun anyway. People will not care HOW you have fun, as long as you actually do have fun. As long as you’re okay being surrounded by people who drink, being a non-drinker isn’t an obstacle when it comes to socializing with people.
Another thing I’ve seen work very well to help you blend in and socialize without drinking is to order drinks that look like they have alcohol in them. I’ll let you get creative in choosing, but anything see-through, a black soda, or a virgin-mojito will do the job.
This is not to deceive anybody. Again, you don’t have to explain yourself. It will help everyone (including you) to “forget” about this non-drinking thing and it makes you even more free to socialize and make friends with people who do drink.
People will not care how you have fun, as long as you actually do have fun.
Congratulations! You have finished reading this long article. If you want to learn more about how to socialize and make friends, I recommend you check out my Get The Friends You Want eBook, and my Advanced Social Skills Training.
– Paul Sanders