Are you someone who struggles to connect with other people? Do you wish to learn how to be more social and have more friends? Look no further as we have devised an easy-to-follow guide that will help you become social, even if you’re an introvert.
Some people have it easy, they can fit into any group, talk to any person with any hesitation. That is a part of who they are. Others, usually also referred to as introverts, tend to find it hard to start a conversation and prefer to be by themselves. There’s nothing wrong with being either an introvert or an extrovert but if you would prefer to change how you interact with others, the good news is that this change is achievable.
It may take you some time to develop new habits, but if your goal is to become more social, we can help you achieve that. It all starts with learning how to be confident. Confidence is of paramount importance when it comes to knowing how to be social. If you are shy and timid, you may not seem approachable or in other words, people might hesitate to be around you. This is just one of the many factors that can turn you into an antisocial person.
In this article, we will teach you how to be confident along with helping you learn the many tips and tricks of becoming a socialite. Read along to find out how to be more social. By the time you’re done reading, you will have a clear idea about how to seem approachable and companionable.
Who is an introvert?
An introvert is a person with qualities of a personality type known as introversion. This means that they feel more comfortable focusing on their inner thoughts and ideas, rather than what’s happening externally. They enjoy spending time with just one or two people, rather than large groups or crowds.
When you hear the word introvert, you might think of someone who’s shy or quiet and prefers to be alone. While that may be true for some introverts, there’s much more to this personality type. Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert, it all depends on how you process the world around you.
If you are an introvert you may:
- Need quiet to concentrate
- Are reflective
- Are self-aware
- Take time making decisions
- Feel comfortable being alone
- Don’t like group work
- Prefer to write rather than talk
- Feel tired after being in a crowd
- Have few friendships, but are very close with these friends
- Daydream or use their imaginations to work out a problem
- Retreat into their own mind to rest
Types of introversion
Most commonly acknowledged signs of introversion don’t come from the actual definition of introversion — which is, basically, a lack of extroversion.
In a 2011 study, researchers outlined four domains of introversion that align with the characteristics people often link to this personality trait:
- Social describes the tendency to prefer spending time in smaller groups of people or alone.
- Thinking describes the tendency to spend a lot of time absorbed in your imagination and the inner landscape of your thoughts.
- Anxious reflects the need to spend time alone because the company of other people prompts feelings of shyness, social awkwardness, or lack of confidence. Alone, you might ruminate on past experiences or worry about future ones.
- Inhibited simply means you’re more likely to act with restraint than impulse. You tend to keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself, and you generally won’t pursue thrills and new sensations until you’ve taken plenty of time to consider your choices.
Introverted vs. antisocial
It is important to note that being introverted is very different from being antisocial. The two terms are often used interchangeably by many which is incorrect. Let’s find out what are the key differences between these two types of personalities.
Definition of antisocial
The word antisocial has two meanings:
- going against society’s rules and laws and engaging in behaviors that are not socially accepted
- being uninterested in social affiliation
We will stick with the second definition. Being antisocial means lacking the desire to socialize, make friends, and get to know other people. But it goes further than just being a loner – it also describes an individual who is opposed to society in a certain way.
While antisocial doesn’t necessarily mean that a person is socially inept, it defines someone who is not interested in being nice to others and conforming to the unwritten rules of polite, socially accepted behavior.
Introverted vs. antisocial: key differences
Introverted people find socializing draining, antisocial people find it unrewarding
Contrary to a popular myth, introverts do enjoy talking to people and engaging in social activities. But at the same time, they can’t handle too much socializing.
Since their energy resources are limited, they prefer one-to-one communication and interaction in small groups. The quiet ones also tend to avoid crowds and large social gatherings because they find them draining.
As for antisocial people, they find interaction with other human beings unrewarding. They feel like it has nothing to offer them, so they simply have no interest in establishing contact with other people.
Antisocial people often lack empathy while introverts tend to be highly empathetic
Typically, an antisocial person has lower levels of empathy. It means that they find it difficult to relate to other people’s experiences and put themselves in someone else’s shoes. They are unlikely to empathize with another person’s feelings.
This is why they don’t mind if their behavior looks overly blunt and even offensive in the eyes of other people.
