Here’s a question – “Do you have a hard time talking to people at parties?” How about at work with people you already kind of know? Do you avoid neighbors? Is there any situation where it’s easy talking to people? If the answer to some of these questions is “no”, then you may be socially awkward. Don’t worry too much about it. You can get better but first, it may be a good idea to identify if you are.
Every year, more and more of our social existence is virtual. These are social interactions that are not face to face which is quite different. With social media, we can take time carefully choosing the words, pictures, and videos that represent who we are. And we can do this wherever and whenever we want. This is super cool but has some negative results.
SOME DRAWBACKS WITH TOO MUCH SOCIAL MEDIA
It has become a well-known thing. Social media is not accurate. People are creating false images of who they are. They are posting perfect pictures of them at perfect angles that make them look much better than they are. They are also stating that they are doing all these things that they are not actually doing. Your real life seems pathetic and boring compared to the life that many are claiming through their postings. The sad truth is that many of these great looking lives portrayed on Facebook or Instagram are bullshit created and maintained by people who barely go outside and do anything.
Also, doing too much social media is a lot like watching too much porn. It screws up your reality. It makes you not go to that concert or meet friends for dinner or go to that yoga class or car show or anything that is outside of your front door. I mean, why go out and brave your imperfect self in an imperfect world when you can stay home, sit on your (getting bigger) ass and make it appear like you are coolest, healthiest, most adventurous dude on the planet. This is not good.
SO ARE YOU SOCIALLY AWKWARD OR NOT?
This was an easier question to answer in the eighties than now. It may be hard to tell if you are socially awkward or just have had your head in your phone too much for the last few years. The only way to really tell will be based on what you do in the real world and what reactions you get out there. So if you want, commit to going to a couple of events where there are people that you can talk to and record the following observations. (And I don’t mean record them on your phone. That would be creepy. Record them in your mind).
GO TO A GATHERING AND THEN AFTER, ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
Did I try to dress appropriately for the event? Did I at least brush my hair?
Did I join in on a conversation that at least two other people were already having?
Did I contribute any good stories or facts to some conversations?
Was I funny? Did I make anyone laugh?
Did I meet anyone new and exchange info or at least later “friend” on Facebook?
Was I standing or sitting by myself during the gathering for any length of time?
Did I participate or contribute to any events of the gathering?
Did I sing or dance or laugh a lot?
Did I drink alcohol or smoke any weed with anyone?
Did I have a good time?
Do you think others liked you? Did you like some other people?
When I left the gathering, did I say “goodbye” to anyone?
If by answering the above questions, you discovered that you didn’t engage much with other people and when you did, it didn’t go smoothly and easily as time went on, then you may be socially awkward. You also may just be out of practice.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO NOT BE SO SOCIALLY AWKWARD
Nobody wants to have a hard time socially. Nobody! For some, being social comes easy as hell. They don’t have to think about it. They just go out and start chatting it up with anyone. Before they know it, they are everyone’s best buddy. Don’t think for a second though that these social superstars don’t make an effort to be good at it. They do. Success in anything is rarely without effort. If you notice, people who are strong socially have a few things in common. Work on the following things and you’ll become better socially.
Dress accordingly and be clean – You don’t have to have a lot of money to dress nicely but you do have to make an effort. Research some fashion for your age group and try some different clothes. If you have access to a female, use her to help you. She won’t mind. If going to a concert or sporting event, maybe wear something accordingly. Get into the character for the event a little. Wear team colors for the game or a lot of black at a heavy metal concert.
Also, be clean. Take a shower, brush your teeth, and get your facial hair in order. Make an effort to look and feel clean. It makes a difference both within you and to others. Believe me.
Make eye contact with people and smile – I don’t mean stare. I mean smile a lot. Ok if you are not a smiler, that’s ok but just try to be happy. You and everyone else is there to have fun and be light. Figure out a way to be genuinely happy to be there.
Try to be genuinely interested in people – What’s everyone’s favorite topic? Themselves of course. Learn to want to listen to people. They can be interesting if you let them be. Get out of your own head and share some thinking space with others. Allow them to be themselves and then you can be yourself.
Read the news. Talk about something light and current – Ok this is a trick but works well when you find yourself not knowing what to say. “Hey what do you think about this or that that happened today?” goes a long way in a conversation. A lot of times the conversation will keep going for a while just by that spark of a question. Just don’t make it about religion or politics.
Participate in something – You don’t have to do this, but it’ll get you in the mix of what’s going on. Is there a board game going on? Raffle? Sing-a-long? Somebody making something? Shots? Get involved in the activity. It’ll open you up and you connect easier with those you are participating with. This may be tough to do if you are shy, but it pays big in the social department.
Invited to something? GO! – This sounds obvious, but this is a big mistake that many make. Social people do social things. It’s not easy or cheap to have a party or put events together. If you get invited to something, show respect by saying “yes” and going to it. Don’t think for a second that social giants want to go to all the things they are invited to. They don’t but go anyway because that’s what you do. And if you decline going to one thing, you may not get invited to the thing you really want to go to.
It can suck to be socially awkward but with some effort, anyone can improve their social skills. And it’s worth it. The real world is an awesome place. Plus that’s where the women are.
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