How to Overcome Shyness With Girls

Most of the topics I talk about here are about how to overcome shyness but with so many questions specifically on the topic of how to overcome shyness with girls I thought we’d look at it with a little more detail.

Now first of all there’s something which is important to know. A few things actually. And keep these in mind because overcoming shyness is a mental game and sometimes the smallest things can help you see things very differently.

First up – a lot of people feel shy. A huge percent. Far more than you’d actually expect. I’ve got some figures from a study by Psychology Today over here. But the upshot is that a lot of the people you see in your day to day life are shy and either overcoming it or just hiding it.

how to overcome shyness with girlsAnd that brings me to the second point – some people are more shy than you, some less shy. It’s not a 1 or 0 state of shy or not shy – it effects people to different degrees and around different people.

Think of it this way. Who are you going to feel shy around your close family (brothers, sisters and parents) or a complete stranger on the street? Your best friend you’ve known for years or a girl in a bar?

Now there’s a reason for this. It’s down to how you perceive your social worth and how the lower levels of your brain have learned to automatically perceive theirs. It’s a survival instinct basically. The lower levels of your brain doesn’t understand reason which is why you can’t rationalize your  shyness away. It understands fear, danger and survival which is where your shyness comes from. It’s trying to protect you.

Unfortunately it doesn’t understand that we’re in the 21st century and it hasn’t quite caught onto the fact that if there’s any danger there it’s not from the girl at the bar – but more likely the guy near her who turns out to be her boyfriend. Or that if someone is actually on their own and looking to meet people there’s very little chance they’re going to be anything but happy to talk to you. But, like I said, there’s no reasoning with your brains outdated survival instinct.

So we know what the problem is, how about solving it?

Well I’ve got some good news on that front. Firstly the good news:

People tell themselves they can’t overcome shyness and it’s just who they are. This is making excuses to avoid change (another form of your lower brain getting in the way). Anyone can learn to overcome shyness.

It’s completely possible to learn how to overcome shyness with girls or anyone for that matter and it will certainly change your life. Shyness is something which can really hold you back but that just makes overcoming it ever more important.

The bad news is that it’s not an instant fix. There’s no pill you can take or self confidence quote you can tell yourself which will make it all better overnight. Overcoming shyness is a proper process which takes time to learn.

Most of you probably stopped reading at that point and went looking somewhere else, which is unfortunate. Plenty of other websites will pander to you and tell you it’s all fine just act confident and use some cheesy pick up line.  But the thing is overcoming shyness really isn’t that hard. It doesn’t take that long and the results you get can be pretty much from day one.

Like I said earlier, shyness isn’t a 1 or 0. A shy or not shy. It can effect you on different levels and learning to overcome it happens step by step so even if it takes you two or three months you’re seeing improvements every day or even every week.

If you’re interested there’s a full course on actually beating shyness for good here.

Quick Tips on How to Overcome Shyness with Girls

Now while I do suggest everyone learns to overcome their shyness with the link above there is a few bits of advice I can give anyone just looking for some basic advice for the moment.

First up would be throwing yourself into situations can be good and bad. You do need to break your comfort zones but if you throw yourself into the deep end you can actually end up reinforcing your shyness which can hurt you in the long run and really show your shyness in the short term.

In practice I’m saying it’s probably better to start talking to girls in a group on group setting where you can get used to it a bit or maybe a one on one if you can get it. Maybe avoid walking over to a whole group of girls on your own unless you honestly feel like you can handle it.

Everyone is different but I’d avoid any of the pick up lines you’ve heard in sitcoms or movies. The best line you can use is “Hi, my name is …” don’t over complicate the approach just go and say hi and take it from there.

Don’t worry so much about getting a negative reaction when you say hello. Yes, this will happen at some point. It happens to everyone, not everybody is going to get along. But for the most part most people will be happy to at least small talk for a bit and that can really boost your confidence to talk to someone else.

