Being socially awkward can happen to anyone, especially when trying to make friends in unfamiliar situations. Whether it’s because you’re at a big party or some simple gathering, it all comes down to getting out of your comfort zone and improving your social skills going forwards.
But before we can move on, it’s important to know the difference between being socially awkward or having social anxiety. Being socially awkward means you’re too self-conscious, that you end up behaving in certain ways to please people. Rather than being authentic. Having social anxiety is a different story. It’s more about experiencing emotional and physical stress such as fear, panic attacks, and excessive sweating during social situations.
Just because you’re socially awkward doesn’t mean that you’re bad. Social situations can be quite intimidating, yet it can still come off as easy to other people. Don’t worry about it. Whether they have been building their social skills unknowingly or through conscious effort, what matters is that you can stop being socially awkward too.
1. Getting to know yourself better through keeping a journal
Whenever you catch yourself being socially awkward, pause for a moment. Try to figure out what exactly is making you feel uncomfortable. And why it’s making you feel like so. Write it down in your journal as soon as you can.
Keeping a journal allows you to learn more about yourself. It helps you reflect and figure out how to better handle uncomfortable situations. It lets you keep track of the progress you’ve made along the way.
If you’re thinking about avoiding social interactions because of being socially awkward, know that it will not help you in the long run. It’s always better to think of it as an opportunity to improve your social skills.
2. Learning to listen more by talking less
Not having a single clue about the people you’re interacting with can make you feel socially awkward. You can’t immediately think of what to talk about compared to the people you’ve known for a while.
It’s good to remember that social interactions are a two-way street. You exchange things about each other through simple questions. With this in mind, you’ll be able to make meaningful conversations with people.
When someone talks, listen well. Stop thinking about what you should say next. Instead, let yourself visualize their story and wonder. Let them finish before ask proper questions related to their story. Do answer or give advice when asked for it.
3. Understanding Social Cues
Some socially awkward people may have been used to doing solitary activities most of their life that they didn’t have the chance to pick up on social cues. If you’re among them, know that it’s never too late for you.
People communicate through words and actions. Sometimes words aren’t enough to fully grasp what someone means. And actions can also be easily misunderstood. That’s why it’s important to learn and understand social cues.
If someone is smiling, nodding, and facing their body towards you—take it as a positive signal. If someone is always looking away, tapping their foot, and doing something else while you’re talking—they’re not interested and never take it personally.
4. Going easy on yourself
With today’s technology, it’s unnecessary to learn things the hard way. Always start with whatever makes you feel comfortable. Do you prefer to socialize through texts and calls or face-to-face?
No one is born with excellent social skills. Everybody starts somewhere. You can start with apps to make friends online. And when you’re ready, you can then have a face-to-face conversation with them.
If you prefer to start in person, ask your close friends to introduce you to someone they think you’re highly compatible with. Because it’s easier to talk with people who have the same interests as you.
5. Learning by observing others
Let’s face it: You’re not gonna stop being socially awkward overnight. Improving your social skills can take a while because you have to unlearn bad habits, familiarize social cues, and practice what you’ve learned every chance you get.
It’s good to remember that your journey doesn’t have to be stressful most of the time. You can always learn by observing how other people socialize. Do you have someone who inspires you?
If so, observe their body language and facial expressions when they’re talking and listening. Observe how they respond to proper and improper questions. After, practice what you’ve observed in front of the mirror before applying it.
6. Joining groups or clubs
It’s not impossible to make friends while being socially awkward. It’s just that your social life would be limited. Joining a group or a club that enjoys what you’re passionate about is a great place to meet people.
You’ll not only be able to apply what you’ve learned, but you’ll also have the chance to build friendships within because you’ll get to see them every now and then. No more asking when you can hang out with them again.
The wonderful thing about today is that you can grow with other people, and you can do it in person or online! Again, start with what you’re comfortable with before trying to get out of your comfort zone.
7. Accepting Invitations
Isn’t it great that we will always have something to celebrate about? So when someone invites you, know that they’re thinking of you and they want to share with you a wonderful moment of their life.
Don’t hesitate on accepting their invitations. These people might have already noticed that you’re socially awkward, but it hasn’t stopped them from inviting you over. It will be a chance for you to improve your way of communicating with them.
Going to parties is one of the easiest ways to make friends because you and the people who are invited have something in common—a mutual friend! Having such in common will make them trust you a bit more than they trust complete strangers.
8. Asking your friends for advice
People who have become your friends chose to be your friend because they like you despite your social awkwardness. Your friends are there to support you and are ready to help you when you need a hand. All you have to do is ask.
Ask them what they notice about your way of socializing when in a large or small crowd of people. Ask what they think you can improve upon, and their suggestions for it. Remember that they’re only trying to help you, not judge you.
It may not be easy to open up to them about it. But they may have experienced being socially awkward too. And there are things that you may not notice about yourself that your friends do. It’s also a great way to bring them closer to you.
9. Join a community of socially awkward people
People have been forming communities through online forums since the dawn of the internet. It’s never been easier to find communities for socially awkward people with a few clicks on Google. You need a community that can support you.
What’s great about joining communities is that you can make friends there, help each other grow, and learn how not to be socially awkward together. So when you’re feeling lonely, you’ll be reminded that you’re not alone in the boat.
It can serve as your safe space, wherein you don’t have to worry about getting judged, receiving unsolicited opinions, and needing to explain yourself. You’ll be able to work on yourself at your own pace around supportive people.
10. Being persistent through embracing your socially awkward self
With so many things to think about as we grow older, it’s no surprise how we can get detached sometimes. Like when you feel uncomfortable in a certain situation but you can’t point out why. But all hope is not lost.
Embracing your social awkwardness is a chance to listen to yourself and figure out what exactly is going on. During social interactions, it can also help you persist through conversations despite the feeling rising within you.
Being persistent is the key to improving the important social skills you need when you’re socializing at casual parties or business events. You don’t have to make big changes to yourself. Being socially awkward doesn’t define you, it’s a part of you.
Have you ever looked back and thought how you were great at handling social situations before, but now you started becoming socially awkward? Don’t worry, social atrophy is a thing. It happens when you get too caught up with your work or hobbies, that you don’t have time to socialize. Remembering the ways above will help you get back on your feet.
There’s no guarantee that you will not be socially awkward ever again. Social skills are something you need to constantly work on. But if it’s any of any comfort, being socially awkward is, not something to be embarrassed about. Everyone experiences it time and again. So go keep relearning and practicing until you make it!