Ways to Improve Your Social Skills

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If you’re shy, quiet or introverted it can feel like a massive hurdle to meet new people and to make small talk. But if you want to meet women there are some things you can do to improve your social skills. You can only learn so much reading, browsing profiles, or taking courses, at some point you need to get out there and practice. The tips below will help, your confidence will build and eventually you’ll be meeting people without as much difficulty.

1. Answer basic questions with more

When someone asks how you’re doing, answer with small phrases instead of ‘fine’, ‘good’, or ‘okay’, which take a conversation nowhere. Instead, use it as an opportunity to practice. Witty phrases teach you to think on the fly and gives you practice answering other questions in an interesting ways. If you’re worried about screwing up, then come up with one phrase to use until you’re comfortable.

Some alternative ways to answer ‘how are you’ 

  1. Somewhere between better and best.
  2. Better now that you asked.
  3. I’d say I’m a [insert number here] out of 10.
  4. Living a dream! Please don’t wake me up.
  5. I can’t complain
  6. I am blessed!
  7. Dancing to the rhythm of life.
  8. I’m busy taking over the world.
  9. Rolling with the punches.
  10. I’d be better if you asked me out.

Your vibe matters
Answering this way gives off a vibe you’re spontaneous and upbeat which people are drawn to.

 

2. If you like something about someone, compliment them

This is a genuine way to compliment another person and it may only seem strange at first. Once you start doing it, you find people open up and it really can make someone’s day. It doesn’t have to be only certain people (if you’re a guy you might think of only complimenting women) that’s not how this works at all. In fact, you probably need to build up to that. If you notice something about anyone; the color of their shirt really suits them; their eyes are striking; their nail color is unique, practice complimenting them on it. Most people will be receptive, and it gives you practice and confidence

Woman socializing at coffee shop improving social skills

3. Say hi, smile, engage with everyone you interact with to improve your social skills 

We cross paths with a number of people we could be practicing socializing with; at the grocery store, coffee shop, walking down the street …. Instead of hurrying along, make eye contact and say hello. Sometimes you’ll get a response, sometimes not, but even rejection is good for practice.  If they do more than curtly nod back, then initiate conversation, ask them how their day is. Do this at places you frequent, like the convenience store, dry cleaners, coffee shop, with the checkout attendant, learn their names and talk with them. Chat with the person in line next to you. When you begin to put yourself out there in small doses and it will get easier to put yourself out there in larger doses. Most people like to be acknowledged and you’ll find you likely enjoy the socializing as well.

4. Maintain eye contact

For shy people this can feel tough, but there are some hacks you can do that might help. First, why is eye contact important. Think back to conversations you’ve had at work, with family, conversations you’ve seen in movies. When someone is holding eye contact they appear confident, put together, they seem like they know what they’re talking about. They may know nothing about they topic, they could be lying through their teeth, acting is a great example. It’s all fake, but does it seem fake? No. They’re holding eye contact. We trust people who hold eye contact. So learning this will greatly improve your social skills.

Some tricks to hold eye contact if you’re introverted:

Wear glasses

They don’t have to be functional, no one will know and you can pull them off once you’re comfortable.

Stay grounded

Keep one hand in your pocket and touch something, like a coin or a token.

5. Make active listening gestures

Another way to improve your social skills is to make someone feel like you’re listening to them deeper by nodding, slightly tilting your head, replying with hmm, ahh: it shows them you are engaging in the conversation, you’re actively listening. You don’t even necessarily need to respond to what they’re saying, you can simply gesture.

If you feel like insecure, ‘left out’ or excluded in groups, practice these gestures and you’ll notice people naturally direct their attention toward you when they’re talking

6. Just do it

It’s easy to talk ourselves out of something; like squeezing in a workout; choosing a healthier menu item; or reaching for another drink instead of water. Sometimes you have to just do it. You can trick your mind by giving your body the green light. Once your body is in motion your mind will follow.

One way to do that: smile.
When you smile you trick your brain into thinking you’re okay which then sends a signal to act instead of getting stuck in fear.

You can read so much great advice about ways to improve your social skills but nothing will replace practice. You’ve got to get out there and socialize in real life. If you’re introverted this may seem impossible but don’t think about it. Your analytical mind is not going to do you any favors at this point. It’s why you’re here in the first place. When something feels uncomfortable you just have to dive into action.

man and woman talking improving social skills

Improve your social skills 

If you’ve been shy, introverted, ‘not social’ much of your life, that is just a habit and you’ve conditioned yourself to repeat it. Social skills are learned and they are adaptable.

Next time you’re uncomfortable at an event you can remain quiet and do nothing, you can tell yourself, I’ll be social  next time, but you’ll go home disappointed. What is the worst that can happen? You say something and fumble? If that happens, just respond that you’re nervous, be open, be honest, people can intuitively sense when you’re trying, most will understand and pick up the slack. Plus, most people are busy thinking about their own replies and how others are thinking about them. They’re not going to analyze you.

It gets easier

Building social skills takes time. Just like you can’t go from walking around the block to running a marathon the next weekend or go from sitting at home on the couch to pushing 200 at the gym, social skills also take time. Make a little effort every day.

 

For some more helpful tips on how to socialize better and easier, these Ted Talks have some useful insight:

10 ways to have a better conversation | Celeste Headlee

An introvert’s guide to social freedom – Kaspars Breidaks

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