Also keep in mind what I said earlier but more people than you think statistically being shy. If you spot someone being quiet in a group or sitting on their own – go and talk to them. If they’re there then they’re likely struggling with shyness and looking to talk to someone so they’re automatically going to be happy to talk to you. This good response you get from talking to them is another great way to boost you confidence to talk to more people.

As far as the conversation goes try to keep it light. Don’t have a script in your head but you can talk about anything going on around you to break the ice a bit.

“Did you see how far that guy flew off the bar?”

“That looks really good, do you mind if I ask what you’re drinking?”

From there there’s a knack to getting a conversation going. My golden rule here is it’s better to be interested than interesting. You don’t want to spend a conversation talking about yourself or topics she can’t engage in. Be interested in what she’s saying and ask questions based on her responses.

If she’s engaging in the conversation properly (some people just won’t be interested others will be too shy to talk to a stranger and haven’t read up on it like you have) she’ll ask questions back so answer those. Learn to let a conversation flow naturally don’t make it a game of 20 questions either.

From there it’s all up to you. This isn’t a dating advice site so I’m not going to tell you how to get a first date out of it. But I am going to suggest some extra reading.

First up is this (again). You’d be amazed at the change you can make by overcoming shyness and it’s the best way.

Secondly take a look at how to approach a girl. This article is actually advice from a girls perspective it covers some things guys wouldn’t normally consider.

And thirdly you might want to take a look at our guide on keeping a conversation going. You’re not looking to hold a girl up as long as you can just for the sake of it but if a conversation is going well you want to avoid the fizzle of an awkward silence or saying the wrong thing.

And keep in mind that it’s entirely possible to overcome your shyness. Learning how to overcome shyness with a girl is a good step but properly beating your shyness once and for all can do so much for your life as a whole – not just your dating life.

 

Tagged As: how to overcome shyness, how to overcome shyness with girls, how to talk to girls, social phobia

Find Topics to Talk About

Sometimes you can just find yourself in a conversation flat lining without a topic to talk about. The conversation might have gone from laughing to dead silence within 60 seconds and now you’re both looking around nervously because you don’t know what to say next.

It’s never fun and even the best of conversations can fall flat on their face for seemingly no reason at all but really finding topics to talk about doesn’t have to be that hard. Because I mostly focus on overcoming shyness I prefer to look at things for the long term and on the guide on keeping a conversation going I said I don’t approve of topic ‘flash cards’ because ideally you want a conversation to just run smoothly and organically.

And I stick by that. If you’re having a trouble keeping a conversation going naturally (especially if it’s due to shyness) I suggest you even take a quick read though that article. I’d much rather people learned how to find topics within a conversation and let it go wherever it leads. That’s how you get a good conversation and it also takes a lot less work as opposed to constantly trying to remember a bunch of topics and conversation points.

topics to talk aboutBut that said sometimes it does help if you have some handy topics to talk about. If you don’t have problems talking to people sometimes you just don’t have the same interests as people and it can be hard to talk to people about interests when neither of you share the same interests so in this situation you have two choices.

How to Find Things to Talk About

  • MAKE a similar interest.
  • Talk about something generic.

Now personally I’m a fan of the first option. If you’re arranging something whether it’s a date or a day out for a few people then go to something which nobody has done before. Something easy to get into is ideal and you can usually find classes or groups for something going on. Anything at all from pottery to rock climbing – if you both go to something brand new then you’re creating a topic to talk about because you’re both trying to learn something new. It’s also a great ice breaker because you’re both outside of your comfort zone making natural conversation a lot easier.

It can also be a lot of fun and new experiences are good for you but sometimes this kind of thing is not always possible. If you’re in a situation which you can’t change or you’re perhaps too shy to instigate something like this then you’ll want to find some interesting topics to talk about. But before you start picking topic ideas out of a hat I urge you to think about what you want to gain from a conversation.

