Some people have social confidence to spare. It's easy to see that some children are seemingly born with great social confidence, while others are not. Social confidence seems to come and go for most adults.
A serious lack of social confidence can lead to isolation and stifle career growth or social life. If there's one part of your life in which it pays to be confident, it's in your social interactions.
Use these strategies to increase your social confidence and feel comfortable in all social situations:
- Practice. Every person that crosses your path is a practice partner for your social skills. The more practice you get, the better you’ll become at interacting with others. The better you become, the more confident you’ll feel. There are all kinds of things you can practice: Eye contact, small talk, non-verbal communication, telling jokes, and more.
- Rehearse. Imagine yourself being successful socially. Before you head into a social situation, rehearse in your mind. See yourself being confident and competent. Imagine others responding to you in a positive way. In time, you’ll learn to feel the same way out in the real world.
- Adopt an effective attitude. It’s not a matter of life and death. No one is judging you or spending any of their time thinking about you. In fact, they’re probably wondering what you’re thinking about them.
Interacting with people in a social context should be fun and pleasant. Have a reasonable perspective on the situation.
- Focus on self-development. When you feel better about yourself, you’ll be more socially confident. Whether that means getting in shape, learning a new skill, or meditation, any enhancements you make will leave you feeling more confident.
- Learn. Learn about communication. Pick one area, such as nonverbal communication, and become an expert. Then, get out and practice. When you’ve mastered that, pick a new area to learn about. The more you know, the better you’ll become. That leads to real confidence.
- Avoid the need to be perfect. You don’t have to be perfect. You don’t have to be the funniest person at the party. You don’t have to be the most charming person in the bar. Perfection is an unreasonable goal that leads to anxiety and a lack of confidence.
- Join a social group. You know a group of people that hang out together. It might be at work. It might be a friend that has a separate group of friends. See if you can join, too. Finding the right group of people can boost your social confidence. Perhaps you already have a group of friends. Spend more time with them. Or, you might form your own group and become the social director!
- Combine social events with activities you’re good at. Are you a great softball player? Join a softball league. Are you an expert at riding a motorcycle? Join a motorcycle club. Find an activity you excel at and turn it into a social activity. Make a list of everything you do better than the average person. Now, find a way to do that in a group setting. You might join a band, a chess club, or a group that square dances on the weekend.
Think about how much your life would change if you were more socially confident. How would it impact your career? How would your social life be affected?
It's hard to think of any potential downside to having greater social confidence. If you weren't lucky enough to be born with perpetual confidence, you’ll want to grow and nurture this important attribute.