As a kid, I was called shy by just about everyone; friends, family, and strangers. This played quite a role in my social development all throughout grade school. When someone is called shy, they believe they are shy, and therefore act shy. There were various negative influences in my life that put me down and kept me from excelling.
I am an Extrovert. I did not know I was an Extrovert.
Since a young age, I was called “socially awkward” and “weird”. These names kept me from socializing, which in turn, made me more “weird”. From 1st grade through most of high school, I did not socialize with others because I was so concerned about what others thought of me. After high school, I realized I loved meeting new people and socializing with others. The only problem was that I didn’t know anything about socializing even worked.
Between my high school and college years I read many books and watch lots of videos about how people socialize. I slowly taught myself how to talk with others and be a friend based off of what I learned. One major thing that I learned from growing up is how important the Golden Rule is. I’ve learned that all I need to do is act unto others as I would want them to act around me. Simple. My experiences in and after high school really drove me to being passionate about communication and teaching others how to socialize. I have a drive to help others in similar situations to what I was in, and teach them what I taught to myself.
The key to socialization and making friends is confidence.
This is one of the hardest things to master when starting conversations and meeting new people. The key question I asked myself:
Do the opinions of others really matter?
Yes some opinions are important. Your mom telling you to shower more often: important. Your friends telling you smoking is harmful to your health: important. A kid in your class who you’ve never talked to thinking it’s weird if you ask them a question: NOT IMPORTANT
It takes a while to get used to this mindset, but you have to ignore the opinions of others, in reason. I think a better way of putting this is to not think about the bad things people might think about us, but to think about the good things they may think. All I can think of is one of my favorite quotes by Erin Hanson-
“What if I Fall? Oh, but my darling what if you fly?”
I’ve made this quote something I always keep in the back of my mind. When going into a conversation or even just a hello with another person, I keep this in mind:
- (Any self doubt question about talking to people)
- What if they think I’m weird for talking to them?
- Then they are weird for thinking it’s weird for a human to start another conversation with a human
Don’t forget to Own It!
You have to walk into a conversation like you’re going to own it, otherwise you might make the other person feel uncomfortable. If your goal is to have a conversation, or just a small chat with someone, be prepared with interesting and light topics of conversation. Think of topics that would be relevant to everyone. A cheerful and positive attitude can go a long way in a conversation too.
These tips are just a few things I use that I’m passionate about. I’d love to hear your story and help in any way!