Are you nervous around girls or around your crush? These are very common things to experience, and it’s helpful to overcome shyness by following these simple and yet easy to understand points. In this article, you learn how to stop being nervous and awkward.
Now, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’re doomed to a life of social discomfort.
Even if you’re nervous in social situations, you don’t naturally repulse other people no matter how much it feels like you just need to practice. Take this common situation. You’re talking with a new group of friends when a joke pops into your head you think it’s funny but no one else really laughs. In fact, they seem uncomfortable and do their best to ignore you then you’re left feeling socially awkward and tongue-tied.
So, what should you take away from an embarrassing situation like this? It’s tempting to assume the worst. You might be convinced that no one will ever like your jokes, that your sense of humor is somehow fundamentally unfit for the social world and because you’re scared of creating more awkwardness you just stop trying to be funny.
You hold yourself back each time you think of something hilarious to say you keep it to yourself in fear of ruining the moment. But your sense of humor isn’t the problem. Nothing about you is wrong, ill, fit or improper.
So many people assume they need to change who they are. In order to fit in, they adopt new values and dawn a completely different personality all in the hopes that one group of people will finally accept them. However, those drastic changes won’t improve your social life. They’ll just make you even lonelier than you were before.
Instead of throwing away your true self you should learn how to fit your unique personality into various social situations. Yeah, I know that sounds complicated but it really isn’t. Just think about social skills like shooting a basketball. The first time you try it and miss. You’ll shoot a few air balls, maybe throw over the backboard but one way or another you’re going to be terrible at it.
However, as you shoot more and more you’ll improve. Your aim will get better; you’ll learn how much power to put behind each shot. You’ll throw straighter and slowly adjust your form. It’ll get easier and easier to make baskets without even thinking.
After all, when you repeat a behavior enough times your body starts to memorize that specific set of movements. This is something that we call muscle memory. Now, it turns out you can do the same thing to relieve social awkwardness.
The more you practice your social skills well the easier they become. You develop a sort of social memory that will diminish the conscious effort required for each social interaction. That means you can spend less time overthinking and more time just enjoying yourself.
But how do you actually develop social memory?
Well, how did you develop the muscle memory to shoot a basketball? You’ve practiced and practiced and practiced. So, to improve your social skills and relieve awkwardness just talk to more people, make more jokes, and immerse yourself in different social environments.
Yeah, it’ll be nerve-wracking and anxiety-inducing. At first, you can’t avoid that but as you gain social memory you’ll gain more social intuition. This is often what divides the shyest people from the most outgoing.
People who are socially adept seem to automatically know the best thing to do or say. However, they weren’t born that way. Most of them have spent so much time socializing that they’ve acquired the confidence and intuition to navigate every social situation with ease.
So, with enough practice, you can develop these same talents. You’ll learn what to say and what to keep yourself. You’ll get a sense of when it’s a good time to be funny and when it isn’t.
Over time, you’ll discover how to read different situations and interact with all kinds of people but you do have to spend lots of time being uncomfortable. First, just try to remember that every awkward moment will help you build more confidence down the line.
Also read: 7 Psychology Tricks to Build Unstoppable Confidence
Have you ever tried to win people over by acting cool? Yeah, you might have tried to copy all of the coolest traits you could think of, you take up absurd amounts of space, you confidently try to dominate every single conversation, you pretend like you’ve never been nervous in your entire life but is that really what anyone is expecting from you or even what they’re looking for in a potential friend?
So many people perpetuate this massive misconception about relationships. The vast majority of relationships have nothing to do with one person impressing the other. In fact, when you see someone who strikes you as cool you’re much more likely to avoid them. They don’t feel welcoming and accessible instead they feel more intimidating and different not like someone you’d make an effort to hang out with.
So, you’re likely to repel more people than you actually attract. That’s assuming that your attempts to seem impressive actually work. More often than not, they fail miserably. Trying to look cool usually makes an even more uncomfortable person to be around. It tells everyone in the room that you’re determined to be something that you’re not; that you’re not satisfied with yourself and are pretending to be something else.
