Being socially awkward is a very common issue. For a lot of people, it’s the main hurdle they need to overcome to make new friends. Despite being very common, social awkwardness is also highly misunderstood. If you want to stop being socially awkward, you’ll need to fully learn what it really means.
That’s what you’ll need to learn first. After that, it’s also very important that you know whether or not it’s completely bad being socially awkward. It’s a very common misconception that being socially awkward means terribly for your social life. You’ll be surprised to learn that it can have its benefits too.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t overcome it. We’ll also get to that later on.
What Does It Mean To Be Socially Awkward
Social awkwardness can be stemmed from two things: lack of awareness when it comes to social rules, and social anxiety
A person can become very socially awkward because they often don’t know their behavior or some of the things they do are considered socially inappropriate. Here are some examples of widely-accepted socially inappropriate behaviors socially awkward people may regularly do:
- Cut someone off in conversations
- Make offensive jokes
- Stare at someone you don’t know
- Ask very personal questions
A socially awkward person may do these things, but they never mean to offend or to break any rules. They do these things because they may not be aware that these are considered inappropriate.
A person can also be very socially awkward because of social anxiety. They get anxious and nervous whenever they’re about to socialize with someone they don’t know yet. It gets especially worse when they begin to get surrounded by strangers.
The anxiety then prohibits them from behaving properly in public, thus making them socially awkward.
Is It Bad Being Socially Awkward?
Social awkwardness isn’t automatically a bad thing. Not necessarily. A lot of people become socially awkward because their minds and instinct are telling them to be cautious around unfamiliar people and situations. This is merely a defense mechanism.
However, the problem arises when one is unable to control it. This is where the tips below come in.
How To Overcome Being Socially Awkward
A lot of people aren’t able to fully overcome their social awkwardness, which is why they behave inappropriately or poorly in public. With the tips below, however, you’ll learn how to make sure that your social awkwardness will never get in the way when you socialize again.
Understand that socializing isn’t so bad
One of the reasons why people have social anxiety in the first place is because they look at socializing so negatively. It’s almost to a degree where they actually “fear” the idea of socializing. This is terrible because socializing shouldn’t be looked at in this way. Socializing is meant to be fun and life-changing.
This is what you’ll need to remember if you want to stop being socially awkward. Keep in mind that socializing is fun and life-changing. The act of interacting with someone you don’t know yet and learning more and more about them should be a fun activity. The idea that you’re doing something that may eventually lead to a new friendship is indeed life-changing.
Don’t think that you have to be “someone else” to socialize
At no point should you ever think that you’ll need to be someone else to socialize. In fact, it’s highly necessary that you embrace yourself and be yourself while socializing to be as effective as possible.
Being insincere and ingenuine with who you are will never end well. A lot of people are capable of seeing right through this. As a result, you’ll be seen as untrustworthy and other people will find it hard to connect with you.
What you should do instead is to embrace and better yourself. If you have problems that need to be fixed, fix them. Don’t be someone else, become the best version of yourself.
Stop being afraid of making mistakes
You will never be able to socialize properly if you’re the type of person who fears mistakes. Mistakes can and will happen all the time. When your mind is so focused on avoiding mistakes, you’ll behave poorly, which in turn will only cause you to make the mistakes you were working so hard to avoid.
Don’t focus on avoiding mistakes. Be socially better and mistakes will disappear on their own. Rising above mistakes is also more important than avoiding them when it comes to social settings.
The people you’ll be interacting with will be highly understanding whenever you make a mistake, as long as you don’t allow it to overtake you. They’ll be empathetic because they know what it is to make mistakes. They’re humans too. They make mistakes too. What people appreciate is a person’s ability to rise above their mistakes. That’s the kind of person you’ll need to be.
Get a support system
It’s important that you remember that you don’t have to do this alone. If you want to overcome being socially awkward quicker and more efficiently, have a support system.
Talk to a friend, a loved one, a relative, and whoever else you trust. Tell them you’re making an effort to overcome your social awkwardness and that you want to be better at socializing. They’ll be there to lift you up whenever the going gets too rough.
Take your time
At this point, you’ll need to reassure yourself that you don’t need to worry if things aren’t going as fast as you want them to. You also shouldn’t force yourself to do all of these things so quickly if you’re not comfortable. If you can’t go out constantly, not yet, that’s okay. You can most definitely take your time here.