You see you can get different things from a conversation and this can really affect the type of conversation topics you should use. Do you want to look smart and impress someone? Do you want to get to know someone better? Do you want to just break the ice and get yourself into an organic conversation which you don’t need talking points for?

I’m hoping your answer is the third one but regardless of your reasoning you need to think about what a conversation topic says about you. If you’re using something in the news which involves an ethical debate you might come of as opinionated and argumentative and if you talk about soap stars or TV shows you might seem uneducated. You see the problem is it’s very subjective and as they say you only get one first impression. So ideally you want to make the right first impression on someone by opening with the right topics.

Before I tell you how to do that I want to make one thing very clear with you. I don’t suggest lying about who you are or what you believe in. In my shyness training I do have an exercise which involves talking to strangers with a set story about yourself beforehand but when having a conversation about someone be yourself. No matter how much of a nice person you are you’re not going to please everyone and I don’t personally think there’s any reason to try. Some people are just not going to get along and you’re better to have a few bad encounters with people very different from you because that way you can focus on finding people more your ‘wavelength’. So just be yourself around people and when a conversation flows organically filter what you say as far as being rude but don’t hide who you are.

Breaking the Ice

Finding a topic to break the ice with is easy. Just go with the small talk. Everyone is comfortable with small talk because we all know how to do it and if you dive straight into the middle of a conversation you might leave some people wondering how they found themselves there.

Use the same sort of details you’d fill out your Facebook pages with and I don’t mean what you had for breakfast that morning – I mean what kind of movies you like or work and school etc… easy ‘safe’ topics that everyone knows how to do. It’s even easier if there’s something going on around you because you can talk about that. Try to go for positive topics and branch out the conversation from there.

Listening and Sticking With a Topic

Once you have a conversation rolling don’t start panicking about what you’re going to talk about next or constantly talk about yourself. This is the most common mistake I see people making and it does you no good. Not every conversation is a competition or a game to survive. Take your time and enjoy it and that means listening to people. Really no matter how limited you think your social skills are a conversation is actually very easy. Humans might be different – but in some ways we’re all the time and there’s an easy blueprint to keep a conversation going with anyone:

  • Ask a question
  • Listen to the answer
  • Ask another question

Once you start a topic (and I mean any topic) and they tell you about their opinion or experience then just ask a question. If you keep asking open ended questions and genuinely pay attention to what they’re saying then your conversation will run smoothly. Once you feel more confident with this you can certainly expand upon it and start adding your own opinions and experiences and if they don’t ask a question then after a pause you can just as another question.

It might seem strange but really you don’t need topics to talk about. People talk about themselves. Even people who don’t really talk about themselves will still talk about themselves if you keep it light. You can talk about what’s going on around you.

Using Safe Topics

There’s a bit of a balancing act to talking to people for the first time. You don’t want to keep it purely on small talk because you’re not really having a good conversation there and you also don’t want to go too heavy unless they’re making it pretty clear they want to talk about it. If you do venture away from ‘safe’ topics into something which might get sticky then just keep your escape route in mind.

And I don’t mean know where the closest fire escape is. I mean have a conversation changer ready so if a topic gets a little too heated and awkward you can change it and get it back on track. Don’t panic too much about every tiny small silence though – sometimes people just need a moment to think.

Don’t Avoid Topics

If there’s something they keep bringing up or clearly want to talk about then let them. Don’t shy away a topic you don’t know anything about because if they really want to talk about it then they’ll be more than happy to fill you in. Don’t try to pretend you know what they’re talking about but keep listening and asking questions. Even if it’s something you don’t think you’ll be interested in you never know and it can also take a conversation in a whole new direction you didn’t expect.

Do Something!

Probably the best way to have something to talk about is to actually have something to talk about. I used to find myself bored a lot until I read something somewhere that said boring people are bored. And people are naturally interested by interesting people. So the answer there is easy really – go and do everything you can. Not only will that help your confidence and social skills (it’s hard to do a lot of activities without talking to people) but it’ll naturally give you interesting things to talk about because you do interesting things.

