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? If you’re someone who struggles in social situations, you may want to learn how to be more social.
But, in order to do that, let’s first explore why some people are simply more comfortable in social situations than others and how it links into their personality.
This is a complex question. If you say it’s genetic, then why aren’t 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. Learning how to be social can be done. It takes practice, but you can get there. [Read: Proper social etiquette – 12 rules that redefine modern manners]
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. [Read: Stop being socially awkward! 13 steps that’ll change you for good]
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?]
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*.
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]
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. Perhaps they work from home and in that case, being and feeling isolated is pretty common.
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]
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.
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. [Read: 32 crazy things to do with friends]
Before we actually get into learning how to be social, you may be wondering, “why?” Well, socializing is useful for a number of situations, and here are the most common:
Job interviews basically require you to be social. If you walk into an interview and seem like you don’t want to talk to anyone, they won’t want to hire you – especially if the job requires you to interact with other people. Therefore, knowing how to be social in this situation is crucial if you want to get the job. [Read: Love or career? How to make the right choice]
Now, if your family knows you and knows you’re not the most social of people, they may be okay with you skipping out early.
However, if your family pretty much requires you to be there – or they’ll be angry if you hide away somewhere – you need to be able to socialize in order to make sure you don’t start any conflicts.
This is a big one. If you’re not social at work events or you act like you hate being there, people will start to take notice and it won’t look good. It could even prevent you from moving up in the company or getting that promotion. [Read: How to introduce yourself – The art of making a great impression]
School is crappy. We all know this, but we all know you have to be social at school from time to time. Your grades could suffer if you’re not willing to talk to others and participate in class.
You probably won’t have the most enjoyable of experiences if you don’t make an effort to talk to your classmates either.
One of the best things you can do for your career – no matter what job you have – is to network. Getting to know people can open up connections you never would’ve had otherwise, and you have to socialize in order to do this.
It’s also true that humans are social creatures. We need connections with other people in order to feel supported and comfortable in life. Let’s be honest, it’s pretty boring when it’s simply you on your own all the time, right?
While time alone is just as important, if you’re always isolated, it’s not the best choice either. By learning how to become more comfortable around other people and learning how to be social, you’ll enjoy your life so much more.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to socialize with everyone and especially not those you don’t like, but being social means you can handle those people with grace and then enjoy time with those you like. [Read: Lesson to live by – Surround yourself with positive people]
There’s no doubt that you actually have to be social every now and then. But if you absolutely hate it, you’ll find difficulty being social and looking like you want to be somewhere.
But, regardless of your reason for not being social in the first place, you have decided that you want to know how to be more social now. 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.
You have to calm down. We know how hard that is to do when you’re forced to do something you absolutely hate, but it’s essential for coming across like you actually want to be there.
Take some time to mentally prepare yourself by taking a few breaths and calming your mood. Socializing isn’t something you need to be fearful of. [Read: How to calm down – 15 instant hacks to put the crazy away]
Think of a happy place. That may sound cliché, but you have to get yourself into a good mood before you can go and socialize with people.
Doing this will help you get into a positive mindset, and it’ll even make the socializing a lot less painful.
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]
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 easier it’ll get.
So, if you want to know how to be more social, this is a good habit to try. The next time you’re standing at the bus stop, just mention the weather to the person next to you. When you’re in the queue at the grocery store, make a comment about how busy it is.
You don’t have to have a conversation, just a quick comment is enough to boost your social confidence. [Read: How to start a conversation with a stranger and say the right things]
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.
Extroverts can definitely be a good study 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.
What do they do to make themselves more social than you do? Once you figure that out, copy what they do or just try and incorporate their small habits into your own life. [Read: Outgoing introvert – huh? 12 Signs you’re a complex ambivert]
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. Fake it ’til you make it!
By “find a hobby”, we 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 a 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]
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 art class. Whatever is interesting to you, get out and learn more. We guarantee you’ll meet like-minded people. [Read: The socially awkward persons’s guide to flirting]
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. Even if you’re not really feeling it, just say “yes” and go. You never know, you might have a wonderful time! [Read: How to broaden your horizons and get out of your comfort zone for good]
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. It’s possible that you’ve let your friendships slide a little without realizing it. This is the ideal time to right that wrong and learn how to be more social at the same time. [Read: What to talk about with friends and ask the questions most ignore]
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, but you might also start hanging out when you’re not at work.
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]
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! As long as you’re honest about what you’re looking for, or not looking for, there are no issues.
You’re socializing for a reason. Maybe it’s so you can get the promotion you’ve been after for years, and maybe it’s just to maintain friendships with people who are important to you.
Although you may not always want to do what you’re doing, it’s for a reason. Remembering that can make it easier.
If you want to know how to be social even though you hate it, avoiding certain people and situations that make it worse will make it much easier to do. You’ll be able to maintain a positive mindset if you’re not bogged down by the negative things you hate about socializing. [Read: Deal with negative people and stop them sapping your energy]
If you have to go outside and sit alone for a little while, do it. Anything that will help you decompress from socializing – even if it’s only for a minute – will help you socialize better. The more you can recuperate, the better you will be at socializing, too.
Don’t agree to go to different events all weekend long. This is such a bad idea – especially if you hate socializing.
You’ll be way too exhausted, and it’ll be nearly impossible to socialize in a way that seems like you actually want to be there. [Read: How to take care of yourself emotionally and avoid falling apart]
If you have a social butterfly friend, bring them along with you! This allows you to kind of sit back and let them take the reins. It also makes you seem like you’re being much more social than you are – which is a huge bonus.
If you hate socializing, the only thing that’s going to make it better is having more positive experiences doing it. Therefore, you should get out and socialize more in order to get the hang of how to do it the right way.
Obviously, you have to make sure not to do it too often, but just enough to get you used to it. [Read: How to balance your career, social life, and dating life]
Being somewhere you like can help you feel less hatred toward socializing and will make you more comfortable. When you’re actually in a place that brings you happiness – even if other people are around and you hate that – it’ll ease your mind and make it much easier to socialize with others.
Don’t go into a big event already tired. If you hate socializing, it’s probably because it’s very draining for you. Therefore, you have to make sure you’re well-rested so you won’t become super-exhausted and crabby. Pace yourself and listen to your body.
[Read: How to make new friends as an adult – 15 ways to do it right]
If you want to know how to be more social, these tips will definitely help you. So, it’s just a matter of getting out of your comfort zone, which isn’t that hard if you just set your mind to it!
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