Apart from improving your health and life span, having a great social life plays a huge part in your overall success in life and that’s a known fact!
In the social world, there are two categories of people: Introverts and Extroverts. Most of us fall somewhere in-between these two (ambiverts), while some of us find ourselves towards one extreme or the other. Finding a fine balance between these two groups places you on a path to a great social life.
What does a great social life look like for you? Is it having more friends? Is it having the ability to strike up a conversation? Is it having the courage to say hello to someone you like? Below are some suggestions on how you can improve your social life.
#1. Don’t be too quick
Some of the most common traits extreme extroverts display is impatience and being too needy. In conversing with people, do most of the listening, and don’t be too quick to reply because you might just say something you didn’t mean. Take a moment to think before you speak.
Don’t come off as that person that brags about your achievements or bores people with your life’s struggles at every opportunity.
#2. Discipline Yourself
It’s okay to party hard and have a few drinks but when you do it in excess, or in at formal gathering, it might be embarrassing to deal with (in addition to the health problems you might face). You need to know your limits and discipline yourself to follow through.
#3. Identify Yourself
Underneath what society taught you and what you should be, you need to find the real you. You just might be trying to be someone you are not. When you identify your own desires, needs, and values, you can begin to make the right choices that will help you to create the right social circle and develop the right friendships.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and SAPA Project’s Personality Test are two great tools that can help you identify yourself if you are in doubt. Developing self-awareness is also critical, where you can objectively observe yourself in terms of your thoughts, emotions, behaviours and how you are with others.
There is no easy way to develop self-awareness. The ability to observe oneself and your own behaviour is often difficult, and to remain in a state that enables us to interact, experience emotions and remain self-aware is typically very challenging. Additionally, self-awareness straddles somewhat esoterical thinking. It is often closely linked to religious practices, but it’s becoming more mainstream in sports psychology, business circles, meditation and wellness retreats and is now being taught in some schools, under the ‘mindfulness’ banner.
In terms of strategies to help with this, perhaps ask yourself during social interactions, how am I behaving? How do I feel? What is my body language doing? Do I have anxiety? Am I euphoric? Always check in with your thoughts and feelings so that you can reflect and develop your self-awareness.
#4. Place yourself where you can meet new people
You have to decide (and actually go) to meet new people. Look, yes this may seem scary but as with everything, practise does make perfect.
Go to places where people gather. You can sign up as a volunteer in your local community or animal shelter, join a club, a group exercise class, attend social gatherings or just say ‘hi’ to your neighbours. Try to initiate a conversation with new people; don’t worry about the outcome. The more you do this, the better your chances of meeting new people. Getting over the fear to talk to random people and not take it personally when they don’t respond to you, is a really important step to take.
#5. Be Friendly
People with great social skills always converse with other people the moment they leave their homes. They wink at toddlers, greet neighbours, smile at people with no expectations and even engage in small talk with new people. All these learnt interactions go a long way to help generate great social rapport.
If you’re in a social gathering, don’t sit around and wait for people to come to you. Break the ice first! Walk up to someone new and introduce yourself with a smile and be warm and friendly in your approach. Strike up a conversation about the social gathering and if they seem to like it, keep it going! If you want tips on how to make conversation try out ‘How to talk to anyone‘ by Leil Downs.
The key is consistency, it’s not easy at first but with practice, you’ll be a master at it.
If you followed the strategies above, chances are that you’ll have made a couple of new friends. So what’s next? Don’t stop now. continue to build on those friendships and let those friendships introduce you to more potential friends. This way, you’ll expand your circle of friends and be even more comfortable around people, while simultaneously developing important social skills and tools that will help sustain your social life.
#7. Ask for Help
If you’re overly addicted to partying, drug use, alcohol, and sex, you might be doing yourself more harm than good. Apart from the health problems these addictions bring, people might begin to drift away from you, and as a result, might affect your social life.
Start by sharing your addiction problems with your friends and let them help you overcome it. If it gets too serious to deal with pay your doctor a visit and speak with a therapist,
Maybe you just don’t seem to fit in social gatherings, or you dislike being the centre of attention, or you leave parties and social gatherings early, or people misunderstand you and don’t invite you to their gatherings anymore. While it’s completely normal to sometimes feel insecure like this, you may need to develop your social skills and to learn the tools and strategies to help you in social situations. Sometimes it’s ok to walk away if it’s just not your scene.