If you do something more generic and popular like jogging you’ll have an easy conversation with a lot of people who jog and if you do something a little less common like rock climbing (I use this as an example because it’s also a lot of fun) you have something interesting to talk about which less people have done. It’s also going to be a great way to practice your conversation skills because you’re probably going to meet people who do the same thing which means you don’t even need to worry about finding a topic to talk about.

Be Friendly

When it comes to socially connecting with people I have a few basic rules. Smile, listen and be friendly.

Be yourself by all means but if you’re just genuinely friendly with people you won’t have a hard time finding yourself into a conversation and keeping it going. People like talking to friendly people and it really takes the strain of you trying to keep a conversation going if people just naturally want to talk to you. You don’t have to be the loudest person in a room (and I’ll tell you – it’s normally the extroverts trying to be the life of the party that are hiding the insecurities) for people to want to talk to you.

Let it Ride

You’ll notice that I’m not just giving you a list of conversation topics to talk about. Because reading of a list mentally and waiting for them to stop talking so you can bring up your next talking point is not really a conversation – it’s a speech. In a real conversation it’s not one persons duty to keep it going but it should be free flowing and organic by itself.

Tagged As: conversation topics, things to talk about, topics to talk about

How to Be More Social

Feeling shy and socially awkward can affect many areas of your life – but none more-so than your social life. Learning how to be more social can vary from person to person but here are a few quick tricks which should help you start to make a real difference to your social life.

Generally if someone is having a problem with feeling a lack of social skills it’s down to either not being active enough to meet people and have new experiences, or it’s a problem with feeling shy and socially awkward in those situations. Commonly people who feel shy and socially awkward will then try to avoid new people and situations as well – which is why I’m going to show you how to improve on both.

how to be more socialOk, now first of all we’re going to look at feeling awkward in social interactions. This is more common with strangers or people you don’t know very well. Whether humanity likes to admit it or not, there are lower levels of the brain which still calls the shots. We might have evolved on a bit from lighting fires in caves but the lower levels of the brain are still trying to protect us.

Now basically if you’re feeling shy or socially awkward around someone (or a group of people) it’s that lower level of your brain trying to protect you from a perceived threat. This might seem a little silly, I mean it’s unlikely this person is going to physically attack you after all. But logic and reason only apply to the higher levels of your brain. The lower levels pick up on things you’ve learned subconsciously in the past.

Now we look at this in more detail in articles on how to overcome shyness but for now lets move on to actually learning how to be more confident around people.

Learning How to Be More Social Over Time

I have some good news and bad news for you at this point.

First the good news. You don’t have to throw yourself into the deep end here. You are going to need to learn to be more proactive with yourself and there’s ways to do this properly. But throwing yourself straight in can actually just make things worse for yourself. So there’s techniques you can use to properly prepare yourself. You don’t need to throw yourself straight into it at the start.

The bad news (which you’re not going to want to hear) is that learning to be more social will take time. It’s not a case of going from no change to instantly more social. If you do things properly you’re going to learn how to be more social slowly but constantly. I work with a lot of people overcoming their shyness and some take leaps each month while others make slow and steady changes each day.

So there’s no magic pill which is going to do this overnight for you but if you follow the techniques properly you can certainly make a huge change in your social life.

How to Be More Social – The Tricks

Being ‘In Your Head’

A common part of feeling shy and insecure is being too ‘in your own head’ during social situations. Now this isn’t all bad. People do need ‘filters’ to control their actions. Nobody wants to be the person who says something which makes everyone look at them oddly. But on the flip side of this – if you’re too introverted then you’re not making yourself open to other people.

So rather than be there ‘in the moment’ people worry about what people are thinking of them, what they should say next, where they should put their hands etc…

Relax.

It’s going to take time to get used to but it’s certainly one of the first things you should work on to improve your social life. Instead of focusing internally on your own running monologue of thoughts you need to look outwards. So pay attention to what people around you are saying and doing.

