A person is said to be social if he or she often sustains interesting conversations with other people. Being sociable means having the ability to initiate and sustain interesting conversations with different people. A person who neither has the ability to initiate conversations nor sustain interesting conversations is said to be unsociable. However, a person who appears aloof and unfriendly is said to be antisocial.
Social skills is one of the key skills that a child should learn at school; it is as important as problem-solving skills and numeracy skills. And while some people have what seems to be a natural proclivity to excel effortless at meeting and socializing with other people, this can be an uphill task for others. Perhaps, you are a little reserved and like being on your own, you will sometimes find yourself amidst other people, be it at work, at school, at a party, or at a get-together. While everyone is getting along with one another, you don’t want to seem aloof and unfriendly. Even though you may not be interested in getting to meet other people, you may need to learn some social skills to avoid seeming rude and awkward.
Having quality social skills is very essential. We live in a universe where being sociable and outspoken is the ideal in most societies. People will often misunderstand you if you are withdrawn. They may sometimes think you are full of yourself and snobbish. More so, in most societies, appearing aloof and withdrawn appears antisocial and conceited, thus giving a bad impression about you. To excel as a manager at work or as a prefect at school, you are expected to have quality social skills. Here are ways you can be more social, even if you are reserved by nature.
Address your insecurities
The fear or rejection can hinder you from meeting people. If you are afraid that other people will reject you because you are boring, awkward, ugly, shameful, or a failure, you will certainly be handicapped by anxiety. Unless you do away with this fear of rejection, anxiety will consume you, and you will be all fidgety meeting new people. Feeling unqualified and unworthy results in low self-esteem, and gives rise to negative expectations. Negative expectations keep you from living a fulfilling life. More so, negative expectations give rise to fear, and fear does what it does best- ‘incapacitate’. Therefore, to socialize comfortably, you have to address your timidity by believing that you are valuable, competent, and essential to other people’s lives.
Be confident and welcoming
The fear of rejection is a very common fear, which means that you are not the only one with it. You will be surprised to discover that virtually every human being on the planet has this fear. Rejection is corrosive, therefore, it is only logical that we are afraid of it. Being rejected automatically sends several negative messages to our minds, and conjures up negative emotions associated with those messages. When you are rejected, you feel that there is something wrong with you, you are deficient, a lesser human, or are not good enough.
And since you are not the only one with this fear, you can help other people experience the confidence that they strongly desire, by being confident and welcoming towards them. Keep eye-contact and give a welcoming-body language. Being confident and welcoming passes the message, “I respect you, and I believe you are an important person.’
Make other people feel important
Our self-worth is as fragile as an egg; we must therefore learn to treat other people with utmost respect, lest we diminish them. Nobody wants to be diminished; everyone wants to be valued. Therefore, treating other people as though they are important makes them feel important and valuable. This will boost their self-esteem and improve their confidence. With improved confidence, they are able to communicate with you feeling less tense.
Find common interests
A conversation between two or more people is supposed to be comfortable and rewarding. If conversing with another person feels like hard work, then it’s not worth it. However, we must understand that connecting with other people is a good thing because one way or another we need one another. Even if you think you don’t need other people, you ‘will’ be essential to their lives. And for this reason, it’s perfectly divine making an effort to interact with other people.
The simple trick is, interact with other people because you want to see how they can improve your life and how you can improve theirs. The intention of having a positive contribution in the lives of other people will make you easily sociable towards them. Your sociability may differ in significant ways from that of the average extrovert who is excellent at having shallow conversations that momentarily distract other people from their pains and struggles, but you will certainly appear as a person who is truly concerned about other people. A reserved person may not be as sociable as the average extrovert (as he or she is unlikely to enjoy it), but that doesn’t mean he or she cannot be sociable in a different way.
Ask open-ended questions
Open-ended questions are WH-questions. To sustain a conversation requires these kinds of questions. Most people do not talk about their personal issues mostly because they do not think anyone cares enough to consider them, and because of the fear of being vulnerable. Showing that you are a respecter of all persons regardless of their nationality, gender, social class, profession, or unpleasant pasts may soften those with whom you are having these conversations with. They may then become more authentic with you, as you ask open-ended questions.
Make an effort to keep in touch with them once in a while, if you care. This makes it easier for you to get along with them other times, because they are acquainted with you and now trust you better. This also enables you to build long-lasting friendships.