Here are 10 thought-provoking tips to help develop your social life. Building great connections and having lasting relationships with people is key to a very successful life. Multiple studies have shown that people who have great social support live happy, longer, and healthier lives.
Having great connections helps you to surge ahead in your career, or rebound when things are tough. However, relationships are not something you can buy. You have to build and sustain them.
I’ll share with you the top ways your social skills can be improved. And by observing these 10 tips for a better social life, soon enough, you’ll be a master of relationships. So let’s get right into it!
#1. IDENTIFY AND ACCEPT YOURSELF FIRST
Regardless of what race, religion or creed you belong to, to be truly satisfied in relationships, you first need to identify yourself within.
Societal conditioning can often dictate to us how you should be and act. This can lead to you being an inauthentic form of yourself. Accepting yourself is about accepting the authentic you.
If I asked you right now, how would you describe yourself? What are your personality traits? What are your strengths? Your weaknesses? Can you confidently answer who you truly are? And an even more difficult question, are you happy with who you are?
When you identify your desires, needs, and values you can build the right friendships and begin to create the right social circle. Knowing yourself also allows you to develop healthy boundaries and build positive relationships.
Other things that can help you to work out who you are, are personality tests. One of the most common ones being Myers-Briggs type indicators. Personality tests help you to understand some of your personality traits and therefore help to understand more about yourself.
Having a strategy to become more self-aware is also critical, to help you self analyse and understand which social skills you need to develop. It may also be beneficial to find a coach who can help identify your personality traits and encourage personal self-awareness.
#2. REPLACE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS
If you always have negative thoughts when it comes to your social interactions, you might be bringing a negative perspective into reality.
For instance, if you have always had thoughts like “I will embarrass myself, and I’m really awkward”, you may end up sitting at a corner in a public gathering. And if you keep thinking that way, the idea of mingling with people or attending public functions will become increasingly more difficult.
You need to come out of your shell, and deal with the fear of rejection and every other negative thought that comes with it if you really want to connect with people. Whisper to yourself that “if talking to a particular person doesn’t end well, at least I tried!”. When you practice this often, you’ll become more confident in conversing with all kinds of people.
Always avoid thoughts that are not productive, you need to practice this consistently to ensure that you are not putting yourself in a state that makes you less enjoyable to be around.
#3. TRY OUT THE SNOWBALL TECHNIQUE
The snowball technique is quite simple. If you have an important meeting or gathering to attend, before you get there, smile, talk, and even say hi to a few people. By starting to smile or say ‘hi to one or two people initially, will encourage you to continue to smile and say ‘hi’ to more people, thereby creating a snowball effect. So by the time you reach the meeting or gathering, you have in effect, warmed up your social skills.
Engaging in conversations is likened to sports. You have to warm up in order to play well. People with great social skills always converse with other people the moment they leave their homes. They wink at toddlers, greet neighbours, and even have small talks with new people. All these will help them get to their peak before getting to important meetings, hangouts, or dates.
Don’t judge or blame yourself the next time you feel anxious. Just remember to slowly build your confidence by warming up. Eventually, words will come naturally, your snowball will grow, and you’ll become more confident.
#4. IMITATE AND OBSERVE
One of the fastest and easiest ways to achieve a better social life is to hang around those with better social skills. You’ll begin to pick up some of the social skills you didn’t have before.
Look around you and identify someone whose social life you admire. Initiate a conversation with that person, observe them and see how they do it, soon enough you’ll begin to pick up what they do and its a great way to learn social skills!
Bestselling author, Olivia Cabane elaborated on this tip In her book titled “The Charisma Myth“. In the book, she explained how to communicate with different kinds of people and how their charisma influences you.
#5. GIVE MORE ATTENTION TO YOUR BODY LANGUAGE
This is one of the most important tips for achieving a better social life. You have to pay attention to your body language when you’re around people. Your body language is non-verbal, it’s constantly communicating signals, messages and energy to those around you. It is a vital tool in our everyday interactions.
If you want to sustain a conversation with a person, you must appear open to it; be relaxed, look like you’re paying attention, and make sufficient eye contact and have an open posture
When you use positive body language it can add real strength in your ability to engage with people and really enhance the impression you want to make.
According to a bestselling author Olivia Cabana, when you’re uncomfortable, you’re not displaying the body language and traits associated with charisma. She also warns about clothing decisions if you want to exhibit charisma in the place of work.
#6. LET YOUR FOCUS BE OUTWARD
This is another way to improve your social skills. According to Dale Carnegie, the renowned author of the bestseller ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People’, one can make more friends in less than two months just being interested in other people, compared to getting other people to be interested in you..
Don’t be that person that bores people by talking about how successful you are or the struggles you’re going through over a dinner table. You must learn to listen to others, make them feel really listened to and that you are truly interested in them. This opens up the channels of communication and conversation will flow more readily.
#7. USE THE CCA TECHNIQUE TO MAKE PEOPLE OPEN UP
If you think about having something to say before any social situation, you’re less likely to have awkward silences when you meet new people. A good strategy is to write some interesting things to talk about, so you always have great conversation topics up your sleeve. Carol A. Fleming, a speech pathologist, came up with an interesting technique called CCA. She uses this technique to break the ice. The technique is called Comment, Comment, Ask. Fleming discovered that it’ll be more comforting and less creepy to give a couple of comments before asking a personal question.
Fleming has been using this technique for quite a while now and it’s been amazing. The technique is very useful especially when you’re with new people. This technique can be used in almost every social setting.
#8. GIVE COMPLIMENTS FREELY
If you seem to be in doubt, say something nice. Saying the right words can open the door to conversation and make someone’s day. Studies have also shown that we increase our life satisfaction when we give compliments to someone else.
Simply appreciating a co-worker or telling someone you love their shirt and that it looks fantastic can be a great way to instigate a happy rapport. But make sure to avoid being disingenuous with your compliments!
#9. PUT YOURSELF IN THE RIGHT PLACES
If you want a better social life, if you want to meet new people, you have to expose yourself to different environments. Take a step out of your comfort zone.
Put yourself in places where you can meet and interact with new people. Volunteer, sign up to a local club, attend social functions, look up available classes you’ve always wanted to take. And while in the class, perhaps try and spark up a conversation!
#10. READ BOOKS ON SOCIAL SKILLS
There are several books that can help give you ideas on how to develop a better social life. With the help of these books, you’ll learn lots of ways to start conversations, feel relaxed when talking to people and perhaps encourage you to step out of your comfort zone.
Please check out some recommended books listed here.