This is going to be harder at first, especially if you’ve been doing it for a while. Take a look at our guide on overcoming social awkwardness for some tips on how to engage with people in situations where you feel awkward. But basically keep on practicing this.

Whether it’s in a social situation where you’ve found yourself talking to a stranger or you’re just walking along the street. Rather than paying attention to what you’re thinking look around you. Every time you catch yourself falling back into your own head you need to catch yourself and find something else someone is doing to pay attention to.

  • Keep in mind a common ‘scapegoat’ some people do here is to distract themselves with something outside of the conversation. This is usually to help them avoid eye contact but it’s just as bad as being inside your own head. Pay attention to the people around you. It’ll get easier the more you practice it and eventually become second nature.

Self Image

Now when it comes to self image there are different schools of thought. If you want to learn how to be more social and confident then you’re going to need to have a little faith in yourself.

It’s human to focus on our flaws. Trust me, everyone does it. Some people more than others and some people let it affect them more – but everyone does it. But the thing is these problems are always much bigger in your head. Some people worry about their looks, their teeth, their level of education, the amount of money they make and the list goes on and on…

But I’m going to tell you something here. Nobody really cares. Everyone is so wrapped up in their own life worrying about people noticing their own flaws to notice other peoples. The few people that do are rarely worth bothering with and, in my experience, trying to cover their own insecurities.

Now there’s two ways you can go about this. You can either make a change which makes you feel more confident with yourself or accept it. And either works. You certainly don’t need to change anything to learn to be more social and it’s down to you if you want to.

If you feel like you have a problem with your teeth – call the dentist tomorrow and see what can be done.

I you think people notice your lack of an education – take a night class or just start reading more.

But most of the problems people think they have with themselves are in their head. Nobody is perfect, everyone has something they’d like the change about themselves. But the trick is to realize that everyone is like this and not worry about it. It’ll get a lot easier if you practice what I suggested above. Get out of your head during social situations and stop worrying about small stuff like this. Eventually you’ll even forget you had a problem at all.

Now I’ll tell you something here. When i was younger I had a pretty nasty burn from a kettle falling on me. It left a sizable scar on my chest and the skin graft which followed left a scar on my leg. And I’m not even talking a manly looking scar – it looks like my skin bubbled and burned. Pretty gross and yes – a few years ago I couldn’t not think about this. Anytime I was faced with a situation where people might see I’d panic and picture everyone laughing at me.

As I gradually improved my confidence and social skills (I got out of my own head basically) I stopped worrying about this. Then two years ago I found myself on a beach in the south of France lying on the sand in my shorts. I’d been there nearly five hours with a large group of people (mostly strangers) before anyone even mentioned it.

It wasn’t like I was trying to ignore it. It honestly didn’t matter. I’d completely forgotten about it and it didn’t bother me when they asked. They asked out of curiosity and we all had a laugh when I tried to pass it off as a shark bite from my swim at lunch.

My point here is that these things which seem huge to you really don’t bother people the way you think they do. You can’t learn to forget about them overnight but it certainly comes with getting out of your head.

How to Be More Outgoing and Social

Learning how to be more outgoing and social can really depend on how social you are at the moment. As you’re practicing techniques to improve your social skills then you’re going to want to start exposing yourself to more social situations and making more of an effort in each one.

For some people this is going to be as simple as finding a reason to walk into town and smiling at people you make eye contact with. For others it’s going to mean making an effort to join groups and activities. Now there are plenty of websites which have lists of activities you can join like Craigslist for example.

Really it doesn’t matter what you do here. If you’re getting out of the house and into social situations then it’s going to help. Social activities are certainly a better option and don’t be afraid to try something new. If you don’t feel confident enough to go along to something then you can do one of two things.

  • Ask a friend to go along with you even once or twice until you get used to the class.
  • Join something new so that everyone is begging just as you are.

