Meetings, interventions, conversations, chats, get togethers or dates, all we see around is socialization . Socialization, both virtually and really, is at its peak. It must have added to your friend circle but like everything it too has its cons. Socialization has this phenomenon of ‘social awkwardness’ accompanying it which has attacked many of us by now. Urban dictionary defines social awkwardness as condition where “an individual is excessively afraid of social interaction due to some form of peer rejection or personal choice”. The sense of not appearing socially updated in front of others, fear of what others might think about you, social expectations and our interpretations about them, all has tightly grabbed hold of our deepest conscious. The fear of being ridiculed or ostracized by friends prevents us from fully interacting with the people around us.
But not to worry my friend, it happens with everyone, literally, with me even. Gauche body noises or embarrassment due to slip of tongue or struggling to connect with other person or messing up the conversation doing that or made fun of because of any other reason like that, at some point or other, everybody face something like this, you are not alone. It’s not at all a good idea to be depressed about any such instant, instead it is much better to avoid such moments in future. Some of the tried and tested ways to tackle the situation are listed here:
10. Believe in your strength
Make an attempt to source the cause behind this feeling; understand whether it has stemmed from anxiety, fear, insecurity or low self-confidence. If these are the reasons, they can be tackled by pushing the boundaries a little each time. And if the reasons are different like any bad past experience or the feeling of being ‘alien’ among people around you, or the feeling of being misunderstood by them then rather than pushing the dust under the carpet, come up with your reasons. Each time you find yourself trapped in a situation that you would not ordinarily subject yourself to, instead of pitying yourself try making an effort to give your best, remember whatever the situation is it can never be stronger than you. Don’t disrespect yourself for flaws, everybody have them, rather appreciate yourself for your might to stand against that terrible situation.
9. Stop over-analyzing
This is to be done, rather not done, before and after every interaction. The simple you make the purpose of your interaction, the better it is. Over-analyzing a situation can bring the worst out of it. Stop thinking what’s going to happen, it will make you nervous. Be less concerned about what others think about you. Remember everybody is busy analyzing themselves and nobody has the time to think about ‘you’ as much as you do. So stop scrutinizing yourself. Even if any that bad moment occurs, nobody has the time to remember it for long time. People have very bad memory these days.
8. Build your confidence
This must have been quite clear by now. Every time you feel awkward about your social situation, reassure yourself “I can do it”. Remind yourself “worst is yet to come” and this one is too easy to deal with. Focus on your positives. Always there will be people mocking or criticizing you but be willing to come out of your comfort zone, take risks. Don’t forget you don’t have to impress others each time but you have to act fine enough to feel good about yourself.
7. Improve Etiquette’s
Learn the social norms of the circle you are standing in. It will help you interact with them better. Avoid gossiping or speaking ill of others, and then you have no need to worry about what might bounce back on you. Avoid running into tears easily or yelling simply, instead make efforts to apologize quickly. Assume well about yourself and others and be friendly to initiate conversations. Avoid bragging as a means to connect with others. Stop gushing about your exploits or things you own. Even if you do, either apologize or move on to other topics. Instead you can drop genuine compliments or use a joke or two to act as fillers in your conversation, but avoid overusing them.
6. Take care of your health
Now this might sound out of the box and must have left you wondering how this can help you out. Social awkwardness is as much as biological phenomenon as it is psychological. Get your blood pressure checked, as it has been discovered that blood pressure contributes towards making you feel socially awkward due to a phenomenon known as ‘emotional dampening’ a kind of reduced response to positive and negative events in life. Exercise regularly to release pent-up energy as it will help you calm yourself. It will keep you calm and overcome anxiety. Drinking a lot of water and diaphragmatic breathing can help you in refreshing and relaxing.
5. Laugh your way home
Learning to laugh at yourself can be a great help in lightening the situation. Even if you commit a faux pas, laughing at yourself will distract others from thinking bad about you and the situation will easily pass away as a glitch. Ok, maybe this funda won’t work in all the situations. But if any such situation crop up, where the matter is not light, simply exit. Before reacting give yourself the space to recover, cool down and get over with the anxiety. Try to have a smile on your face most of the time, “smile is the only curve that makes the things go straight”. It will not only add positivity to you but others will also feel good looking at you. If you are caught with people staring at you remember they are as curious as you, instead of reacting defensive smile back. Either they will think good of you or they would be left confused what are you up to. So start smiling from now.
4. Get out
No! This is not a command; I am only trying to help you. The virtual chats have made people forgetful of the ‘real chat’ experiences. They may be very good at words while texting but fall flat on their faces when it comes to taking face-to-face with someone. Go out, have ‘real conversations’ with ‘real friends’. Stop building a barrier around yourself. Move out of your cubicle, away from that computer or cell phone screen, don’t avoid dates and get-togethers, be bold and socialize often. Need not be talk of the town but at least get into good engagements that interest you. The more you interact, more you will learn and better you will feel being with people.
This will definitely make you believe in the saying “books are our best friends” as books will provide you resort from the problem of social awkwardness as well. Reading will broaden the vistas of your mental horizon, bolster your intellectual confidence and will enrich your philosophical thinking. Reading will enable you to put forward your points clearly by improving your vocabulary and command over language saving you from embarrassment due to talking something stupid. Moreover, reading will keep your mind occupied disentangling you from thinking too much about yourself.
2. Be yourself
“Nobody can play your role as well as you can”. If your sense of feeling socially awkward is because of a particular person then make a note- some people are always snobby and standoffish. Need not take them seriously every time because they don’t represent norms, nobody can. Need not copy them or do anything to impress them. Donning someone else’s skin can make a complete fool of you leaving you uncomfortable and further embarrassed. Moreover, representing yourself is the best way in creating impression on others.
1. Believe in I, me, myself
This can’t be any surprise, much hint have been dropped about it by now. It was never about them, but always about you. Self talk will help you to shift the focus from worrying about what others are thinking of you and back onto calming yourself so that you can project a sense of ease with yourself. Remind yourself about your positives. Motivate yourself, you have that good, actually best, part in you which nobody has and is yet to be shown. Look and feel great about yourself then even if you are embarrassed you at least look great before people. Begin admiring yourself; remember if you won’t feel great about yourself nobody else will.