So, why put all this pressure on yourself to be cool. Many people who are socially awkward believe there are only two options – either you’re in or you’re out. Why? Well, because you might have spent most of your life on the outside looking in if you’ve always felt lonely and isolated.
Well, it seems like everyone else has something you don’t. So, pretend like you have it too, right? No. But all that pressure to hide your social anxiety often creates more of it. So, what should you do instead?
If acting dominant and overbearing just won’t solve the problem how should you act? Believe it or not one of the most effective ways to relieve your awkwardness is to have good manners. Good manners? Yeah, good manners. Now, by manners, I mean a somewhat formal sense of what’s polite and what isn’t. Good manners show each and every person that you talk to that you’re a trustworthy human being.
That it’s okay and even encouraged to lower their guard around you. Simple things like pleases, thank-yous and not interrupting people when they’re speaking will show a much appreciative level of respect.
Now, practicing good etiquette won’t automatically attract a whole crowd or new friends that’s not really what it should be used for. It’s there to break down those initial barriers to establish a sense of safety for you and the person you’re talking to.
As an added bonus, good manners also give you some guidelines. If you can’t think of what to say next you may not sound like the coolest person in the room but in a real social situation that’s probably a good thing.
Also read: 4 Strategies to stop caring what people think
Way back in the 1950s, a psychoanalyst named Jacques Lacan claimed that every person sees themselves and other people. We essentially use our friends, family and significant others as mirrors. What we liked and disliked about them often reflects what we liked and disliked about ourselves.
So, that means whether you like it or not you’re consistently projecting yourself onto your relationships. So, what does Lakhan’s mirror Theory have to do with being socially awkward? Because we unconsciously look for ourselves and the people around us, a negative reflection will significantly modify our behavior.
So, let’s imagine that two people – let’s call them Joseph and Paige are just starting up a conversation. From the very beginning, Joseph is acting upbeat and enthusiastic but Paige isn’t nearly as confident. Her anxiety is through the roof because she has convinced herself that she’s boring and awkward so that’s exactly how she’s acting.
Her speech and body language tell everyone in the room how insecure that she’s feeling. When Joseph sees how hesitant Paige is, he starts to get more defensive – Joseph begins pulling away. That makes Paige feel even worse. She gets quieter and quieter until eventually, Joseph starts looking for an excuse to leave.
He walks away to talk to someone else leaving Paige to sit and wonder what went wrong. Before the conversation could find its footing, Paige was overwhelmed by negativity using Paige like a mirror Joseph observed that negativity and naturally reflected her emotions. He felt defensive and unsure only because of the person he was talking to.
So, what do you think would have happened if Paige had changed her attitude? If she seemed happy and warm, would Joseph have bailed on the conversation? Probably not. Because his behavior would have reflected her a newfound positivity.
Instead of becoming defensive, Joseph could keep acting excited and confident. Now, of course, Joseph isn’t the only one using a mirror. When Paige sees how comfortable Joseph is feeling it will give Paige the boost of confidence that she needs to keep putting herself out there.
So, anytime you interact with someone, remember that your nerves don’t just affect you. If you’re uncomfortable, the other person will almost always reflect that negativity right back at you. The conversation will feel like a nightmare because you accidentally made it one.
So, how do you stop yourself from creating such a destructive reflection? This part can be a little tricky. There’s no magic formula that will make your negativity instantly disappear. If you’re overflowing with anxiety before a conversation starts, it’ll most likely leak out in one way or another.
To give off a welcoming vibe then you actually have to be relaxed. You need some degree of self-assurance otherwise people will see right through you. Since you can’t force yourself to feel comfortable, focus on the things that you can control. Wear something you look good in, go somewhere you’re familiar with, bring along someone you know that you can be yourself around.
The goal of controlling these environmental factors is to suppress your insecurities. It creates a calming baseline to soothe your nerves and to make sure your reflection is as positive as possible.
Also read: 5 Strategies to possess The WARRIOR Mentality
Mirror Theory and the Wounds that Make and Break Relationships
7 easy ways to stop being socially awkward
A psychologist’s surprisingly reassuring advice for socially awkward people