What’s important is that you’ll keep going. If you need to stay home every once in a while, you should. We’ll get into why this is important in more detail later on.
Socialize in the comforts of your own home
In our day and age, you don’t necessarily need to leave your house if you want to socialize. There are a lot of social media outlets and forum sites out there that allow you to do just this. Just head online and talk to your friends and other like-minded people.
Interacting with others online can’t compare to what it’s like to interact with someone in person, but it’s a viable alternative. Considering that, though, you must still always prioritize interacting in person. Although you can indeed make connections with people online, connections made in person tend to be more organic and stronger.
Go out whenever you can
As mentioned above, nothing beats how organic a personal connection is. Go out whenever you get the chance. If someone asks you out, take that opportunity. If there’s a company gathering, take that opportunity. Whatever chance you get that involves socializing with other people, take that opportunity.
These opportunities are great for you because these are automatic hotspots for socializing. They’re a great way for you to learn how to be better at socializing and to learn from other socially adept people.
Constantly interact with those you regularly encounter
Aside from opportunities to head out and socialize, you should also treat every single interaction as chances to hone your social skills. The better you are at interacting with others and the more you get used to it, the less socially awkward you’ll be.
This refers to the people you encounter on a regular basis. This includes your co-workers, neighbors, the other regulars at the places you frequent, etc. Since you see those people most of the time anyway, why not be friendly with them? You might just hit it off with one or two.
Otherwise, it’s just a great way for you to get used to socializing. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable doing this with people you’re already somewhat familiar with.
Remember to always remain positive
Positivity will take you a long way throughout this whole process. This is very much easier said than done, but if you can indeed get it done, you’ll have a better time doing this.
Keep seeing the silver linings to things. Get excited about the idea of socializing. Remind yourself that you’re doing this so that you can do amazing things while socializing without being awkward. That is a wonderful thing and you should see it as such.
Stop seeking everybody’s approval
One of the main trappings a lot of people fall into is that they seek the approval of everyone around them. They feel this need to please every single person they interact with. When socially inept people do this, they will tend to overact, overdo, and behave inappropriately. This leads them to make mistakes, thus making them socially awkward.
Socially adept people don’t feel the need to seek everybody’s approval. It just… happens. They’re able to react and carry themselves so well in social settings that they’re able to please everyone without even trying. This is the kind of person you need to be.
Keep this in mind for now. You’ll eventually get to a social skill level where this will apply to you. What’s important now is for you to stop seeking everybody’s approval. This is a key step if you want to stop being socially awkward.
Don’t force yourself to be in situations you’re highly uncomfortable with
If you ever find yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable, like places you don’t agree with, or activities you find that just aren’t for you, you don’t need to force yourself.
There are a lot of activities out there that are indeed for you. There are also a lot of places you’ll find comfortable. Stick to those activities and places. After all, you’re currently working on how to stop being socially awkward. You’ll find it way more difficult to do so if you keep putting yourself in situations you’re uncomfortable with.
The one thing you should at least try to get used to, however, is socializing. As long as you can learn to get comfortable with that, you can make other aspects easier for yourself.
Always be curious about other people
Being curious about other people will allow you to become more motivated to interact with them. You’ll seem more interested in them and they’ll be able to see that. This will then make them feel good that someone is interested in their life, thus making them confide in you with better confidence.
If you can have interactions like these, you’ll start becoming more skilled at conversations and socializing as a whole. In time, your tendency to become socially awkward will completely disappear.
Be better at making conversations
Speaking of conversations, this is a social skill that’s most important for you if you want to stop being socially awkward. After all, conversations are key to building new bonds, friendships, and socializing. If you can master this, being socially awkward will be off the table for you.
You’ll need to master all facets of conversations. Not only should you learn how to carry long and meaningful conversations, but you’ll also need to learn how to master small talk. Contrary to popular belief, small talk does have its place in socializing. You just have to know how to use it.
You’ll also need to become an active listener and a pure empath to become even better at conversations.
As you can see here, the art of conversation covers a lot of grounds and topics. If you want to learn more about it, be sure to check out the other articles we have that talk about conversation techniques.
Look good to feel good
One thing you can do that will help socializing easier and more fun for you is to wear clothes that look good on you. Wear clothes that make you feel wonderful and confident. It will greatly help how you carry yourself in public. The more confident you are, the less socially awkward you’ll be.
If fashion isn’t your strong suit, don’t hesitate to ask for help from friends. As we’ve already discussed earlier, it’s better if you have a support group for this. Turn to them for this issue and they’ll surely be glad to help you out.