Hopefully I’ve given you some food for thought here. Learning to be more social is certainly going to be easier for some people than for others but anyone can do this. No matter how socially awkward you feel, learning how to be more social can 100% change your life for the better and is entirely possible.

Tagged As: be more social, how to be more confident, how to be more outgoing and social, how to be more social

How Long Does it Take to Overcome Shyness

The question everyone has when they first start looking into overcoming shyness is how long is it going to take to overcome shyness. I know this for two reasons. First of all it was the first thing I wanted to know when I started looking into overcoming shyness. Secondly since starting this site I’ve been talking to a lot of people who are learning how to stop being shy.

It’s natural to want to know how long it’s going to take. It’s also a good thing to consider because a big part of this is about setting goals and targets for yourself.

Overcoming Your Shyness – The Time Frame

Notice I say overcoming YOUR shyness there. Not overcoming shyness. The thing you need to keep in mind is that everyone experiences shyness differently and it’ll affect people differently and to different degrees. Being shy is generally a blanket term used to describe shyness and social anxiety but that can break down into many different levels.

I’ve spoken to people who want to overcome shyness because they make any excuse to avoid going out. I’ve spoken to people who feel they’re shy because they can’t talk to people if the group is bigger than half a dozen. Shyness affects people differently and it’s going to take a different amount of time to learn to overcome.

Some people might start overcoming their shyness within weeks. It could (theoretically) take years but I’ve never known anyone to take that long. As a rough guideline I’d say three months. It’s impossible to give everyone a timeframe and you might find it takes less or more time but I’d be surprised if you don’t start to see a change within three months.

While You Overcome Shyness

time to overcome shynessThis is also something you have to keep in mind. When you’re learning something like this it’s not a matter of reading a few books and following a few techniques and then x amount of time later you’re no longer shy. It’s a learning process like anything else. I think there’s a lot of ways to learn how to overcome shyness. I think some people manage to overcome shyness by luck and for others it can just become worse overtime.

The best way to learn to overcome shyness is to properly understand it. If you look at any of the articles on shyness and social awkwardness I discuss the ideas and the reasons behind being shy. I look at the techniques which lead you through overcoming shyness. But while you’re working on this you might have noticed that things are slowly getting easier.

Because the shyness techniques I use don’t throw you into the deep end and make it worse for you you’re learning how to properly deal with your shyness when you find yourself in a social situation you’re learning how to deal with them.

To start with, it might find yourself a situation and one of the techniques will come to mind. Maybe a few weeks later you get yourself into a conversation or two if you’re thinking constantly about the techniques. Ideally, by the end of the process, you’ll not have that problem at all. We want to get you to the point where you don’t even need to think about it.

We’re not using daily ‘feel good’ quotes here. I know I’ve said this before but it’s a point I want to make clear – learning to overcome shyness is not done by motivational quotes and useless bits of advice. It’s done by understanding your shyness and ‘re-training’ yourself to not react badly to social situations.

I hope that sounds easy, because it is. The hard part to all of this is getting this kind of advice in the first place because most of the advice being circulated is by people who know nothing about shyness and put people into situations where they’re not actually going to be able to overcome it.

Anyone, regardless of how shy you are, can learn to beat shyness. It’s just a matter of knowing the techniques to use and following them properly. There’s no magic pill which will do it for you, but there’s no tricks and nonsense you need to put yourself through. Learn the basic A-B-C rules and follow them.

Learning to Overcome Shyness Faster

I’m pretty straightforward with the techniques we use here on over shyness. There’s no tricks or cheap gimmicks to do this. But there are some things you can do to overcome shyness faster. You still need to follow the basic techniques and constantly apply them but setting yourself a realistic timeline and noting your progress along the way can really help speed things along.

One of the reasons for this, among several, is that it can help you realise how far you’ve come that much faster. I don’t believe in one liner motivation quotes but I do believe in being motivated by your own results. If you accidently find yourself handling a social situation where you’d usually panic? You can use that success to inspire yourself into handling other social interactions and you might be amazed at the difference this can make.