On the other hand, introverts tend to be highly empathetic, according to researcher Susan Cain and her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. They do care about people and are considerate about their own actions and their consequences for those around them.
Introverts are not fans of social niceties, but they still participate in them; antisocial people don’t
Introverts don’t like pointless conversations, gossip, and small talk because this type of communication feels like you are wasting your energy for nothing. After all, you don’t exchange ideas or learn anything new when you discuss your colleague’s new outfit.
Once again, it all boils down to the same reason – energy preservation. But at the same time, introverts still participate in social niceties and follow the unwritten rules of socially accepted behavior. They do it because they care about other people’s feelings.
Compared to introverts, antisocial individuals give less importance to how their actions make other people feel. An antisocial person realizes that their behavior may look rude to others, but they don’t mind it.
An antisocial person is more likely to be conceited and hostile towards others than an introvert
Someone who is antisocial is selfish – they put their needs and interests above anyone else’s. While it’s true for everyone to some extent, antisocial people often happen to be conceited and feel superior to others.
This can lead them to unfriendly and even hostile behavior towards those around them. Of course, not every antisocial person suffers from a personality disorder such as psychopathy or narcissism. But they indeed tend to be less considerate about other people.
For an introvert, it’s much different. As we said above, introverted personalities have high empathy, so they are unlikely to be aggressive or hostile to others. They always think about how their words and behaviors affect others.
Introverts don’t mind meeting new people, antisocial personalities are not interested
Both introverted and antisocial people tend to have small social circles. But once again, their motives are different.
Introverts care about the quality and depth of their social connections while antisocial folks don’t think that friendships will make their life better. They are fine with having just one or two friends and are uninterested in meeting new people.
Even though a quiet person’s behavior may sometimes look aloof and unfriendly, it is not. Introverts simply need some time to get used to new people and prefer to keep quiet in big groups. But they are still interested in others and want to make new friends, contrary to antisocial individuals.
How to be more social
In this part of the article, we will discuss a few tips that will ensure that you become more social. Read along to find out what those tips are.
Start with small steps
Start by taking small steps towards establishing contact with the people around you be they strangers, acquaintances, colleagues, or friends. Some good ways to start include:
Making eye contact: Eye contact and friendly gestures can go a long way.
Smiling at people: They say that smiles are contagious. If someone looks directly at you when you’re shopping at the grocery store, on the train on your way to work, or sitting in the break room at the office, smile at them. You will find that most people react positively and are likely to smile back. Use that returned smile as an instant confidence booster.
Greeting other people: After mastering the smile, graduate to saying hello, asking someone for advice, or giving a compliment. The more that you get used to establishing communication with strangers and acquaintances, the easier it becomes and more natural it feels to be outgoing.
You’ll often receive positive feedback in return, which will help develop the self-confidence that is useful in virtually every social setting.
Practice being more outgoing
An outgoing person is someone who’s friendly and enjoys being around others. They are naturally curious and want to know everyone’s story. Outgoing people don’t like rejection, but they soon get over it because they know it doesn’t mean they are deficient or unlikeable.
By practicing social skills, improving your social self-confidence, and seeking out people, you can learn to become a more outgoing person. Self-acceptance is also important. When you value yourself, you’ll probably feel more comfortable when talking to others. You might not be so afraid of criticism either because you have a strong sense of self-worth.
One final tip: It can be easier to feel uninhibited when you’re talking about a passion or hobby. So if you want to practice being outgoing, try it when you’re with a person or group of people who share your interests.
Make use of mutual connections
It’s easy to hang with the people who make you feel comfortable and safe, but never branching out can be detrimental in both social and professional environments. Challenging yourself to meet new people is a great way to practice and strengthen your social skills.
One of the easiest ways to become more outgoing is to ask your friends, colleagues, or classmates to introduce you to their friends. For example, if you walk into a room and your friend is talking to someone else, make a point to say hello and introduce yourself. The next time you see that person, you can say hello. Since you have already been introduced, you have built a bridge to future communication.
Once you’ve made a connection, ask the person questions about themselves. One of the best ways to strike up a conversation and keep it going is to ask open-ended questions and actively listen as they take it from there. This is also a great trick if you find that you’re unsure what to talk about or are uncomfortable with small talk.