You also need to make sure to have a set of clothing for any occasion. Don’t just have outfits that are all suited for casual events. Have some that are for formal events as well. You never know where you’ll end up socializing.
Stop overthinking everything
Overthinking is one of the key reasons why people become socially awkward. To that end, this is an enemy you’ll need to face and defeat as soon as possible. Combat any thoughts your overthinking mind comes up with.
For example, if you’re in a social setting and you suddenly think that others might be paying too much attention to your clothes, remind yourself that others aren’t that judgmental and that what you’re wearing is completely fine. If your mind tells you you’re about to mistake, remind yourself that there’s nothing to worry about.
Actively combating the way you overthink will eventually force you to realize that things aren’t so bad. Eventually, you’ll even stop the habit altogether, or at least become so good at managing it that it won’t even bother you anymore.
Focus on the person, not the entire situation
Here’s a trick if the social setting becomes too overwhelming for you: don’t think about the entire room or the entire situation. Instead, keep your focus on one person. Focus on the person you’re interacting with and everything else will get drowned out.
Another benefit that will come out of this is that you’ll be able to interact with the person you’re speaking to much better. Focus on their words, their stories, and their questions. Be an active listener. If you can treat socializing like this, you’ll never be overwhelmed regardless of how many people there are in the room.
Be comfortable with talking about yourself
One thing you’ll constantly need to do in any social setting is to talk about yourself. This is where a lot of socially awkward people stumble, unfortunately. This is because the social anxiety that’s causing their social awkwardness makes it hard for them to open up.
You’ll need to overcome this if this is the case for you. Remind yourself that other people are interested in hearing your stories as long as you can captivate them. If you have to, practice in front of a mirror.
Talk about who you are, what you do, what your dreams are, and the things you do for fun. These are just glimpses to your life, but they’ll be more than enough.
Be considerate of other people
Another thing you can do that will help you avoid being socially awkward is to be considerate of other people. One of the causes of social awkwardness is a lack of knowledge when it comes to social rules. However, if you can remain considerate, adhering to social rules will come naturally to you.
This means that from now on, you’ll want to be sensitive to other people’s emotions. You’ll need to avoid being offensive, hurtful, and tactless, and start being mindful of other people’s boundaries.
Remember these things and you’ll have safer and more fun interactions with people. This is something you can make happen by simply remembering to be considerate of other people.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be playful, of course. That has its place too. Just be sure to keep things harmless and inoffensive.
Find like-minded people
One of the best things you can do to make socializing easier is to find like-minded people. If you can interact with people who share your beliefs and opinions, you’ll be able to connect with them better. You’ll have more time comfortably socializing, thus less time for mistakes to happen born of awkwardness.
To find like-minded people, you can join groups, clubs, or classes centered around an interest of yours.
You can also turn to your colleagues and acquaintances to see if you share an interest with any of them. You can do this by simply talking about your interests more and asking others about theirs. You’re sure to find a common ground eventually.
Never interrupt others when they’re speaking
This is a very important thing to keep in mind as it is one of the most cardinal sins socially awkward people tend to do. Never, ever interrupt another person when they’re speaking. No matter how serious or casual a conversation is, if you have something to say, wait your turn.
This is considered very disrespectful in a social setting and it’s a classic sign of social awkwardness. Keep this in mind from now on. In conversations, hold your inputs and contributions until someone is done speaking. This allows for more nuanced and balanced conversations.
Give yourself a break every once in a while
As mentioned earlier, it’s very important for you to stay home every once in a while. If staying at home brings you comfort and energizes you, you absolutely shouldn’t deprive yourself of this. You need to give yourself time to adjust and to relax every once in a while, otherwise, you’ll simply get overwhelmed by the nature of socializing.
This is most especially true if you’re someone who’s not used to socializing. Don’t force yourself to jump into it constantly right away. Take a break every once in a while. Maintain a healthy balance between going out and staying home and you should be good.
Improve Your Social Skills To Stop Being Socially Awkward
As you’ve already realized by now, the best way to overcome and stop being socially awkward is to improve your social skills. Become as socially adept as you can be and any trace of social awkwardness you have in you will completely disappear.
Be sure to read as many articles as you can on this site so you can improve your social skills. This will take time, but it will be highly worth it. You’ll never be socially awkward anymore again as long as you can master the art of socializing.