Now don’t get me wrong here. Forcing yourself into situations where you’re not ready is most likely not going to help. You will need to stay patient here but really it’s all worthwhile in the end. Even if it takes you three months to get anywhere – your life is still changed (for the better) in a big way three months later.

This might not have been the answer you’re looking for. I’ve seen books and guides offer to show people how to overcome shyness in ‘7 days or less’ and all that jazz. But even if part of you wants to believe that it’s possible, deep down you know that kind of nonsense doesn’t work. Real techniques from someone who has actually went through shyness and practice is what will make the difference.

But the buck ends with you. If you don’t like the answer you’re getting here then by all means go and look for a guide offering the ‘super dooper confidence buster in 6 hours while you sleep!’ or something like that. And I wish you the best, I do. But if you want to make a real change to your life, overcome that shyness and get the life you want? Then it’s going to take time and effort, but it’s going to be worth it.

Tagged As: over come shyness, overcoming shyness, shyness

Overcoming Social Awkwardness

While shyness can affect people in a lot of different ways one of the more common issues people face is with social awkwardness. Now, just like shyness, this comes in many different forms and levels. Anything from just trying to avoid eye contact during a conversation to full blown avoiding people because social situations are just too awkward for them. Being shy or introverted can really affect how you deal with people and this can really affect your life. Not being able to interact with people as much as you’d like will lose you opportunities and probably won’t get the social life you want.

But don’t worry – I’ve got a few exercises you can start practicing today which can help you stop being socially awkward. Keep in mind just like learning how to overcome shyness – this kind of thing takes time. You might be lucky and see a change right away but even if you don’t stick with it. And always keep in mind what I say in my shyness training – you need to retrain your social behavior and not force yourself. If you’re just forcing yourself you’re probably just going to reinforce the same bad practices so instead you need to properly pay attention to what you’re doing and understand the situation.

How to Overcome Social Awkwardness

1. Just Smile

Mel overcoming social awkwardnessI don’t mean walk around like you’re deranged or you’re carrying someone thumb in your pocket. Your goal isn’t to scare people off but the best way to instantly remove any of your own social awkwardness is to get yourself a warm reception. Now I don’t know if it’s just the way we’re wired but if you talk to the majority of people you don’t instantly get a warm reception from people. Maybe we’re cynical or we just don’t care about others for the most part – who knows. But if you stand with the same blank and expresionless face as most people do it’s not going to get you far.

Go with my general rule – just smile. I consider myself a genuinely nice guy which contributed a lot to overcoming my shyness and social awkwardness. If you just smile in a friendly way towards people they’re just going to naturally react better to you. A simple smile can make a huge difference but we really don’t smile as much as we think we do. Next time you’re walking along a busy street just look around and see how many people are really smiling.

Now obviously if you’re having a bad day I’m not saying walk around with a massive grin. But even if I’m just walking along the street to pick up some shopping and I start to feel socially awkward and avoiding peoples eye line (not that I do this anymore but I certainly did in the past) I’d find something to smile about. I’m generally pretty easily amused so this isn’t hard for me but everyone has something that makes them smile. Fix your mind on that and keep it there.

By greeting everyone with a warm reaction you’re going to get yourself a warm reaction from anyone you happen to interact with. A simple smile can hugely transform a social interaction. Not only will they react better with you but you’re going to get that confidence boost from their warmer reaction and that’s really going to help with your awkwardness.

Maybe don’t walk around grinning inanely at people but also don’t be put off by the few grumps you’ll probably meet. I follow this rule myself a lot and was walking along the street minding my own business one day and someone just out of the blue took offence to me and I smiled at them. Maybe he was just having a bad day, I’m still not sure to this day. Their reaction was a an annoyed

“What are you smiling at?”

I’m not really sure what prompted the answer but I replied.