Step outside your comfort zone
Doing something that makes you feel a little uncomfortable is the easiest way to boost your confidence and help you become a more outgoing version of yourself. With each little victory, you’ll gain the confidence to step further and further outside your comfort zone.
Check out your city’s chamber of commerce, area universities, or local websites to learn more about clubs or events available in your community. Some examples of activities geared toward finding friends include hiking clubs, pottery classes, dance classes, cooking courses, and community yoga classes.
If you keep seeing signs for a club or class you’re interested in, go to one meeting to test the waters. Even if you find that it’s not right for you, there’s no harm in trying. At the least, you’ll gain some new experiences, meet some new people, and hone your social skills.
Practice inviting body language
When you’re engaged in conversation with someone, keep an eye on your body language. Make regular eye contact to signal that you’re listening and don’t keep looking around to see if someone better might come along. Nod along with what they’re saying to show you’re engaged, even if the room is loud or you’re not naturally interested. “You can sort of draw a bubble around yourself,” Davenport advises. “Say, I’m with this person right now. And I’m going to get something from this interaction.”
If you need to extract yourself from the discussion — say the two of you just aren’t jiving or you feel the conversation coming to a natural end — excusing yourself to refresh your drink or visit the restroom are both surefire exit strategies. Don’t necessarily write people off if you don’t click right away, either. Davenport points out that some people act more reserved in business settings but might be perfectly lovely outside of work. And we all have a bad day, once in awhile. Unless a person’s personality completely clashes with yours, it’s worth giving each other a second chance.
Focus on other people
It is easy to get so caught up in your self-image that being quiet or reserved can feel like the safest choice. But being outgoing offers you the chance to try new things and meet new people.
Instead of concentrating on your feelings of anxiety or discomfort, it can be helpful to instead focus your attention on other people. As you converse with others, pay attention to what they have to say. Ask questions and try to remember details that will help you next time you talk with them.
Remember that everyone has their own insecurities. People are generally too occupied with other things to notice your anxieties or fears. In fact, research has found that people tend to overestimate how much other people notice them, a phenomenon known as the spotlight effect.
Learn to act like likable people do
If you want motivation for becoming more social you need positive feedback from others. There are certain things all likable people have in common. Try to incorporate some new ways of communication.
- Smile a lot. There’s no person in the world who doesn’t like an honest smile. If you’re not used to it, train in front of the mirror everyday.
- Speak loud and clear so people don’t have to struggle to understand what you’re saying.
- When people talk to you, ask them questions and follow the conversation. It’ll pleasantly boost their ego, because everyone needs to be listened to.
- Ask people for advice. They love to feel validated and important.
- Ask open questions so the conversation doesn’t get stuck on “yes” or “no” responses.
Don’t control yourself all the time
Many people need alcohol or drugs to become more sociable. Why is this? Are they becoming different people? No! They’re simply eliminating the block inside their heads that makes them control themselves all the time. Switch off this auto censorship because it’s useless. Other people are usually less judgmental than you think. They could really care less because they have their own issues. Simply enjoy being with people, without questioning everything you’re going to say a million times.
Try meditation. It may sound counterintuitive for an introvert to do something that’s seemingly an even more isolated activity but this really helps get you out of your head. Just sit down, set a timer for 15-minutes, close your eyes and take slow breaths into your stomach. As you do this, you’ll notice that a lot of random thoughts will invade your mind – things you probably haven’t thought about for years – but that’s okay. Just become aware of those thoughts and try letting them pass (thinking of nothing).
Doing this will clear your head of excess thoughts that permeate your subconscious mind. This will greatly improve your ability to be in the moment when talking to others, instead of filtering your thoughts.
Find a hobby that is social
Find people in your area with similar interests. Do you play guitar? Maybe you should check out an open mic night or the musician’s classifieds. It’ll be easier to expand your social circle with people who share your passion.
You should definitely consider joining Toastmasters (there’s a club in almost every city). It’s a club of regular people who come together 1-4 times a month to practice public speaking. The topic of your speech is totally up to you and the people in the clubs are very nice and polite, so if you have stage fright, you can be sure there won’t be any harsh feedback, because everyone’s there for the same reason. This might be a big step for some introverted folks, but it’s definitely worth the work!