Some people are natural social butterflies, but not everyone. We live in a world of extroverts, so if that’s not you, here’s how to be more social.
Personalities are complex. There’s an age-old debate that still rages on about how someone actually gets their personality. Is it biological? Are our personalities in our genes? Or is it something that is socialized into us? Or maybe it’s both?
This is a complex question. If you say it’s genetic, then why aren’t there families only filled with introverts or only extroverts? But if it’s a learned behavior, then why is there a black sheep in families… you know, the ones who don’t fit in with the rest of them? It’s a mystery.
But regardless of whether our personality is mostly nature or nurture, one thing is for sure – we all need to be around people to some degree. Some need social interaction more than others, but we all need it. Research has even proven that.
Why some people aren’t social
If a person isn’t naturally social, that might make them feel like they are an outcast. Remember high school? The popular ones were usually more social. And the ones who didn’t have many friends kind of went unnoticed sometimes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – it just is what it is.
But let’s take a look at why some people aren’t social.
#1 They are an introvert. Introverts feel more charged up and energetic when they spend time alone. Being around other people drains them. So, it makes sense that introverts would be less social. They feel better that way. [Read: Introverts vs. extroverts – Which side are you on?]
#2 They are shy. Now, being introverted and being shy aren’t necessarily the same thing *although they can be related*. You can be an introvert, but not shy. Shy people have a fear of social interaction. Therefore, they tend to shy away from people *no pun intended*.
#3 They don’t have enough good friends. Someone may be an extrovert *or a social introvert*, but for some reason, they haven’t made enough good friends to be social with. It could be temporary, or it just could be a result of circumstances. [Read: 18 insightful reasons why you don’t have any friends]
#4 Their job isolates them. Maybe they work in an office building and there are only two other people there with them. It’s more difficult to make friends when your work setting is naturally isolating.
#5 They moved to a new area. Anyone who has moved knows that it’s difficult to start over and create a new group of friends – even if you’re an extrovert. So maybe you’ve just moved, and you just haven’t had a chance to expand your social circle. [Read: How to manage your career, social life, and dating life]
#6 They are depressed. When someone is clinically depressed, it naturally makes them not want to socialize. It could be a combination of brain chemistry factors and/or life circumstances.
#7 They wait for people to reach out to them. If someone is introverted, they may not naturally be the ones to call up people and ask them to hit the bars. They may say yes if someone asks them, but maybe they are not the initiator. Even an extrovert may not be much of a social initiator either.
How to be more social – 12 tips to increase your social circle
Regardless of your reason for not being social, you have decided that you want to know how to be more social! Great! Sometimes it can be frustrating or overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If you follow these tips, you’ll have no problems.
#1 Set small goals. If you are extremely introverted or shy, then just the thought of venturing out to make new friends – or to hang out with the ones you have – can seem a bit overwhelming. So, start small. Decide on a certain amount of social activity that seems acceptable to you, and then work up from there. [Read: How to find like-minded people who think just like you]
#2 Practice talking to strangers. This might be absolutely terrifying for some people. But guess what? Most people are nice, and they won’t bite your head off.
Start with something simple like, “Wow, it’s such a beautiful day, isn’t it?” The more you do it, the more easier it’ll get. So, if you want to know how to be more social, this is a good habit to try.
#3 Join a club. It doesn’t matter what kind of club, but just join whatever kind interests you. Maybe you want to further your career, so consider joining the Rotary club. Or if you like hiking, join a hiking club. If you do that, you will not only be in a social situation, but you will be doing something you enjoy or that will benefit your future.
#4 Study extroverts. Extroverts can definitely model for you on how to be more social. You probably know some extroverts. Maybe they’re your family members, your co-workers, or even some of your friends.
#5 Visualize. This one might sound cheesy, but many research studies have proven the power of visualization. The subconscious mind doesn’t know the difference between fantasy and reality. So, visualize yourself being social and enjoying it, and then eventually, it’ll become your real life.
#6 Find a hobby. Okay, by find a hobby, I mean one that is not done in isolation like reading a book or knitting. Find a hobby that requires other people. For example, do you like playing basketball? Join an intramural team! Do anything at all that you enjoy, and then join others who like doing it as well. [Read: 12 quick tips to add more friends to your social circle]
#7 Take classes. While taking classes might sound like a weird tip for how to be more social, it really can help. Maybe you haven’t finished your college degree. If not, there’s no time like the present. Talk to your fellow students, hang out with them when you do your group projects.
Even if you don’t want to go back to school, you could always opt for a cooking or an art class. Whatever is interesting to you, get out and learn more. I guarantee you’ll meet like-minded people. [Read: The socially awkward persons’s guide to flirting]
#8 Don’t turn down social activities. Sometimes, introverts or shy people do get asked by other people to socialize, but they turn down the invitations. Don’t do that!
You can always spend time alone reading that book some other time. So, make sure that you start saying “yes” as often as possible when someone asks you to hang out.
#9 Reach out to friends and make plans. Again, this might not be a comfortable thing for you to do, especially if you’re introverted. But challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone.
Pick up the phone and text a friend, and go to happy hour. Or catch a movie. It doesn’t matter what you do, all that matters is that you start reaching out.
#10 Talk to your colleagues. It’s really easy for us all to just come into the office, do our work, and go home. But don’t ignore your colleagues. They might be really cool if you just take the initiative and start talking to them. Then not only will you be more social at work, you might start hanging out when you’re not at work too.
#11 Try some websites or apps. There are websites out there like Meetup.com that will connect you to like-minded people. Whether it’s a spirituality group or a women’s entrepreneur wannabe one, you can meet people and get out of the house to be more social when you check out these sites. [Read: How to make real friends outside your social network]
#12 Try a dating app. Even if you’re not looking for a date or to get romantically involved, sometimes you can use a dating app or website like Plenty of Fish just to meet new people. It gets you out of the house, and you never know who you might meet!