“Life.”

Not only did it get me a better reception with a stranger who had apparently been annoyed at me in the past but we ended up talking for a while and both walked away smiling. I know it probably sounds like some pretty bad advice but honestly I used to be the most socially awkward person around and following this concept alone can make a huge difference.

2. Practice. Practice. Practice.

Now, again, in my shyness training we cover ways of practicing for social situations before they happen. You don’t want to force yourself into situations where you’ll panic because it can end up reinforcing your social awkwardness but you can certainly practice even with the people around you.

For example one pretty obvious physical clue of shyness and being socially awkward is being unable to hold eye contact with people you’re talking to or even walking past. If you find yourself casting your eyes downwards or finding distractions in your surroundings then you need to get into the habit of catching yourself doing this.

You can start by forcing yourself to keep your head up while you’re walking. Once you feel comfortable with this you can try to maintain eye contact when you catch someones eye and give them a quick smile before looking away. Then that’s an easy scale up to following that smile with a quick ‘hi’ as you walk past. Now this kind of thing might take a day or it might take months – it completely depends on you. But what’s important is you continue this practice of catching yourself following the same patterns you’re trying to break.

You’re not putting yourself into any confrontational situations by glancing, smiling or saying hi to anyone. Your goal should be continue to practice this and slowly retrain yourself that basic interactions like this have no call for shyness and social awkwardness. Now obviously there’s a limit to this. If you’re walking around saying hi to everyone you pass you’re probably going to weird someone out. Just judge the situation and at the very least keep your eyes from the ground and follow the ‘just smile’ rule.

Learning to keep eye contact with people can be pretty hard. Introverted people generally feel like they’re being rude for staring or something and cast their eyes downwards. But actually this is your shyness ‘self defense’ kicking in. It’s actually impolite to not look at people when you’re talking to them and what seems very hard to do sometimes is actually easy for people not suffering social awkwardness. Now I’ve talked before about the average time to hold eye contact and how to do it etc… but basically it’s just something you’re going to need to work on. Start small and scale it up, it’ll be hard at first but if you keep practicing it’ll become second nature.

3. It’s Easy to be Interested

social skills

The first two steps are great for lowering your social awkwardness while you’re walking along the street or something but at some point you’re going to get yourself into an actual conversation with someone. Now don’t panic. Firstly remember that you shouldn’t force yourself into this kind of situation unless you feel ready but if it does happen follow the basic guidelines I outline in my shyness advice.

And when your goal is overcoming social fear in these situations then I have two general rules to stick with.

  • Smile.
  • Keep eye contact.
  • Be interested – not interesting.
The first bit is easy, it’s just rule 1 and will get you a better reception from whoever you’re talking to. The second one comes with practice and can actually take the longest to get to grips with but the third is actually the easiest and can make a huge difference to conversations.
I talk to a lot of people who are suffering from shyness and when we’re on the topic of social awkwardness and talking to strangers (and sometimes even people they know) their biggest problem is keeping a conversation going. Their mind will go empty and they’ll just run out of things to say. But the truth is you don’t need to be interesting. You don’t need to have done anything interesting lately or know what’s going on in the world to talk about. Just ask a question. Look for something around you or about them.
Follow their answer with a question about that answer and just follow that rule. It’s so easy and so simple but you can do it with anything. As a basic example:
“What’s the book you’re reading?”
“It’s just a course book for a class I’m taking.”
“Oh, what’s the class on?”
“I’m taking French in the local college.”
“Oh wow, how long have you been going?”
“Just a few weeks now I’m thinking about moving their next year. Have you ever been?”
And you have a conversation from nothing. It’s so simple and you might be surprised how easy it is to do. Just remember it’s easier to be interested than it is to be interesting.
Learning how to not be socially awkward can take a different amount of time for everyone but stick with it and you might be amazed at the difference it can make.

Tagged As: awkwardness, being socially awkward, social awkwardness, socially awkward