It can be hard to socialize, especially if you’re with a large group of people. You may struggle to know when to say something or even just completely choke up. These traits can cause you to look awkward in front of people. Luckily, there are plenty of tips to take on board to avoid any future embarrassing moments.
Own Your Flaws
One of the best things to do is own your flaws. If you’re a terrible dancer, just own up to it and have some fun! If you accept your flaws or make a lighthearted joke about them, you won’t feel so awkward when you’re dancing or laughing. Challenge any negative self-talk and give yourself a little compassion.
Ask for Clarification
If you’re unsure of something, there’s no harm in asking for clarification. For example, Social Self writes, “If the conversation becomes confusing and awkward, try listening carefully, then paraphrasing what you heard. Doing this shows you have been listening to the other person. It also lets you double-check that you have understood them.”
Seek Feedback from a Trusted Friend
You can always ask a trustworthy friend if you think you’ve made others feel awkward. Make sure to have specific conversations with them, as this will allow them to give you some honest feedback. You can use this information to help you with future conversations; taking your friend’s feedback on board will ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Learn and Apply Etiquette Rules
Etiquette helps you understand what’s expected of you in certain social situations. You can familiarize yourself with social norms for an upcoming social setting. This will help you feel more prepared. Having this knowledge can help you feel less awkward in any social environment.
Conduct Background Research
Conduct background research on the type of social setting you’re heading to and the types of people you’re going to meet. Try to avoid talking about any sensitive topics. If these do accidentally come up, Very Well Mind suggests using tact to manage awkward conversations. This may mean changing the topic of the conversation completely.
Take an Improv Class
An improv class will force you to react to new environments, taking you out of your comfort zone and teaching you how you should be acting in these situations. They’ll teach you how to form a quick and natural response to social cues. These classes can really help reduce social awkwardness, so it may be worthwhile signing up for one.
Try to make it a personal mission to learn about others in a social situation. This is supported by the New York Times, which writes, “You never know less about someone than when you first meet them. That’s also something you can use to your advantage. People like to talk about themselves.”
Embrace the Moment
Try just being yourself in social situations. People will be able to see straight through you if you put on a persona, especially if it’s far from the real you. Instead, focus on being genuine and engaging in authentic conversations. It will create more meaningful conversations and less socially awkward moments.
Engage Others with Questions
Asking another person questions will shift their attention from you to them. People will love being asked questions about themselves, as it gives them a chance to show who they are. This is a form of active listening, and Indeed writes, “Active listening skills are some of the most important skills to help you overcome social awkwardness.”
Avoid Unfair Self-Comparisons
Don’t measure yourself against others in social settings; it can leave you feeling inadequate and cause even more awkwardness. You should remember that everyone in life is unique and has their own traits, so there’s no point trying to be like anybody else. Focus on your own conversations and not those others are having.
Attend Social Functions with Familiar People
If you go to events with someone you know, then you’ll feel more comfortable, reducing your awkwardness. Their presence will give you a safe space, especially if you’re in a large group. It can also be beneficial to observe friends who are great in social situations, as you’ll be able to pick up some tips from them.
Give Genuine Compliments
The Watson Institute writes, “Giving compliments is an important social skill that can help strengthen relationships, build trust, and enhance positivity in social interactions.” When you start a conversation with someone, make sure to give them a genuine compliment before you go deeper into the conversation. They can work as icebreakers and help build rapport with a person.
View Socialization as an Experiment
Try to approach social situations as an opportunity to test and refine your skills, especially if they are in a more casual setting. You can adapt your social strategies based on your comfort levels and how you respond to social situations. It can reduce pressure in the future as you become more comfortable in social environments.
Seek Professional Help if Needed
If your social anxieties become too much to handle or you can’t change your awkwardness on your own, then you can seek out professional help. This will give you professional guidance, offering strategies and techniques to improve your awkwardness. This would be a huge step to take, but a proactive way to help yourself.
Join Social Groups
You can join groups that align with your hobbies or interests. This puts you in a social setting, but in a more familiar one, as you’ll be feeling more comfortable. Shared interests provide you with natural conversation starters and can reduce pressure when it comes to thinking of things to say or how to act.
Connect2Affect writes, “Developing mindfulness can help you observe your thoughts and feelings so you can better understand how you react to situations.” Techniques such as deep breathing can help manage anxiety, which should also help reduce any social awkwardness. Mindfulness will improve your focus and engagement in conversations.
Set Realistic Social Goals
Whenever you have a social event coming up, set realistic goals before you attend. They can be simple goals, such as initiating a conversation or asking someone you don’t know a question. Every time you meet these goals, there will be a boost of confidence, which will then help you in future social environments.
Telling yourself positive affirmations each day can help ease your awkwardness, as it’ll help build confidence in yourself. This is backed by Mather Hospital Northwell Health, which writes, “We feel best when we are less stressed, confident, positive and feeling good. Using affirmations in your daily routine will help increase your self-esteem.”
Positive Body Language
Having open and positive body language will help to make you appear more confident. Try things like smiling, making eye contact, and having a relaxed posture. Positive body language will help to make you more approachable; this can also help to make others feel more comfortable and, therefore, reduce any awkwardness in social situations.
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