How To Be More Social (Without Media): Part 1
Recently I have been hearing a repeated narrative from various clients about feeling lonely. Socializing does not come naturally to everyone, and without the required environments of school and activities like when we were children and teens, making friends and building new relationships as adults can be challenging.
So today in this part one edition of my two-part series on socializing as adults, I will focus on how to build the skills needed to not only socialize but how to feel more comfortable in social situations (many adults struggle with social anxiety). I urge you to try and integrate these skills, one at a time, to bring more connection and friendship into your lives. Please reach out at any time if you would like to dig deeper into this. Please acknowledge to yourself that this work is not easy and support can be very helpful on this journey.
It’s been well-studied and documented that social connections and relationships impact mental health and physical health. Research, published in the Journal of Personal & Social Relationships also suggests that relationships through a computer/phone screen are not an effective medium to support and maintain social connections and relational support.
Like most other areas, building skills for socialization, especially when it does not come naturally, happens by creating new habits that need to be practiced regularly over time. Some of the skills you can practice to build social connections and supportive relationships include:
- Be an Active Listener. This means paying close attention to what others are saying, asking clarifying questions, and showing genuine interest in people’s responses and feelings. This demonstrates that you value their perspective and helps to establish rapport and authenticity.
- Engage in Small Talk. Practice initiating and maintaining conversations with others in various social settings. It’s best to create a list of topics in advance like hobbies, sports, music, and entertainment to feel prepared and lessen anxious anticipation. As the small talk continues, hopefully it can then lead to more meaningful and deeper conversations.
- Develop Empathy Through Open Mindedness. Try to remove any judgment you have about people’s feelings and experiences. By approaching conversations in this way, it can help give you a better understanding of people, which can help you empathize with the perspectives of others. You can also do this by acknowledging people’s emotions and showing compassion and understanding.
- Build Confidence. Recognize your strengths and accomplishments by making your own list of them. This can also be helpful to do with someone else to avoid negative self-talk and self-doubt from creeping in. When you feel good about yourself, that energy is conveyed in conversation and can push you to be more social, breaking down the barriers of social anxiety.
- Work on Communication Skills. While it may feel corny, using a mirror to practice expressing yourself clearly and confidently, can make you feel more confident. Pay attention to your body language, tone of voice, and speaking style in the mirror or with someone you trust to give you constructive feedback on how you present yourself in social situations.
The best and most sustainable relationships happen over time. Building social skills and your connections is a process that requires patience and perseverance. But the benefits are well worth the work you put in, so stay strong and reach out if we can be of service.
My passion is to help you live your healthiest and most harmonious life, but in a way that’s realistic and practical for you as a unique individual on this planet. My philosophy is all about “balance,” never a diet since a diet is not sustainable for life, aka Kill The Diet.